[tweetthis]Discovery Weekend is a wonderful mosaic of the body of Christ via a retreat experience at home.[/tweetthis]
Discovery Weekend is a curriculum that was formed for middle school students, is led by high school students, and is supported by adults. It is a wonderful mosaic of the body of Christ through a retreat experience at home. Discovery Weekend has a four year rotation available of different themes: Discover God’s love through the Church, Discover God’s love through Scripture, Discover God’s Gifts: Prayer, Baptism, and Holy Communion, and Discovery: Celebrate Life. Each set of curriculum comes with suggested talks, skits, games, small group questions, and even planning pages for how to communicate and get different groups in the congregation involved.
I have been a part of Discovery Weekends at three different congregations, and each congregation does it a bit differently.
- The curriculum and content is spot on in that they cover the basics that we all need in our faith. God’s love, identity in God, forgiveness, prayer, the Bible, being connected with Christ, joy, thankfulness, and even challenges on what to do next.
- The students see the whole church body coming together through parents helping at registration, small groups serving meals, high school students (talking, leading small groups, skits), adults using their gifts to help the high school students and serve, and mentoring.
- Parent Coordinators are key. Parents can help get other parents on board to help, while also encouraging students to sign up for the weekend.
- Come up with a corresponding theme of your own with each year of curriculum. Whether it be “Awake” or “If You Really Knew Me,” brand it in your own way to make it personalized. Then you can emphasize your own points pertaining to your own youth group. Also, if you reuse these brands that means that when the students are in high school they are more familiar with them when they lead if they attended as a middle school student!
- I find that the curriculum offers a lot of services for such a short weekend and for the attention span of middle school students. I usually make it only five worship services between Friday and Saturday. I also end by the end of services on Sunday morning. It is a lot to process in one weekend between the deep devotionals, worship, and crazy games. We want it to absorb and not be skimmed past just because they are tired afterwards!
- End the weekend with the last service being in the church that Sunday morning. Have the youth minister speak, as well as some students give testimonies of the weekend. I usually make it a youth Sunday where the youth band plays. It is a great way to end the weekend, the whole congregation becomes a part of Discovery just by showing up for church!
If you would like to facilitate your own Discovery Weekend, begin by checking out discoveryministries.org and download a packet! The next step is to decide on which packet you would like to begin with for the weekend. Then, grab some parents and get to planning!