Frequently Asked Questions



Where is the weekend held?

The weekend is designed to be held in your local church. A few churches that do not have buildings or have too many youth to host an overnight weekend retreat in their buildings rent a nearby camp to host the event.

How many youth does it take to host a successful weekend?

We have found that the weekend works great with as few as 12 youth in 6th–12th grade or as many as several hundred. Be sure to invite all students in this age group who attend your church.

Where do the youth stay at night?

The weekend is designed for the middle schoolers to stay at the church with adult supervision and for the high schoolers to go to their own homes or to host homes.

Do you have to attend an Emmaus Walk before you can lead the weekend?

No.

Can members of other churches attend?

Yes, visitors are always welcomed. Some churches encourage middle schoolers to invite a friend.

What is The Upper Room?

The Upper Room® is a global ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual formation of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. From its beginnings as a daily devotional guide, The Upper Room has grown to include publications, programs, prayer support, and other resources to help believers of all ages and denominations move to a deeper level of faith and service. Visit UpperRoom.org to learn more.

What do you do during the weekend?

The weekend is designed for both spiritual formation and fun. There are Talks given by high school students, worship services, Disciple Groups, games, free time, and lots of music, videos, and skits.

How long does the planning time take?

The weekend planning—including leadership training, high schooler preparation, Leadership and Full Team meetings—usually takes six months.

Where do the students take showers?

If your church does not have shower facilities, middle schoolers may shower at a YMCA-type facility in your area or at the homes of church members who live near your church. High schoolers will shower at their overnight location.

What is the relationship between The Upper Room and Discovery?

At the beginning of 2017, Discovery Weekend became the newest offering from The Upper Room. Discovery Weekend joins our children, youth, and young adult ministries including: Pockets, a devotional magazine for children 6-12 devozine, a devotional magazine written for teens by teens and adults who love them Chrysalis, a weekend experience similar to Discovery Weekend that is led and attended by high schoolers Journey to the Table, an experience for college students and young adults. Our hope is to allow Discovery Weekend to continue to grow and to enable churches hosting Discovery Weekends to connect with one another as well as with churches involved in any of The Upper Room’s other ministries.

How did Discovery Weekend get started?

In the late 1990s, the youth of First United Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, were burdened with more than the normal stresses of growing up. Their youth director was diagnosed with a blood disease and was not expected to live more than a year or two. The associate pastor prayed earnestly that the church would surround the youth with God’s love. Read more of the story...

What’s included in the manual?

The manual includes everything you need to successfully host the weekend: planning timelines, weekend schedules, job descriptions for youth and adult leaders, Talk Guides, Disciple Group Leader Guides, worship services, skit ideas, sample forms and letters, and more. You can make as many copies of the manual as needed for your team.

How many leaders does it take?

Discovery Weekend will involve your whole church. Parents, Sunday school classes, staff, and the entire congregation will be invited to help and support the youth in some way during the weekend. This is what makes the weekend so fun and special for the youth.

Can we change the weekend to fit our needs?

Yes! Most Discovery Weekend churches make small changes to the weekend to fit the needs of their congregation. If you are considering significant changes, please let us know so that we can share with you what we have learned from other churches and learn from you as well.