On April 24, 2018, the following news was posted on the Upper Room Ministries Blog.
The Upper Room announces the launch of Discovery Weekend, a spiritual formation retreat program for middle school students to be held in local congregations. The weekend retreat provides an opportunity for middle schoolers to learn about and experience the love of God. High school students, youth workers, and the church staff lead the weekend, while parents and the church family surround them with faithful examples of love and grace.
“Thirty-two churches across the U.S. have beta-tested Discovery Weekend over the last several months, with each providing valuable feedback that helps us shape the content and experience. The program offers a spirited and transformative encounter that every teenager should experience, and one that fits The Upper Room tradition found in the Walk to Emmaus, Chrysalis, and The Academy for Spiritual Formation,” reports Geoffrey Parker, Director of Youth and Young Adult Spiritual Formation Programs for The Upper Room. “We want to offer youth something that is holy and fun, at the same time.”
Upper Room Publisher Stephen Bryant adds, “The value of Discovery Weekend is that it invites the entire church family to live out its baptismal covenant by encouraging these young disciples to walk in the way that leads to life. It helps the older youth develop their leadership skills while nourishing the faith of the younger teens. Discovery is not only about the youth group. This experience will strengthen relationships throughout the entire congregation.
To host a Discovery Weekend retreat, churches need to purchase the comprehensive weekend manual,Discover God’s Love Through the Church. The manual includes: planning timelines, weekend schedule, Disciple Group Leader Guides, Talk Guides for high school students, a sample communication plan . . . all the content needed to run a successful program. A marketing graphic package is also available.
Discovery Weekend, originally conceived and founded by Rev. Melody Traylor while serving at First United Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was inspired by Traylor’s experiences with The Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation and Walk to Emmaus programs. (Rev. Traylor is a retired elder in the North Alabama Conference.)
Visit discovery.upperroom.org to learn more about Discovery Weekend and to download a manual sampler, connect via email with the Discovery Weekend Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 615.340.7088 (or toll-free 877.899.2780, ext. 7088).