Youth joining weekend retreat

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A youth faith retreat planned for this weekend hopes to remind young people that their faith journey needs to take place all the time, rather than just on Sundays.

The event, “Disciples Now,” includes music concerts, Bible studies and reflection, and a community improvement project. Ten churches will participate in the retreat, which will start Friday and continue through Saturday evening.

“Disciples Now is kind of like a mini-retreat within the church,” said Matt Tyler, minister of students at Southside Baptist Church in Andalusia. “The theme for the week is ’24-7,’ as in, how do you spend 24 hours, seven days a week, with God? We’re trying to teach the kids to keep God in their lives, the lives of their families, the lives of their schools and the lives of their churches.”

Tyler said those attending the retreat will stay with host families that belong to the various participating churches. At those host homes, the adults will lead their groups in prayer and Bible study.

The young people will also come together for several worship services and concerts. Friday, Southside Baptist Church will host a concert featuring Christian band “Soul Sister Sally.” The concert begins at 7 p.m., with dinner preceding and starting at 5:30 p.m. There will be a similar concert Saturday night at Westview Baptist Church in Opp, also starting at 7 and with a pre-concert dinner.

“This band is kind of an up-and-coming band on the Christian music circuit,” Tyler said. “We’re also having Ryan Garrett, who is the youth director of a church in Thomaston, Ga., come down to speak to the kids. We’ve got churches in this retreat coming in from as far from Ino in Coffee County to Pleasant Home.”

Saturday morning, the youth will attend a worship service at Babbie Baptist Church from 9:30 a.m. until noon. Following the service, they will split up to participate in a community improvement project, where they will clean up the grounds of several local schools. Tyler could not name which church would be where, but he said Southside Baptist youth will be working at Andalusia Middle School and Carolina Baptist Church youth will be at Pleasant Home school.

“We’re going to do some cleaning up around the grounds and also a few prayers,” Tyler said. “We basically want to give these kids the opportunity to make a positive impact on their schools and use their schools for Christ.”