We took a group of 19 to Spiritual Boot Camp over the weekend. It was an expensive trip for our small church (over $1000) but well worth it, as we feel like it's investing in the futures of these 19 people as well as the future of our church. This group consisted of the leaders of our youth group...adults and teens who make up our core. We got to choose 3 class sessions to attend, and I went to Instructing Leaders to Lead, Sunday School Curriculum, and Finding Your Ministry. The classes were great, the worship was amazing, and the church was HUGE. Here are some highlights of what I learned:
1. Have an exit strategy for volunteers! Teachers, leaders, etc. should not feel guilted into staying in their positions. New volunteers should not be afraid to accept a position because of the fear of being stuck there for life.
2. A leader is simply one who has followers and influences others. When identifying leaders, keep in mind that it's not always the loudest or boldest. If there is a leader in your youth group who is a bad influence (leading others to do bad things), get to know and encourage them. Direct them towards being a good influence.
3. When teaching, 1 point clearly communicated is better than 3 foggy or rushed points. With multiple points, people get confused and are more likely to forget what you said.
4. People who are in visible positions must be held to a high standard. Worship leaders, teachers, etc. are representations of the church and its standards; as the body of Christ, the church represents God's standards. If the music minister is getting drunk on the weekends or teens in the youth praise band are living together as a couple, they will be seen as hypocrites by others. This hurts their testimony as well as the effectiveness of the church.
5. Teach about the Tabernacle! During the worship part of the day, the speaker told us about the Tabernacle...the different areas of it and what was required in each area. Then we encountered a bit of it ourselves. Over 100 of us stood in line waiting to enter the "Tabernacle." (So it was a gym/youth service area, but we got the symbolism of it.) Just the entrance was a curtain where we were to thank God, maybe for something He's done for us, how He's provided, or just who He is. Then was the altar to place a sacrifice, and offering buckets were on top for us to give money. During the initial part with the speaker, he stressed why there was a sacrifice at the tabernacle and that it was giving our best to God. After that was a thing of water to "cleanse" ourselves by wetting our hands and asking God for forgiveness for any sins we had committed.
Through another curtain was the Holy Place. Here we took communion and prayed for what we needed and for various people (our Pastor, Youth Pastor, etc.). The idea was to get everything off our minds before we continued through the Tabernacle. Through the last curtain was the representation of the Holy of Holies. Here we also prayed, but it was mostly for allowing us to simply be in God's presence. "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
That's it for now, but there were plenty of other bullet points and discussions that I would like to bring up eventually. In the meantime, have a great week!