This last weekend we had the second weekend away of our current Growing Leaders youth course. We went away for 24 hours to Barnes Close, near Bromsgrove. Barnes Close is a fantastic retreat house with 13 bedrooms, which sleeps around 30 people. The food is always amazing and the hospitality is great!
The current course has 14 young people aged between 14-17, coming from 7 different churches in the local area. We go away twice during the course, initially at the start and then half way through. This was our second time and the focus was exploring the person God is making us to be.
I always love this session because you can almost see people growing in front of your eyes as they realise that they were made on purpose and for a purpose. This weekend was no exception.
There were lots of fun and laughter, friendships deepening and time to allow God to speak and transform us more into the people he wants us to be.
This is session 5: growing your gifts, where we spend time looking at our SHAPE:
S – Spiritual gifts
H – Heart (our passions)
A- Abilities (or talents)
P – Personality
E – Experiences
The highlight for me is always at the end of the stay. Each person gets to write down a summary of what they’ve discovered about themselves and then have time to put that in a box and to gift wrap it as a present. We talk about how we are a gift from God to the world, that he has plans for us and a purpose. We then have an opportunity individually to thank God for making us how we are and give that gift back to him, to show our willingness to be led by him for our whole lives. This feels to me like a holy moment. We realise that we have a choice: either we keep control of our lives or we let our creator take control, trusting that his plans are better than ours could ever be.
I came away with the thought that here are 14 young people with their lives fully ahead of them. Just imagine what God might choose to do through them in the years ahead as long as they keep letting him lead. I can’t wait to find out.