“How can they appreciate our teaching if we are not consistently leading them to read, consider, and meditate on what we have found to be true in the Bible?”

You may have heard that Cornerstone West LA is planning a youth retreat this spring. Like many of us, you may have also immediately imagined sleeping on hard floors, eating boiled hot dogs, and swatting at insects the size of sanitation vehicles while baking in the hot sun. Furthermore, you may have thought, “I send my kids to Sunday School and youth group, PLUS I could use some time away from my kids at this point. Why in the WORLD would I want to spend money to go with them to a camp where we’ll be borderline miserable the entire time? Can’t we just stay home and do that for free?”

Well, rest assured, your memories and imaginations of youth camp have little to do with the realities found at Camp Ironwood. Ironwood provides a beautiful environment with comfortable quarters, delicious food, and top-quality teaching that can help families grow together in their knowledge and passion for the God of the Universe. But good beds, good chow, and good teaching, while wonderful, are not the main reasons why our church would encourage you to consider coming to our upcoming youth retreat. There is something much more important to consider.

We believe it is God’s heart for parents and families to be the principal force of Biblical discipleship in the life of a child. Psalm 78:4 tells us, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.” At Cornerstone, we want to empower parents and caregivers with the knowledge, skill, and passion necessary to skillfully guide and lead their children towards a relationship with Jesus. This is reflected in the very first Proverb as God implores His children to “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” How can they appreciate our teaching if we are not consistently leading them to read, consider, and meditate on what we have found to be true in the Bible?

A youth retreat provides an exciting base for future lessons, exploration, and adventures that your family can have together in the world of family discipleship. Many churches silo their children in programs led by a few leaders, separating them from their parents and other family members. We believe God paints a different picture of what true community looks like. In Acts 2:42 we read “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” This presents a picture of diversity, where all members of the church family live, learn, worship, and serve together, as one body—not in distinct and separate groups based on age. We believe this includes parents as they lead and display to their children how to strive for and follow after Jesus. 

Keeping all of this in mind, we hope you will consider the importance of family discipleship and take a first step (or fiftieth) by joining us for the Cornerstone Youth Camp. We further hope this experience can be a springboard to fuel and encourage parents as they obey God in this beautiful life-long discipleship opportunity of loving their children by teaching them and modeling the Gospel. You can register on Sunday mornings in between services in the foyer, and more information is available here.

Chris Woolsey

Chis is a member of Cornerstone and serves through our Catalyst ministry to middle and high school students.

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