Besides the lapping waves on the lake, the wind blowing through trees and the occasional bleating of goats, the retreat center was silent last Wednesday. This odd, yet refreshing silence was not accidental. For five hours of the five-day initial training at Certification School in Progressive Christian Youth Ministry, the 18 participants and trainers took time for Sabbath — an intentional time of silence during which we shut off electronics … and our mouths.
Staff went out of the way to make sure we could observe the silence. A group of junior high youth who were staying there at the same time took their meal in another building that night. When one of the staff loudly delivered dessert to the junior high group, they emphatically shushed him, letting him know that they too were observing some silent Sabbath.
“Faith is caught more than it is taught,” was one of the five principles taught over and over again that week by our partnering trainer from Vibrant Faith Ministries. “If we want Christian children and youth, we need Christian adults,” was another. But, that emulation of our silent Sabbath said it louder than words ever could. No one forced those young people to take their dinner in silence, they did it simply because we did.
If we want more young people to be faithful, reflective and prayerful, WE must do it first. If we want them to make their faith a top priority, WE must do it first. What “catchy” things would you do to help form young people in faith? How do you teach by example?
Check out the video above to learn more about the impact Certifcation School has already had on the lives and ministries of these participants. Contact Nicole Havelka for more information about our next cohort forming later this year.