Posted on: February 20, 2012
This weekend I’ve been on a residential with 20 young people from various villages around where I work. The residential was a joint project with other local churches and the second time we’ve run it. Out of the 20 young people we had a real mix of young people, some I already knew and some I didn’t. Some who’d come last year and some who hadn’t but as I sit here typing this the day after I wanted to share just how important residentials are.
In terms of set-up ours was simple, we hadn’t got fancy activities planned just a few seasons around the theme of ‘how we use technology’ planned by some of us leading, a walk combined with some extreme ironing (a great sport for encouraging young people on a walk), some outside and inside games plus a talent show.
Once again we booked the West End Ourdoors Centre (details for residential centres where you are can be found here). The centre doesn’t cost the world to hire and has fantastic facilities so we managed to price the residential at £60 a hear with a break-even number of 15 young people.
As the weekend progressed the relationships with the young people began to grow. They got to know each other and mixed with others who they’d never met before and as leaders we had an opportunity to spend some quality time with those that we knew already and a chance to build relationships with new young people.
As a young person in youth groups residentials were hugely influential. The chance to hang out with my Christian mates for the whole weekend was something I always looked forward too, there were always laughs and more spiritual moments and I remember coming back from every residential wishing it could go on forever.
Being part of a community for even a weekend is hugely important. The chance for youth workers and volunteers to develop relationships and take young people on a journey for a weekend is so important for a group to grow and develop and for young people to feel more comfortable and open with those around the. Alongside that (and most importantly) a whole weekend can give young people a real chance to experience God and grow in their faith. There’s something about escaping for a weekend that can really allow God to move amongst young people.
I guess it’s biblical…whilst Jesus didn’t run residentials he hung out with his disciples. He didn’t do a series of 10 discipleship sessions and send them off but spent quality time with them, getting to know them as people and not as a project.
I want to encourage readers to have a think about running a residential if you don’t already. Our guide (which can be found here) is a great place to start. Why not comment on this post for more information and help?