Epic Monday is amazing. It's designed to help students form functional small groups as quickly as possible. They overcome challenges that are impossible to solve without working together. They pick a group name and set of symbols. They talk about their group dynamics. They compete with other groups. They witness beauty. It's a vital start to this group-centered week. Here's what happened:
Group Building Games
The Intergroup Challenge
Next, groups competed against each other to get past a series of physical challenges, logic puzzles, riddles, and quests and arrive at the finish line: lunch. They ran in the heat as staff pelted them with water balloons. They descended amphitheater rings to rescue their mentor. They ran to the top of the parking structure to claim their flag. It was wild, tough fun.
Community and Creativity
In my talk, I called students to prepare themselves to find or create Christian community wherever they go by pointing to the ways they had learned to create community in their small groups. I also called them to become people who are freed from slavish consumerism by imitating God's creativity in service to their communities.
This talk was followed by a breakout workshop on both Community and Creativity with adult attendees in our Leaders Track.
Gamemaking and Flag & Banner Design
Small groups worked together to make three representations of their group: a flag, a banner, and a game that has never existed before. I wish you could have seen their focus and joy! They'll carry their flags with them for the rest of the week: new symbols for what God's going to do.
Dr. Reynolds on Body and Culture
In his Epic Monday talk, Dr. Reynolds emphasized that our bodies are important and that cultural norms aren't a good standard for determining our value. Listen to a rough recording below!
We finished the day with a hike up the Whittier Hills in the long evening light to watch the sunset over the downtown skyscrapers. When we got to our vista, we watched in silence for a good bit, then sang the song we'll sing every day: the Doxology. It was a sublime, quiet ending to an awesome, exhausting day.
Looking ahead to Tuesday
Now that small groups are formed and working well together, the hard work of discussion starts. Tuesday is a dive into practicing some of Wheatstone's top priorities for youth: prayer and discussion. It also includes a talk by me on the importance of discussion and exploration for growing into Christian adulthood, John Mark Reynolds' famous talk, "Beauty in the Mind of God," and an awesome film viewing. Please pray that God would give the students endurance as they start the hard work of seeking truth together through discussion.
Now, to sleep!