In the course of two frigid January weekends more than six hundred teenagers and youth leaders descended on the grounds of Pinebrook for the annual Sno Glo Winter Retreat. It was two weekends full of fellowship with old friends and new and dedicated time in the Word of God, with challenging and thought provoking messages from our own Pastor David Smith. Teenagers and leaders enjoyed the various games and tournaments throughout the weekend, ranging from dodgeball, volleyball, and basketball to art competitions, talent demonstrations, and original songs.
Sno Glo is a small part of what the Board of Youth and Young Adult (BYYA) of the BFC puts together. In addition to these two weekends, the BYYA hosts the Core Challenge at Victory Valley in April, the Reformation Rally in November, and sponsors several young adult events throughout the year. The BYYA also sponsors a podcast, Another Youth Ministry Podcast.
There truly is something for everyone at Sno Glo. The Events Committee of the BYYA, along with Ben Armstrong, program director for the last several years, do a wonderful job planning and thinking of every interest level. If you like to throw balls at other people in the attempt to get them out of the game – dodgeball is for you. Perhaps you would rather throw some cards down and yell BLITZ! – then the Dutch Blitz tournament is right up your alley. Maybe your talent is choreographing your own skating routine – then the talent competition is your kind of style. Seriously, a young lady choreographed and performed her own skating routine the second weekend this year. If you don’t feel like any of these options meet you where you are, there is always swimming in the indoor pool, gaga ball, 9-square in the air, or just quality time talking with friends.
The tournaments and competitions are perhaps one of the biggest draws to the weekend, but for some teens they are in no means the biggest emphasis of the weekends. Sno Glo is primarily a retreat for the teens to learn, grow, and return home changed by what they heard from the Word of God. The BYYA has done a fantastic job recruiting quality speakers over the years. This year was no exception. Pastor David Smith, of Bethel BFC, Emmaus, PA, brought challenging and insightful lessons over the course of the weekends. The teenagers and leaders were challenged to think about how we interact with the world, and why the world thinks the way they do. He introduced and discussed opposing worldviews to the Christian and Biblical worldview, yet the most challenging message was on Saturday night.
Pastor Smith led the teens to Proverbs 7 and walked them through the passage as the father is warning his son of the adulterous woman, a metaphor for how we interact with sin. He laid out the dangers and wrong thinking which often accompanies our temptation and subsequent fall into sin. We skirt the line, thinking of ourselves too strong to give into temptation – yet, then we fall. Instead, we need to keep ourselves away from areas where we are tempted, having a healthy fear and awareness of those areas in our lives. By God’s good grace, teens were moved by this powerful passage and message. Teen after teen approached Pastor Smith or their own leaders confessing their sin and seeking prayer for things they’ve done or situations they are currently facing. What a blessing for these teens to be walking in the light and seeking repentance in the Lord! Pray for the continuing work of the Spirit to penetrate the hearts of these students and others. They now face the daily challenges of being teenagers in a world looking to devour them up and sell them a bill of goods.
Therein lies the beauty of such retreats for young people today: Sno Glo offers teenagers an opportunity to get away from their normal weekend plans and be together with their friends, their youth leaders, and oftentimes make new friends. More importantly they have an opportunity to meet with God in a new and powerful way. Removed from the distractions of everyday life – they have a chance to be still and sit with the discomfort of who they are.
I would challenge you to support the ministry of Sno Glo in any way you can; whether in the form of sending teenagers and leaders, sponsoring a student to go, or giving to the BYYA directly. It is a necessary and vital ministry to the teenagers of the Bible Fellowship Church and beyond. God is at work among the youth of our churches. Let each and everyone of us be diligent to pass on the knowledge of the faith and live accordingly to that to which we have been called.