We had an awesome weekend at Spring Advance. Wait? What? You don’t know what Spring Advance is? “Let me explain…no, it’s too much, let me sum up.” (Guess the reference in the comments.) Spring Advance was a lazy decision that became an awesome branding of a great event. When I was assistant youth minister I did much of the artwork for Evidence. Any “pre-designed” stuff we could find for sermon series’ or events was always a plus. While checking a free resources website we came across this “Advance” sermon series logo. It had a rhinocerous on it. We thought it was cool so we downloaded it for future use. When we were planning our spring retreat we decided to use the Advance artwork for it. It was simple…”Christians don’t retreat, we advance.” So we took the artwork and used it to name our event. It worked beautifully. That rhino became the symbol of that event. It was three years ago. Now, if you show something with a rhino on it to one of our students they assume it’s something for our Spring Advance event.
Why a rhino you ask? Simple. When a rhino faces danger or a predator it doesn’t ever run away. It’s vulnerable when it retreats so it always runs towards danger, trusting in the strength given to it by it’s maker. (It’s horn.) All you ministers are writing this down for an illustration, I know. For everyone else, I’ll bring it home now. We as Christians shouldn’t retreat from danger or trials, or struggles. We should advance toward them joyfully trusting in the strength given to us by the Holy Spirit and our Heavenly Father. BOOM! Instant logo, instant theme.
This year’s Spring Advance was pretty great. We themed it “Advance to Significance” and used a modified (by me) curriculum from the “Search for Significance” books by Robert McGee. The entire weekend was about finding who you are in Christ and not in Earthly accolades or achievement. I’ll get into the results of the weekend in a future post but I’d like to cast a bit of the vision for it here.
This weekend was about getting away from it all to get back to what’s real. We had a simple yet structured schedule that allowed for relaxation or activity, whatever the student preffered. It was a quick weekend event but it was designed to take the overstressed, over worked student and give them some time away from it all. The last thing I wanted to do was bombard them with activity after activity stretching them further until they were as stressed and busy on the retreat as they would have been at home. Sure, there was plenty to do, but it was almost all up to them and when it wasn’t up to them it was something simple and fun and something that encouraged connection. An escape. A refreshing. A rejuvination. Those where our goals for this trip. Tune in next time to for my analysis of how it all came across.
What do you think about the name Spring Advance?
Will you use the rhino illustration in a sermon now?
Author: Michael Prince
Michael Prince co-authored “What’s in Your Pocket? A parent’s guide to protecting your children online.” with his wife Melinda. They have four kids and live in an RV anywhere in the USA they see the need for an internet safety expert. Michael is leading the conversation in the American Church about family online security. He and Melinda founded BecauseFamily, a ministry that exists to inspire and equip parents to be the first influence in the lives of their children, in 2013. Michael is also a geek and loves Star Wars, Doctor Who, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and strategy board games.