A couple years ago, I remember watching an MTV show called “If You Really Knew Me.” For one day, cameras followed students at their school as they participated in “Challenge Day.” Students engaged in various small group and large group initiatives to hopefully discover the “truer” identities of their peers.

On August 2-3, thirty two 7th-12th grade students and leaders were challenged to get to really know each other at the Team Up retreat in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

The emphasis was not on us.  Knowing who we really are cannot just be discovered through team-building activities and group bonding. Our identity is in Jesus. We therefore must turn our focus to knowing Him as we learn to know each other. Jesus reminds us that, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:6-7).

A weekend retreat is simply a “taste” of really knowing God and knowing each other. Here are some of the experiences we shared together:

  • Canoeing on the Wisconsin River (and learning how to paddle successfully)
  • Setting up and breaking camp together
  • Enjoying Diaz-cooked meals
  • A challenging team-building game led by Janie M
  • “Cross the Line”
  • Student-led small group conversations about “Who is God” and “Who am I”.
  • Students sharing their testimonies
  • Campfire worship by Steph, Jake, and Heather
  • 16 boys sharing one tent
  • Swimming and hiking at Devil’s Lake State Park
  • Road-tripping