Behold Ministries holds 30th annual retreat to discover, develop and deploy young disciples


by Rev. John Hill

What’s it like for more than 700 youth to sing, dance and worship? LOUD and AMAZING. Over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend (Jan. 17-19, 2015), Behold Ministries held their 30th annual retreat at Sumatanga and it was awesome.

Behold was honored to have Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett in attendance to witness first-hand this ministry. In response to a thank you e-mail in which the weekend was recapped, she responded, “It sounds a lot like discover, develop and deploy to me.” That is certainly the case and has been the goal of Behold for the past 30 years.

This year’s theme was Roots and derived from Jeremiah 17:7-8.

The goal year after year has been to, first and foremost, share the Gospel and life-saving message of Jesus Christ. Behold acknowledges that we have brokenness in our lives brought on by sin and that we can only be made whole through the grace of Jesus Christ. It was such a spiritual night when more than 100 youth made a first time profession of faith in Christ. Young lives were changed by discovering love and grace through Jesus Christ.

The Behold team spends time with the youth praying with them and sharing how to develop “Holy Habits” that they can take home with them so that they might continue to develop their root system. They are encouraged to share with their youth pastor, pastor, and parents the decision they made and to seek their mentorship and help in the habits of Scripture study (both private and corporate), journaling, prayer, worship, and service. What we don’t want is for this weekend to be a one-time mountain top experience and then the youth fall back into their old life once they are back to their normal routines.

One of the highlights of the weekend is the Senior High Closing where all the high school seniors are invited to create a circle. They then are reminded that this is their last Behold as a camper and that the years they have come as a camper, everything about Behold has been directed at serving them. They are then invited to return to Behold as a SWAT Team member. SWAT stands for Servants With A Testimony and is the small group breakout sessions. 100 percent of the SWAT Team are former Behold campers with the vast majority being college students. his year there were 65 SWAT Team members deployed to give of their time, energy and money to serve the campers.

Sunday night’s worship service features a three-part altar call -- those who are professing Christ for the first time, those who are re-committing their life to Christ and those who feel a call to ministry. This year there were 25 youth who recognized their call to some sort of ministry. Their interests ranged from mission work to youth ministry to music ministry to pastoral ministry. The fields are ripe for harvest and God is actively calling these students to be the hands and feet of Christ. These 25 young people are acknowledging and answering that call by saying “Here I am, Lord. Deploy me.”

The Behold planning team began planning for 2016 during the middle of the 2015 retreat and we will continue throughout the year. We expect BIG things in 2016 because we serve a BIG God. We hope to see you there.

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Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.