03 March, 2008

Global Warming Helping Church Youth Groups Spend More Time at the Beaches

Destin, Fl - While the idea of "global warming" usually carries with it a negative connotation for most people, for the youth group of New Hope Unity Fellowship of Destin, it means "fun in the sun." With winter temperatures being well above normal in the Florida panhandle area over the past few years, church youth groups from around the south have been taking advantage of the warmer temps to start their usual summer activities several months earlier.

"While it normally stays rather mild here during the winter, the past few years have been particularly warm" said New Hope's youth pastor, Chris Fountain. "We've been hitting temps in the mid to upper 80's even in January and December, and that makes for a really nice day at the beach for our kids."

So this year for their winter youth retreat, instead of heading to West Virginia for a ski trip, New Hope just headed down to the beach with their kids. The subject of this year's retreat, "Christian Modesty."

"We had a great week down there at the beach" said Fountain. "Covering a subject like modesty takes a lot of careful planning. We try to stress it amongst our teenagers, especially when we take trips to the beach. We require all of the girls' swimsuits to be at least modest two-piece outfits. The guys, of course, just wear swim trunks. And there can be no hand holding while on the beaches, that's important too."

Fountain's group rented a beach house for the week of their retreat. Each day was filled with a combination of Bible study and "fun" activities.

"I spent a lot of time talking just with the guys" said Fountain. "I told them 'Hey guys, I know it's hard, but just don't look. You got to just turn your head when those girls are out there running around in front of you on the beach.' I know it's tough for them, but I think they're getting it. I also told them that they need to talk with these girls. These girls need to know if they're doing anything to cause their brothers to stumble. And I was so proud of my guys. Later in the week I saw them really spending some time talking to the girls, especially out on the beach during the day. Here they were using up their free time to have some serious spiritual conversation with these girls and let them know how they felt."

So for now, "global warming" is a welcome development amongst the New Hope Youth Group. A number of the teens have expressed their enthusiasm about returning to the beach multiple times during 2008.

"Yeah, we really want to come back again for Spring Break" said 10th-grader Derek Coleman. "I really liked having those spiritual conversations on the beach. Yeah, that was fun."

"It's their call" said Fountain. "We can go other places if they want, but if they like staying right here around town then that's fine with me. I thought the time was really beneficial."


Jerry Boyce said...

Grand Slam!!

Kailash Chand said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Richard said...

I opted not to go public swimming last year because my hormones tend to function the way they were made to when mostly-naked women jiggle around me, so I'm glad not to be on the receiving end of this post.

Unfortunately, it's been my experience that this particualr conviction of mine (and yours, it would seem) seems to really irrate my Christian friends here at TTU that have no problem with co-ed bikini swimming. I reckon it's my legalism showing.

Anyways, I always encourage my sisters in Christ to go to this site:


You'd be surprised at the results.

Good post, though.

My wife of 3 months now loves the beach. She mentioned something about it recently and I said "Yes! I can't wait to be able to stare at hot half naked women!!!"

I got "the look" from her, but my point was made. She might not be so inclined to ask to go now, lol.

Darrin said...

Funny that Destin should come up with this topic, since its beaches are about 15 minutes away from me. It has been a "challenge" for me at times over the years, and I agree with Richard - sometimes the answer is to stay away completely. My kids like the beach, but I usually take them around 5 PM in the summer which is usually pretty safe. I know a brother who said he would just not wear his glasses at the beach with his family, which could work for me too, but I wouldn't see any kids drowning either! I'm glad my teenage son isn't interested in the beach - it's the media I need to watch with him!

Unknown said...

*sigh* This one hits close to home for me. At our last church, we worked with the youth group and they always went on a beach trip every summer. I suggested that maybe it would better if we went on a missions trip or something, but that idea got shot down. The beach trip ended up being horrible (for me anyway). The girls were mostly naked and the boys kept sneaking off with the girls to make out. And the youth pastor did nothing. The assistant pastor's wife was there, and she actually encouraged her 14 year old daughter to roll around on the beach, mostly undressed, with her 18 year old boyfriend.

Now, I'm not against mixed swimming or anything, but I do think there ought to be well-defined rules or at least guidelines for when a Christian youth group goes to the beach together. But most of all, those rules ought to be enforced.

We ended up leaving the church after that event, thouh we had other, bigger reasons for doing so. But it still galls me to think that a church youth group would allow and encourage that kind of behaviour. And anyone who spoke out against it (me) was called a divisive evil-speaker.

Brother Slawson said...

When Jesus sent out the 70 or 72 on a mission trip in Luke 10... He told them not to wear sandals.

Perhaps it was so they would not get the sand in their shoes?