Rachel Fitch
Sid & Cathy Batts Pastoral Resident

An auditorium full of teenagers, each participating in simple choreographed dance moves to various songs.  Some youth are all in, some less so, but, boy, is there a lot of energy.  If you’ve ever been to a Presbyterian youth conference, you, too, have probably done an energizer or two.

While I have to admit these energizing dance things aren’t always my favorite, it is an exciting way to start the day and to prepare for worship on these full conference days.  The Montreat youth conferences are a week of powerful worship and keynotes, time to share and discuss in small groups, and rich conversations with other young people.

I remember participating in these conferences throughout high school and, while I didn’t always recognize it at the time, it was a gift to be in a place with so many other youth who were passionate about their faith and who desired to grow — asking hard questions and wrestling as they shared together.  When sometimes it is hard to talk about faith, particular as a youth, it was a gift to go to a place where that was encouraged.

As I think back, I fondly remember the small groups, but, most of all, the relationships I was able to build with other youth from my church.  As we prepared meals, played board games, prayed, and hiked throughout the week, we grew in friendships that carried on long past that week at Montreat.

I wonder if you, too, had an experience at a Christian camp or conference when you were young?  Or perhaps it was through Sunday School?  Did you have a time when you were surrounded by other youth who were also asking questions and wanting to grow in faith?

I am reminded of a verse of Psalm 133 — “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!”  It is indeed a gift to share in fellowship and to grow in faith together.  For this sharing is what we are called to as the Body of Christ.

As our middle school youth leave for a Montreat conference in Tennessee later this week and as our high school youth leave for Montreat on Sunday, I ask that you, too, hold them in prayer.  We pray that God might bless their time together, that they might grow closer in friendship with one another, that they might glimpse the Spirit all around them, and that they might grow in their faith in God.