I have a confession: I’ve never been to IGNITE. I know- I know the shame and humiliation of such a sentence is overwhelming! After all, IGNITE is THE premiere Christian youth retreat in the state of New Jersey gathering nearly 1,000 youth to worship, learn and be transformed by the love of Jesus.
As incredible as it is-I’ve always had some other resourcing commitment around the same time as IGNITE. So, I’ve missed out on the heart pounding worship, the soul refreshing workshops and the indescribable feeling of watching countless young people say “yes” for the first time to a relationship with Jesus.
Yet, this year- I did everything humanly possible to make sure that my weekend- IGNITE weekend- was free. And I think it’s because if God’s mission with young people really matters (like we say it does) we have to make time for it. Discipiling youth is not a moment- it’s a marathon. It’s thousands of moments in ministry together that take our TIME. To truly connect with God’s next leaders will require the commitment and the willingness to order our lives around God’s priorities and not God around our priorities.
I think the same principal is deeply connected to meaningful mission with youth today. If we are to be in relationship with God’s next generation of leaders, worshippers, and missionaries we may need to honestly answer these three questions:
- Is my life ordered around God’s mission with youth or is God’s mission with youth ordered around MY life?
- What do I need to stop doing in order to start prioritizing God’s mission with young people?
- What young people are right here and right now who are waiting for me to make them a priority?
As I began answering these questions my priorities shifted and I find myself preparing to not only attend IGNITE but to present a breakout session entitled “Girls Only!” to encourage young women to silence critical voices and amplify God’s voice on beauty. Yet, best of all, answering these questions also led to 5 students from my local church attending IGNITE for the first time too! We are all excited about what God will do at IGNITE. Yet, we are witnesses to how God has already transformed us since we transformed our TIME.
Find out more about IGNITE 2017 at www.ignitenj.org