Discovery 2018


What is Discovery?

Discovery is a youth retreat centered on middle school youth with the purpose of showing them God’s love through our church, the scripture, and life’s celebrations. Spanning from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, the middle school youth will participate in and grow from a variety of social, emotional, and spiritual activities such as Disciple Groups, high school talks, Forgiveness Service, Discovery Prayer Service, a fun break, meals, and Discovery Sunday services.


When?  February 2 -4, 2018   Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

How much?  

$45 early bird (by Dec. 10)

$60 regular (by Jan. 15)

$70 last minute (subject to Host Home availability)


Middle School Registration Form

High School Registration Form

Adult Volunteer Registration Form


How Can I Help?

There are so many important roles in Discovery. See what role you can serve in this Discovery weekend!

  • Children: attend Discovery Prayer Service and Discovery Sunday service, donate supplies, write letters, pray
  • High School Youth: Disciple Group Leaders, Behind the Scenes Crew, attend Discovery Prayer Service and Discovery Sunday Service, pray
  • Adults: host home, donate supplies, Disciple Group Leader, prayer vigil sign-up, cook, attend Discovery Prayer Service and Sunday Discovery services, monetary donations, write letters, pray




The weekend theme is “Discover God’s Love through the Church.” This weekend is about sharing in the friendship and forgiveness of Christ who loves us for who we are and calls us to do the same for one another. Through the church—not the just the place but the people—we can discover God’s love and the joy of living in it, and we can be those people through whom the world discovers God’s love.

Friday’s theme is “Discover God’s Love.” Middle schoolers arrive at 7:00 p.m., enjoy snacks and fun before settling in for the first Talk of the weekend, forming their Disciple Groups, and meeting their host homes.

Saturday’s theme is “Discover the Friendship and Forgiveness of Christ.”  The middle schoolers get breakfast at their host homes before arriving and learning about the friendship of Christ and about the ways people label one another. Disciple Groups focus on the day’s talks and lessons.  Saturday afternoon’s Brokenness and Forgiveness Service is a powerful time as each young person
experiences a sign of God’s grace that washes away sins and heals hurts.

On Saturday evening, the congregation, family members, and friends are all invited to attend the Prayer Service. Many youth consider this a highlight of the weekend as family members pray and light a candle for each young person followed by a celebration.

Sunday’s theme is “Discover the Fellowship and Fruit of the Spirit.” On Sunday morning, weekend participants worship with the larger church family. After program evaluations are completed and letters of affirmation are distributed to the youth, the weekend concludes with an Open Mic and Commitment Service. Middle schoolers are invited to share what they have discovered about God during the weekend.

Members of the church family, especially parents and friends of the youth participants, are asked to pray for the upcoming Discovery Weekend and, if possible, to volunteer. For more information, please contact Rev. Jenifer Swindell or Shelley Foley.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Discovery Weekend? Discovery is a powerful weekend of renewal and spiritual formation for middle school and high school students. The high school students are trained to be the leaders alongside adult volunteers. They are trained to lead the middle school students to a deeper relationship with Christ, to mentor, share their faith, lead disciple groups, and sing and worship together. Discovery is a weekend for the entire Church to support our youth and participate in the weekend through serving on the team, praying, providing meals/snacks and gifts and sharing in God’s love.

Where is Discovery held?  Most of the weekend will be held at Sunrise United Methodist Church, in the Sanctuary and classrooms.  The Saturday afternoon break will be off-campus, and participants stay in groups overnight at host homes.

What happens at Discovery? Throughout the weekend a series of talks are presented by youth on the basics of God’s love, the joy and forgiveness of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The presentation of key talks by youth using personal life experiences is intended to offer Christ’s message to attending middle schoolers on a level they can understand, and to answer many of the faith questions youth struggle with daily. Each talk is a critical building block in the creation of the overall weekend theme. The entire series of talks is given in a sequence that is intended to guide participants by opening an avenue of discussions to help them verbalize and internalize their faith questions in a safe environment and hopefully lead to a renewed or new relationship with Christ. Through large and small group discussions, meaningful experiences of worship and prayer, new friendships and laughter, participants learn about the rich connection between faith and the challenges of daily life. There’s also plenty of music, wacky games, hilarious skits, yummy food, free time, and a party on Saturday night!

What’s the Prayer Service? On Saturday evening of Discovery Weekend, ALL are invited to attend a Prayer Service. The Prayer Service on Saturday night is for all the youth families, friends, community and Church members to gather in a holy time of prayer and praise. Our Prayer Service will take place Saturday, February 3 at 7pm.  Following the Prayer Service, we all come together for a celebration.

Where will we sleep and shower?   Most of our participants will stay at Host Homes.  These are members of the congregation who will house 2-4 Discovery participants, who are usually friends or members of their Youth Group Small Group.  Host homes are Church members who have been at Sunrise for a while and have passed background screenings and Safe Sanctuaries training.  For families for which this can be a concern, families are welcome to “host” their own children to sleep at night, or to become a host home for their child plus a few of their friends for the weekend.  Please talk to Pastor Jen if you have any questions or concerns.  Host homes are one of the best ways to form intergenerational relationships with other Sunrisers that will help strengthen your youth’s faith.

How do I register?   Registration forms are available in the Lobby Gathering Space, Jen’s Mailbox, or online at   There is a small registration fee; please let us know if you need assistance – finances are not a barrier to participation.  

How do I sign-up to volunteer?   Indicate your interest on the registration form or tell Pastor Jen or Shelley Foley.  We will contact you!

Is this Chrysalis or Emmaus for Middle Schoolers?  The model of Discovery Weekend is similar to Emmaus, but it’s geared for youth. Participation in Discovery does not preclude a youth from later participating in Chrysalis or Emmaus.  Discovery is designed as a repeatable event, to be held yearly in the local church.  There are 4 different versions of the Discovery weekend that can be rotated through so a student can experience a similar but different weekend each year they are in Middle School.  

Join us in worship and events this month! Read our specifics for December!