Where, other than life on the new earth, can you find 9000 people from more than 250 different churches and denominations playing, praying and worshipping together? At SpringHill’s Winter Teen Retreats! That’s right, attending a Winter Retreat is a little like Heaven. Because at SpringHill, like eternity, there’s no divisions between God’s people.
Instead the only competition between churches at SpringHill is the annual broomball tournament. The battle on the ice isn’t about doctrinal and governance issues, but instead about winning the coveted Winter Teen Retreat banner.
I have to admit, even after being a part of Winter Retreats for 14 seasons, I’m still amazed every time I walk around camp during a winter weekend, to see and talk to students and leaders from so many churches and traditions. It does make me think about and anticipate the coming of Christ’s Kingdom on the new earth.
What makes such an experience possible? First, every church understands the purpose of the weekend is to help students to know and grow in their relationships with Christ, to assist leaders in developing relationships with their students and to build stronger youth groups. Second, because of this purpose, SpringHill programs around what all Christian churches agree on – Jesus Christ. Finally, we stay away from issues that cause division and encourage the group leaders to do the same, which they’re only too happy to do.
So, this winter, if you think about SpringHill, say a prayer for the 1000’s of students and their leaders who’ll be attending one of eleven retreats, that their Christ centered focus will continue well beyond the weekend, becoming the focus of their lives and the lives of their churches.