GAC Middle and High School kicked off the 2019-20 school year with a renewed sense of purpose during their Spiritual Retreats. The theme for these retreats was Closer, and the emphasis for both schools was on how students can bring themselves closer to God. Spiritual retreat speakers encourage students to think critically about their relationships with God and how they might be proactive in their understanding of God. During the week long experience (or day long for Middle School), speakers are brought in from local churches, while others are our very own.
For the High School retreat, speakers Ms. Toni Collier and Dr. Paul Cable closed the retreat with a challenge to students to “get in a groove with God” and to really make an effort for their personal relationships. For the Middle School retreat, speakers illuminated that discomfort in spiritual life doesn’t have to be negative. “Discomfort produces movement,” speaker Ms. Lauren King Shrader said in an all-girls small group. “When we’re in a place of discomfort, we either move forward in faith or backward in fear. [You have to consciously] make the decision which way you’re going to move.”
Catering to the differences in everyone, the retreats oscillated from speaker sessions to moments of large group praise and small group reflections to individual prayer time for Middle School. However, no retreat would be complete without team-building competitions like a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament, and a Human Knot contest. While these fun ice-breaker challenges are a hit with students of all ages, they truly are designed to help build bonds between new peers, students, and teachers alike. The High School retreat included incredible times of worship, class competitions, speakers, a RedZone Pep Rally, and a rave.
While the messages and overall experience of each retreat was different, starting the school year off on a strong spiritual note is an essential part of being a student at GAC.