By Aaron Ziebarth
There is something special about being in a room with over two hundred people who love children and are excited to serve the Lord. One of my favorite times each year is when our volunteers gather at Joy El Camps and Retreats (a Christian summer camp and retreat center in Pennsylvania) and at three other locations to prepare for another year of Released Time.
This year was no exception. In fact, many people said this was “The best one ever.” I must admit I agreed wholeheartedly.
I asked some of the Joy El staff to share a highlight from one of the four workshops. Here are some of the responses:
- The worship music and both guest speakers.
- The excitement displayed by the volunteers. Even when asked, “Are you ready to work harder? Are you willing to do what it takes to reach more children?” the unanimous consensus was “Yes, we are willing!”
- Hearing the volunteers afterwards talk about how uplifted they were.
- Seeing the volunteers excited about the potential impact God wants to unleash through Released Time as we ignite a generation that seeks Him.
- Hearing volunteers talk about marshmallows and potential as applied to them and their program, not just as an abstract concept.
- We were affirmed by our move to the 4 Chapter Gospel by individuals who told me that they have been praying for us to move in this direction.
- Being new to Joy El’s Released Time, I suppose I am struck by things maybe in a stronger way than someone who has been a part of it for a long time. I found such an elevated feeling of good at the end of each Released Time training session. The people we get to work with are dedicated to the Lord in a way that is honestly not that easy to find in today’s society. Folks that have a deeply ingrained love for the Lord and who love children are a dynamic bunch of folks and such a pleasure to be around.
I couldn’t agree more! The psalmist said in Psalm 126:3, “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
We are excited by how God has started this year of Released Time. We praise God that 701 people began a relationship with Him last year in Released Time, Summer Camp and Weekend camps and retreats. We are excited to see how he will work this year.
If you attended a workshop, please comment on the Facebook post for this blog and tell us what you enjoyed. If you didn’t, I hope you will join us next year!