Discovery Weekend is a spiritual formation retreat for middle school youth that also engages high school youth in leadership. Held in the local church, Discovery Weekend invites the entire church family to live out the baptismal promise to nurture young people in their growth as Christian disciples. Discovery Weekend employs foundational Christian teachings and experiences to encourage middle schoolers to grow in faith and to challenge high schoolers to become servant leaders.
The Discovery Weekend manual provides everything you need to host a successful weekend. The manual includes position descriptions and resources for all the leaders of your Discovery Weekend. The planning timeline takes you through these resources and planning decisions from the first few adults on the leadership team, to a recommended schedule for you to use during the weekend. This recommended timeline is a product of the collective experience of over 150 churches who have been hosting Discovery Weekends for over 20 years. As your Leadership Team plans, you will adapt parts of Discovery Weekend to fit your church.
A Discovery Weekend includes times for music and worship, small-group discussions, a series of Talks given by older youth, and fun—all built around the theme of the weekend. For your first Discovery Weekend, we recommend the Discover God’s Love through the Church manual. Each year afterward, the basic structure of Discovery Weekend stays the same as you explore different themes.
Discovery Weekend is for the entire church family. Middle school youth, no matter where they are on their faith journey, are invited to attend. High school youth lead small groups and worship. Parents share gifts of love, presence, and prayer. Youth leaders provide overall leadership, direction, and supervision of the weekend. Church parishioners serve on the Discovery team. Sunday school classes and small groups provide prayer support, meals, and snacks. Clergy help with teaching, provide spiritual guidance, and, with parental involvement, celebrate baptism.
This weekend is about discovering God’s love 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.
This weekend is about encountering the life-giving love of God found in the scriptures and the invitation to live in God’s image. Through scripture, we discover our connection to Jesus and our call to love God and love others.