If you have been a loyal reader for a while you will know that a big part of our winter retreat is a time of worship that involves prayer stations. This has been an important part of our weekend since the beginning (when we first started none of us had ever done anything like that before and we were terrified, but it was the hit of the weekend.)
This year we moved the "station worship" time to the first night instead of the second night. Our thoughts were that after that special time of worship students were often better focused and ready to encounter God. We also wanted to have a fun thing on the second night to wrap up our superhero theme. I didn’t really get a chance to check things out this year because I was spending most of my time helping out a student with some medical problems. From what I hear things were ok, but not earth shattering.
One of the problems was that we were in a fairly small space and students couldn’t really be by themselves. When you are engaged in personal and reflective worship like that it is important that you can find space where there aren’t people. Also, I think everyone wasn’t quite ready to open up their hearts to God completely just yet and that made the whole time less worship and more "let’s look at the cool stations".
Of course there were some people who were still intrigued by the worship. There were some students who were still talking about that quiet time on Monday. So for some it was important.
Actually I think one of the main things that makes it important is that it forces students to be quiet. It is so hard rare for teenagers to sit quietly and actually look at their own lives. This is a great way to help them to do just that.
But as for us and station worship, I don’t know what the future holds. Part of me says that we need to find a new way to help the students connect with God. I would love to take the elements of stations the personal reflection, and the use of the arts and bring that into the other worship times. I would love to find a way to worship that challenges students again, a way that moves them outside of what is comfortable and forces them to actually seek after God. Maybe next year we will break out some hymnals and have high church. That would sure be different.