A few weekends ago I had the privilege of leading a group of sixth graders on a retreat known as Modgnik. I felt silly when having a conversation a few days later with Dennis Doran, the Fellows Program director at Trinity, that the “Modgnik” is just “Kingdom” spelled backwards. (I hope you were as blown away by that news as I was.) The retreat took place at a Young Life camp called Rockbridge just about 15 minutes outside of Lexington, Virginia. I would be remiss not to say that this camp was absolutely gorgeous. Modgnik was designed as a retreat to provide middle school kids with an opportunity for an amazingly fun weekend, but most importantly, as a place where the Gospel could be presented to them in a clear manner. We spent the weekend playing basketball, a getting scraped up in a crazy game called “octoball,” and blobbing kids into the Rockbridge’s lake. The most important time, however, was spent listening to the Gospel laid out clearly and concisely. On Saturday night, our speaker used the story of the Prodigal Son in Matthew 12 to effectively express to the kids the love the Father has for all people. I got to talk about this parable with a few of the sixth graders later that night. So many people have heard this story, the son asks his father for his inheritance, and then goes off to lead a very dark life. The son finally realizes he could return to his father if only to work for him. We then see the beauty of the father running ridiculously to embrace his son. He brings the son back into his house, and throws him a grand party. Jesus is expressing how much God loves his creation. We also know that the older brother in the story was not too happy about what transpired. Some of the guys I was talking with seemed to agree, saying, “I would be mad.” The sentiment of these sixth graders makes sense. It is a reaction many of us would have. Why is it fair for the son to be treated this way? Why would the father welcome him after all he did? I got to express to them what so quickly came to my mind, what God has spoken into my life through His word and His people: we should rejoice when someone, who does not seem to deserve God, receives Him as savior because I never deserved Him either.
Leading and teaching these kids has forced me to think about and face questions I do not have an answer to sometimes. But in an instance like this, it was another opportunity for God to speak His Gospel into my life as well as preach the Gospel to these young men.
-Luke McCann (Fellows '15)