Young Adult Retreat: Vision of a Bright Future
By Benjamin Lundquist
I was invited to speak for this year’s annual Oregon Conference Young Adult Spring Retreat held at Camp Magruder in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
As I drove along the Wilson River heading toward Tillamook I was praying for this weekend, asking Jesus to do incredible things for His honor and glory. On this particular day the sun was in full view, (coming from Arizona this was a familiar sight), and I was hoping to see a vision this weekend of what Jesus wanted to do as Oregon Conference young adult ministry moves into a brand new chapter. Looking back, He did just that and so much more.
In one form or another, almost every conversation, worship music set, and spoken message seemed to be about Jesus. Even the huge game of ultimate frisbee that took place on the beach seemed to have a selfless Jesus component. The messages I shared during the retreat talked about developing an unshakable identity in Jesus as our Father, anchoring attendees in the hope that if we know Jesus, and know what He thinks about us, then we can truly know who we are. The excellent worship music was led by Josh and Sara Withers and Greg Phillips. Even the lyrics of the songs supported this idea of knowing your true identity in Him.
The young adults who attended the retreat were from all over the Oregon Conference, and there were even a few who made the drive down from Walla Walla. Having spent little time with this group before, I watched, talked, listened, and ate with them over the two days we were together. The attendees connected in a way that made one think they had all known each other for years. Even though they came from different communities, churches, backgrounds, and faith journeys, they blended together in a way that was accepting, caring, honest, and encouraging. I would have invited any young adult I know to spend time with this group without any hesitation, knowing they would feel at home.
One of the highlights of this retreat was spending an hour alone with Jesus on the beautiful grounds of Camp Magruder. Attendees turned off their phones, grabbed Bibles, and headed off to a space where they could have some honest dialogue with Jesus. In the fastpaced world we live in, these moments can be few and far between. This hour was filled with prayer, reading, singing, listening, and enjoying an uninterrupted moment. Testimonies were rich and and powerful as I debriefed this experience with the group. These young adults accepted the challenge to not just talk about doing life with Jesus, but to actually carve out the time to make it happen beyond this event.
For me, this retreat was a small vision of things to come in Oregon. I caught a vision for a young adult ministry where Jesus is uplifted, any young adult can find a place in a growing community, and young adult leaders are living a real journey of faith for themselves. As I drove back to Portland on Sunday, the sun I saw on Friday was gone, but the vision I caught was still present.
Special thanks to Tracy Woods, who now serves at the NAD, and Les Zollbrecht, youth director for Oregon Conference, for growing this young adult group over the last few years. I am looking forward to many more retreats like this in the future. Please pray with me as Oregon Conference young adult ministries launches into a brand new chapter.
Note: We welcome Benjamin Lundquist as the director of the newly formed young adult ministries department here at the Oregon Conference. He and his family are currently making the transition to this part of the country from Arizona and we look forward to working with him to further the involvement of young adults in sharing the gospel in the Pacific Northwest.