Fan Into Flame is a pivotal retreat at any Saint Paul’s Outreach chapter. The retreat aims to open the eyes of the students we are reaching out to just how involved the Lord desires to be in our lives. For young budding Christians, it can mean doors opened wide to new relationships and an intentional community, it can mean a newfound awareness of one’s sin, and the Lord’s response of Mercy, it can even mean great conversion. For the more spiritually mature, it is intended to be a considerable deepening. For all the students, and wherever they fell on that spectrum, we worked to put on a retreat that simply gave full reins to God, and allow whatever He desired, no matter how big or seemingly little, it seemed.
During the retreat we have several speakers and testimonies. We go through what Jesus has done for us, and what He’s continuing to do for us. We explain repentance, and the Lord’s Mercy. We exhort on the power of the Holy Spirit, and the ways the Lord wants more, and more, and just more for each and every one of us. Throughout all of this, the students are in small groups, and they have the opportunity to continually process how the Lord is speaking to them through the various talks and movements of the weekend. An important aspect of the retreat is the immersion into worship. In response to many of the talks, we guide the students into praising the One that this is all about! We were very encouraged by the growth of participation that occurred over the weekend, all it takes is a leap! (or a whole weekend where you have several chances to practice!)
The climax of the weekend is Saturday night, when we hold a prayer meeting. Up until then, we claim, and repeat ourselves, and pray that we’re heard; that God has more grace, specific gifts, and simply more life for them, and He has it today! We have but to ask for it. In the same small groups we’ve been involved in, we take turns praying over every individual. We pray for the specific areas that are in their hearts, we pray for the Holy Spirit to pour out into their lives, and the students themselves often pray and claim Jesus as Lord of their lives! We can prepare the talks and plan the groups as much as we want to, but in the end, we can relax our grip in the knowledge that God plans on showing up, and the work will always be His. Although many of the students were strangers to each other at first, by the end of the weekend, they were having as much fun with each other as possible (the outpouring of more of the Lord in our lives tends to help with that). And we plan to continue providing opportunities for this community, and for greater conversion in every aspect of our lives.
You can’t make it all happen in a weekend, but the Lord can do quite a bit. (Gosh darn He even could do it all in a weekend if He wanted but we don’t usually plan for that..) Even so, this is why we don’t just rely on the one retreat, but throughout the whole year we open door after door and keep on inviting. We thank God for the great work He has done in such a small time, but we also pray for more grace, for our work is not over yet.
Pray for us!