Summer Youth Retreat 2023

June 24th to the 29th saw nearly 100 kids and adults trek all the way down to Ocean City, NJ for our annual youth retreat. It was our biggest group of kids ever and led to us having to take two buses down for the first time! It’s about an 8-hour bus ride, and our kids and leaders were both troopers going down and coming back. We stayed at the Kull Youth Center which is a part of the historic Ocean City Tabernacle church right in the heart of the city. Our days were filled with teaching time in the morning, lazy afternoons at the beach, evening small group discussions, and nightly treks along the boardwalk – not to mention some truly incredible food from the team of moms who cooked and served food to all 100 of us. I’d be remiss though if I didn’t mention both our dance parties where we learned a number of line dances, how to swing dance, and saw some truly amazing dance moves. There were also an absurd number of runs to go get donuts from Dot’s in the mornings together with some beautiful, albeit cloudy, sunrises.

Our teaching time and small group discussions were centered around the book of Philippians and learning about the Joy of the Gospel. The Bible indicates that Jesus serves as the perfect example of Joy. His sacrificial life and ministry, though, are more than just a model – they are the keys to eternal life itself. As we pondered how Christ’s death and resurrection, and Paul’s life in service to the Gospel demonstrate the true meaning of Joy, we looked at all the various things we run to for contentment and joy instead and how those things are ultimately hollow in the face of the joy offered us through the Gospel. It was such a gift to hear from the testimonies of several of our kids and leaders who attested to how they had found joy in Christ and how deeply that had changed their lives. Many of the kids on the trip hadn’t heard the truth of the Gospel in much detail before, so we were grateful to have a chance to get to discuss that time all together. All in all, it was an amazing trip with abundant opportunities to see God working in the hearts of everyone involved. We’re looking forward to going back next year!

To hear more about the trip from one of our high schoolers, click the audio link below.
Youth Retreat Photos
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