"Following Jesus" Retreat Reflections

by Highland Baptist Church on March 08, 2024

Last weekend, 12 of Highland’s 4th and 5th graders gathered to explore in more depth what it means to follow Jesus by making their faith their own and baptism.

To explore these themes, we began by listening for God through a story in the style of Godly Play. As we moved through our time on Friday night hearing the story, it became clear that we needed more practice listening for God in a variety of ways – individually, in pairs, as a group, through the stories of our faith, and through elements of nature that we take in through sight, sound, taste, touch, and hearing.


On Saturday morning, we gathered to listen for God again and then made our way through self-directed stations that allowed us to listen for God in different ways. We painted what we had seen that is good, beautiful, and true. We captured in story form moments of experiencing sadness, anger or fear. We traced labyrinths enveloped in the softness of bean bag chairs. We kneaded and molded clay into our own individual labyrinths. We soaked reed and wove baskets. We drew on post-it notes moments when we had drawn close to God and God had drawn close to us. We used stones with painted images on them to share about what was on our mind. 


At one point, one of our children called me over as they traced the labyrinth in the soft, comfy bean bag chair. He said something to me in such whispered tones I had difficulty hearing him. When I asked him to repeat it, he said, “I heard God say that God will be with me through all the twists and turns of my life.” As he pointed out markers on the labyrinth along the way, “God’s with me at the beginning, to the middle, and then all the way back to the end.” 

My hope and prayer is that each child was able to hear God at least once in such a profound way through our time together, and that the practice of such listening will allow them to continue exploring what it means to make their faith their own.  

~ Renee Purtlebaugh

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