What is disciple now? Honestly disciple now is a wonderful event, but like with any event you need to plan for the unexpected. Part of this is just because things just happen when you are dealing with teenagers and some of this is because I firmly believe that God wants to move in a mighty way through this weekend and therefore Satan will be one the attack. That is why I believe it is so important that first of all you pray over this event. You, your students, their parents, your leaders, your whole church, anyone you can find, needs to be praying that God would work in a mighty way and that your students would be protected from Satan's attacks. With that prayer though I think we should due our due diligence to plan ahead for some things that might happen so that we have a plan. Granted, these things deal more with teenagers being teenagers than spiritual warfare but I think it is good to be ready for anything.
1. Students needing to leave. -This could be anything from a death in the family to a basketball tournament, but from time to time a student will need to leave for your event and then come back later, or not at all. You need to let students and their parents know that you understand this and be prepared. What we do is have a time away card that the parents must fill out with the place and time of the event and when the student will be returning if they are. We also ask for contact info as well as who they are allowed to leave with. If it is a high school student who can drive then that should be noted. This just protects us and the student. Now, if it is an emergency, obviously we don't make them stop and fill out the card. But we do check with the parents to make sure it is not just a student trying to sneak away and lie to us and their parents.
2. Student getting hurt or sick. - Okay, sometimes things get crazy. Maybe a germ gets passed around or maybe a 6th grade boy decides to furniture surf down the stairs. But when these emergencies happen you need to make sure that you and your host homes are prepared for anything that may occur. You need a plan for where to take students, along with contact info for the parents, and basic medical info in case they cannot be immediately reached and it is an extreme emergency.
3. Legal issues.- So one time we did a photo scavenger hunt and one group was smart and went to the mall. We just did not know that this was not allowed, so security and the police got involved. This taught us an important lesson. For one, remind your students that they represent the church and more importantly Jesus. Also, if you are doing a city wide activity like we did, familiarize yourself with the laws and then share them with your students and leaders. You may even want to give some important people in the community a heads up about what is going to happen as a common courtesy. Finally, if a student breaks a rule or law make sure there are consequences. Do not just laugh it off and send a wrong message to everyone in your group.
Again, anything can happen at one of these retreat weekends so be prepared. These emergencies are few and far between but they do happen. So while you getting ready know that this is simply being prepared and not a reason to worry and not enjoy your event.