by Chris Pace
I recently went on a retreat with our youth. It was claimed by the majority of those that went to be “The best retreat I’ve ever been on!” We were there for less than 24 hours, had less activities than some of the other retreats we’ve been to, and we were one of many other groups that came. Some may have assumed that it wasn’t worth it or that it was boring. However, for those that went, they got what they came for.
The point of the retreat was to give those that attended an experience and a feel for how to share Christ with others. They suggested a tool that they use that is similar to a wordless bracelet, W.W.J.D., or all the other tools people have used before. They teach it as the G.O.S.P.E.L. approach:
God created us to be with him.
Our sins separated us from him.
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
Paying the price for sin, Christ died and rose again.
Everyone who puts their trust in him alone has everlasting life.
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.
The youth went not fully aware of what to expect. They left affected by the lessons and the worship. It brought them to a point of openness with each other, creating an even stronger bond and a deeper respect for each other. I, personally, was affected by every bit: The bonds that grew between them, and between me and them; the longing I saw in each student to find some way to express their faith to people in their lives they so desperately want to reach; the ‘Family Time’ when our group opened up and grew a deeper respect for the typically quiet students of our group, and a stronger bond with one another through moments of vulnerability; and through the worship.
During our last worship session they cleared the chairs, and had all the students against the chapel walls to represent the lost and all the leaders in the middle to represent the church. They told the students (the lost) that they were not to worship, but had to stand there and watch as the leaders (the church) worshiped, until two leaders (signifying the importance of going and spreading the gospel in pairs) came and prayed with them, allowing them to join the church in the middle. They asked us leaders beforehand to wait for two verses and a chorus before we left to pray with a student; that way they could understand how it felt. I couldn’t wait. I barely lasted a verse because it broke my heart to see those on the outside looking in. It made me think of all those I’ve missed my chance to share salvation with and all those we’re missing now. There are so many that may never come to know Christ as their own personal savior and Lord because so many of us, for one reason or another, don’t do what we were called to do, what we long to do: To share the amazing love that God so greatly longs for us to know; the love he blatantly showed on that blood-stained cross that once held his son.
So what is our responsibility? It is impossible for us to save others; otherwise there was no need for God’s sacrifice. We are only told to go and share the gospel. The Holy Spirit will take it from there.