Lynne Howard, children’s pastor at Eastgate Church in Cummings, GA, shares about a retreat for preteens she recently hosted:
Preteens are at a crossroads of growing up and growing in the Lord, with the world pushing in on them from all sides- temptation at every turn and seeping in through the cracks through peer pressure, social media, and more. The world they are facing is scary, and we want to FIGHT FOR THEM and teach them to fight for purity.
We want them to chase after Christ, and let Him fill every area of their lives with purity. To pursue holiness and become molded and shaped in to His image. To strive for purity in their minds, bodies, friendships, and social media- in ALL areas of their lives; to live without even a hint of impurity or immorality. That is the goal.
The path to get there takes intentionality and dedication. It takes prayer and investment, long term relationships and pouring into kids. It takes parents who are empowered to fight for their kids and lead them, and a church who equips kids and parents and challenges them.
Teaching kids to live in purity isn’t a one time thing. It’s not just a lesson or a weekend trip. It’s a journey.
We recently started a ministry just for 4th and 5th graders at our church. Our first event was a purity retreat at a lake house. We had over 20 kids participate, and it was amazing! God worked in some great ways. After the retreat, we asked kids to share testimonies of what God did in and through them that weekend, and one 5th grade boy shared a vision that God gave him of how God fills our lives with light and gets rid of our sin. After he stood on stage in a crowded room and shared his testimony and vision from the Lord, his parents came up to me in tears and told me that was the first time he shared a word in front of people, and that before he was even born, they were given a prophecy that he would be a preacher of God’s word. This was the first seed from that prophecy.
Another 5th grade girl shared a testimony of God speaking to her and giving her a vision and word straight from HIM. During her time alone with God, she and a friend were praying and reading the Word, and suddenly they both felt the presence of the Lord, and felt Him speak to them, saying “Fearfully and wonderfully made….” and another girl got a vision of angels surrounding the room singing, “Holy, holy, holy.” What a powerful testimony!
Another 5th grade boy shared that God had told him was going to be a missionary when he grows up. When he was asked where he felt God leading him to serve, he simply replied, “I will be a missionary to the most dangerous places on earth. Places where people are persecuted and killed for being a Christian.” Wow.
It was such a powerful weekend. We shared stories and played games, built relationships, prayed together, read the Word together, and had a blast. We made so many memories. We couldn’t have done it without an amazing team of volunteers who are dedicated and passionate.
One key for success is including parents in the process. Parents were given information about what their kids would be studying. Parents attended the retreat and helped lead sessions. And we ended the retreat with parents meeting together with kids and gave parents a Scripture Guide and Prayer Guide and asked them to pray with their kids. They were given a purity pledge to sign together (optional). The next night, we had a special event JUST for parents, where we brought in speakers to equip and empower them. One speaker was from the Sheriff’s Department, and he shared about keeping kids safe online, and the other was a licensed Christian relationship/sex therapist, who shared about how to talk to your kids about sex, and we had a panel for questions and shared resources. It was a wonderful and informative session!
The purity weekend was a powerful weekend, but it is only the start in helping kids build a foundation of living for Christ and purity. We will continue to mentor them, teach them, pray with them, and come alongside them in their journey. We have an opportunity to invest in the lives of kids and help draw them to the Lord, so HE can transform their lives and their hearts.
Purity Retreat Resources
Download the sample pack (in Word, so you can tweak) from the purity retreat, which includes:
- Schedule and parent information
- Permission slip sample
- Small Group Leader Questions
- Ice Breakers and Team Challenges
- Girls Makeup Party info/devotions
- Time Alone with God sample page
HT Lynne Howard