Divine Rhythm: Design team member reflects on young-adult spiritual retreat

Divine Rhythm: Design team member reflects on young-adult spiritual retreat

More than 550 adults between the ages of 18 and 35 attend Divine Rhythm 2014.

By Ashley Cross

In 2009, my husband Carter and I were invited to join the Divine Rhythm Design Team. We were newlyweds – we’d only been married for a couple of months when the invitation came. We started attending meetings and became part of the team in time for Divine Rhythm 2010, which was held at the Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge that year. Over the last five years, we have watched as Divine Rhythm has changed and improved, providing a different worship and service experience for young adults in Holston and across the Southeast.

Divine Rhythm began in 2001 and is part of the Resurrection family of events. DR (as we affectionately refer to the event) began as a spin-off of Resurrection. It was the next step for college students and young adults who had aged out of Resurrection. Since that first year, DR has morphed from “Resurrection for young adults” to an event all its own. This year, for our 550 participants who attended the Jan. 31-Feb. 2 event at Mills Auditorium in Gatlinburg, Tenn., that shift was even clearer.

The DR Design Team spends a lot of time praying over and discussing speaker options for each event. We know that bringing in an engaging speaker who will teach the gospel and how it applies to current culture is important to young adults.

This year, we invited Scott Chrostek, campus pastor at Church of the Resurrection Downtown in Kansas City, Mo., to be our speaker. Scott is also the author of "Pursuit: Living Fully in Search of God’s Presence," which was the inspiration for this year’s event theme: Pursuit. Scott and his wife Wendy spent the weekend engaging with participants, from riding a mechanical donkey in Gatlinburg (video coming soon to the Divine Rhythm Facebook page), to interacting on Twitter (search #DR14 and follow @scottchrostek), to sharing meals and stories. Scott asked participants to consider our purpose and to answer our calling, whether we have been called to a pulpit, a classroom, a bank, or anywhere in between. He challenged each of us to see ourselves as part of God’s movement in the world.

Jimmy Needham led worship this year (follow him on Twitter, too: @jimmyneedham). Jimmy’s soulful worship style helped Divine Rhythm 2014 feel more mature than previous events. The worship experience was less about entertainment and more about ushering the hearts of participants to the throne of God. For young adults seeking authentic worship experiences with their peers, Jimmy provided just that opportunity.

In addition to hearing from Scott and Jimmy, DR participants got the chance to engage in service while in Gatlinburg. For the third year in a row, more than 100 people packaged meals for Stop Hunger Now. These volunteers packaged more than 10,100 meals that will be distributed to one of 65 countries in need.

Participants also gave blood through the Medic Blood Mobile, and raised more than $2,400 for the Holston Annual Conference mission offering that will support education in South Sudan. Young adults across our conference are interested in ways to live outside of ourselves, and the DR design team is committed to providing opportunities for our participants to do just that.

So what’s next? The design team will gather in March to continue planning for 2015. We know that we’ll return to Mills Auditorium Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2015. We know that we’ll continue to provide opportunities for young adults to serve, to grow, and to learn. And we know that we can’t wait to see what God will do next.

Ashley Cross is marketing director for Camp Wesley Woods in Townsend, Tenn.