Every student ministry organization wrestles with the quandry of what to do with mountain top experiences. Young people are impacted by a retreat or leadership camp and the idealistic side of them is tapped. At the summit of their emotions and desires they want to change the world. This is normal and good. All of us need mountain top experiences from time to time to gain new perspective or to be reminded of things God has already spoken to us that we have forgotten. Here’s how…
YOUTH DEVOTIONS THAT CAPITALIZE ON MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCES
In this post I will share some classic thoughts from Oswald Chambers on the value of mountain top experiences. Secondly, you will find 6 quiet time questions that you can use for youth devotions the next time you lead your group on a mountain top experience. We need to make the most of mountain top experiences, not criticize their sometimes short-term effect.
Rather than focus on why when young people come down from the mountain they quickly lose that “high,” it is more realistic and beneficial to build mountain top experiences into the regular rhythm of our lives. The way Jesus modeled regular retreat with his disciples has huge theological implications. If mountain top experiences become part of the rhythm of a young person’s life, then the effect of mountain top experiences throughout their lives will have a longer lasting and more potent impact.
Oswald Chambers in his October 1st devotion, “The Place of Exaltation” offers keen insight into why we need mountain top experiences.
We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18). We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Yet our spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mountain. We feel that we could talk and live like perfect angels, if we could only stay on the mountaintop. Those times of exaltation are exceptional and they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware to prevent our spiritual selfishness from wanting to make them the only time.
We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a terrible trap in always asking, “What’s the use of this experience?” We can never measure spiritual matters in that way. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.
I find that the most impact with students comes by asking questions and leading devotions in such a way that the students discover for themselves what God is saying to them. If you would like to have 6 questions at your finger tips to capitalize on your next mountain top experience, then just click the link to the article below:
Quiet Time Questions for a Mountain Top Experience from Luke 9:18-36 http://t.co/fAWeGOfj6X
— Ashley Denton (@OUTDOORLEADERS) October 15, 2014