Like many youth workers who have been doing this for a long time, Mike Yaconelli was and is a youth ministry hero. Broken, flawed, and all sorts of messy, but a hero nonetheless.
Mike was one of the first people I ever heard talk about taking a personal spiritual retreat. Though I’ve never been on one, I fully understand their value (if for no other reason because Mike was a fan of them). You know, a real one, two to three days away at a monastery or some other “spiritual” place. I regularly thought about it and would dream of things falling into place where it’d be an ideal situation. I found myself waiting for the guy in our church to let me borrow their scenic lake or beach house or cabin in the woods for free! But, it never happened! Oh, the travesty! But I did occasionally take a half-day for a focused time of prayer and study. I confess that hasn’t happened in probably over a decade.
So I’m writing this to have accountability and perhaps to find a few like-minded ragamuffins who need to start doing the things that we know are good but never seem to make the time. (Am I the only one hearing, Whatever is your priority is what you make time for in my head?)
My challenge is to take a day away (at least six hours) and be with God. Do your best to get out of town but if it has to be at a local park, do it. Silence is good, I think harder than ever, but still good and not a common enough spiritual practice for most of us.
The older I get, the more I remind myself that success is indeed in progress, not perfection or getting everything right, but just starting and keeping at it. I’ve lived this out with my weight. I’ve lost and have kept off over fifty pounds for over two years now. When you pursue the right things, even in small increments, over time, it adds up to significant changes. It’s the same for something like this. Just start.
I’m going to start, and starting is the key. I look forward to sharing with you how it went. However, I’m looking more forward to hearing from you and how your personal retreat went when you chose to do what’s best for your soul and be still and know that He is God.
Len has been in ministry for over 25 years and has written more than 100 articles for various youth ministry publications. He’s served as a convention pastor for youth leaders and has also led a nationwide pastoral care service for those in youth ministry for over two years. He walks with a limp but joyfully walks alongside youth leaders.