Discovery is Holston Conference's time to help high school students explore a possible call to ministry. What started out as about 30 people sitting around at Camp Wesley Woods on the weekend of March 14-16, all looking intimidated, quickly turned into a loud, laughing group of teens and adults.
On Friday night, we enjoyed the musical offerings of Ralph Jeffers. The Rev. Charles Maynard also spoke to us about “Discovering Our Call.” He related to each person through many personal stories, fables, and everyday life examples. He spoke to us about the “night what-ifs.” He said that we, as Christians, sometimes need to slow down our night thoughts, and be still enough to hear God.
Rev. Maynard also led us on a “discerning walk” on Saturday morning. It was amazing how nature can relate to a person’s own spiritual life. He said that sometimes our own spiritual journeys will fork just as a hiking path does, and at times we will be required to take the path less traveled. He also said the path we are meant to take will not always be evident, similar to a night hike. However, if we listen, we will find the way.
On Friday night, we were paired off into “sharing groups.” Each group included about six youth, allowing us to build relationships with each other as well as the adult leaders.
Saturday afternoon included a resource fair. Several seminaries and Christian organizations provided information. After the resource fair, we divided into groups for various workshops. I participated in “Evidence of Calling in Our Lives” and “Facing Our Fears.”
Evidence of Calling was my favorite workshop. It was led by the Rev. David Graybeal, who told us that everyday events in our lives may help us determine a calling. He provided applicable ways for determining our purpose, such as a distraction diary, childhood games and activities, and passions.
Bishop James Swanson joined us for the Saturday evening service. His message was my favorite: "Responding to God’s Call.” He said: "Christianity since its very inception was a youth movement, and it should stay that way." It was very reassuring to hear the Bishop say that it is important for youth to be involved, to force the church to break away from its comfort zone.
On Sunday morning the Rev. Carol Wilson spoke to us about “Celebrating God’s Call.” “You don’t have to have it all figured out before you even begin," she told us.
Discovery helped us to realize that we share common feelings about the call to ministry, and adults who have gone before us experienced the same. Youth from all over the conference were able to connect, while the adult leaders were open to answering questions about anything. Discovery is an excellent resource for youth on spiritual journeys – even if they don't know where the journey is leading them.
*Remy is a youth member at a Johnson City District church. Some details are withheld to protect the identity of minors.