Discover God’s Love through the Church
This weekend is about discovering God’s love for us and sharing in the friendship and forgiveness of Christ, who loves us for who we are and calls us to do the same for one another. As Christ’s church, we can discover the joy of living in God’s love as a body of believers and welcome those outside the church to discover God’s profound love.
Discovery Weekend is intended to be holy and fun at the same time. The weekend experience creates an environment in which middle schoolers can better listen to God and be aware of God’s presence. In this environment, youth will hear a series of Talks given by high schoolers. Each of these Talks is designed to allow the Speaker to share his or her experience and understanding of the topic with guidance from adult mentors and the resources provided in the manual. Over the course of the weekend youth will enjoy Talks on a variety of topics, including: God Loves You, Labels, Forgiveness, and Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
There will be extensive time for small-group conversations that bring middle school and high school youth together with adults from your church. These Disciple Group conversations build relationships and understanding between people of different generations, and give everyone the opportunity to learn from one another’s experiences. This manual provides Guides for each of these conversations that connect to the topics of the Talks.
Youth and adult leaders participate together in times of worship throughout the weekend. Worship will include music and excitement, along with opportunities to learn about forgiveness, baptism, being part of a church family, and how we experience grace and offer it to others. On Sunday morning, youth will have a chance to worship with their church family and to share their experience of the weekend. The weekend is designed to involve much of your church family in planning, leading, and providing resources.
Throughout all of these experiences, the Discovery Weekend will offer time to play games, to get to know others, and to grow together as a church family.
Discovery Weekend encourages the entire church family to live out its baptismal covenant by surrounding young people with faithful examples of love and forgiveness. We invite your congregation to embark on this journey, a joint venture with God in developing young disciples.
What Happens During the Weekend?
- High schoolers facilitate small groups of middle schoolers (Disciple Groups), lead worship, share their faith stories, and provide leadership throughout the weekend.
- Parents share gifts of love and presence, attend the Prayer Service, and serve on the Leadership Team.
- Youth workers and staff provide overall leadership, direction, and supervision. Sunday school classes and small groups offer prayer support, snacks, and small gifts known as Clues.
- Clergy meet with youth who are considering baptism, assist with worship planning, help with teaching and mentoring, and are available for spiritual guidance.
- Additional adults from the congregation serve on the Leadership Team.
Rev. Dale Cohen
North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church
'Discovery Weekend is a breath of fresh air for the youth ministry in local churches. I was impressed with the way it invited both spiritual maturity and comitted leadership from our older youth as they served. Of course, the younger youth received so much as well.'
Age 12, Discovery Weekend Attendee
'Discovery Weekend helped me get to know students in other grades, and it encouraged us to share diverse thoughts in our groups.'
Director of Youth Ministry, Destin United Methodist Church
'Discovery Weekend is a curriculum that was formed for middle school students, is led by high school students, and is supported by adults. It is a wonderful mosaic of the body of Christ through a retreat experience at home.'
Age 13, Discovery Weekend Attendee
'Discovery Weekend changed me. I now have a better and stronger relationship with God because of it. Also, it has changed our church because people from all grades got closer together.'
Associate Pastor Cookeville First United Methodist Church