LifeTeen Fearless Retreat 2013
Music Ministry is always evolving and changing. I wish I could find the book on how to have the perfect ministry, but perhaps such a would be irrelevant in a short amount of time. So, as music ministers, we continue to learn and adapt as all living things do. This September I had the pleasure of joining 70 other musicians in Tiger, Georgia at Life Teen’s Covecrest Retreat Center. Father Ken and Father Roy (St. Julie Billiart, Dartouth) were very kind and generous to sponsor this trip. This was a great and memorable opportunity to pick up pointers on music ministry in Life Teen.
So….. What is Life Teen?
Life Teen is a dynamic form of youth ministry and religious education. It is used widely around the country as the model for confirmation, and for good reason! The lessons are well planned, and the masses are more geared to the teens. At Resurrection, we have their middle school program (called Edge), and use Life Teens resources, though we do not have an actual Life Teen mass.
The retreat center was way up in the mountains, and I’ve included some pictures below. It is definitely a retreat in terms of location, and the whole place has an air of spirituality. First thing in the morning we had morning prayer, followed by a holy hour, then breakfast, mass, and a series of workshops. The workshops were led by Josh Blakesley, Sarah Kroger, and Ed Bolduc, who are all published songwriters and musicians for Life Teen. There was so much prayer, music, and fellowship, I was in heaven!
There’s something special about being with 70 other talented musicians, who all share a passion for the Catholic faith, Jesus, and music. Every song we sang was rich in harmonies and worship. The workshops talked about how to get people more involved in full, active participation in the liturgy.
What did I get out of it?
Besides the number of friends I made, experiences I had, and new music I was exposed to, I discovered a few things. One was that I am too busy, and that affects my relationship with Jesus. I didn’t realize this until I went to reconciliation (which I don’t do enough of), and was able to have a one on one with the staff priest. All the prayer, worship, and fellowship really helped bring me closer to Jesus. There is truly a great transformation that occurs when you deny yourself and live for the Lord, and surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
Some of the other great things I learned applied to the general leading of liturgy, song arranging, and how to encourage the congregation to sing. Sometimes (and I felt this way growing up), we feel as though our singers job is to sing to us, not lead us into worship together. I’ve never felt the feeling I felt when all 70 of us raised our voices to heaven and praised God in one Accord. I’ve included a recording of about 25 of us singing the Hail Mary, completely improvised. This is what it was like the whole time! I could keep talking, but I think I’ve described the event enough, let’s look at some pictures!