Last summer, nine students from CCE’s high school participated in peer-ministry training, led by volunteers from St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Minnesota. Recently, these nine—accompanied by the Lutheran Academy’s pastor Janka Bosáková and school psychologist Denisa Potančoková—gathered for a two-day retreat in a peaceful woodland setting near Martin.
Retreat participants practiced communication, shared their experiences in ministering to their peers, engaged in teambuilding exercises, and discussed important issues. Each component featured a wide variety of activities and games that yielded relaxation and fun.
“I liked when we made prints of our hands and then wrote on our fingers what defines us,” revealed one of the participants, adding that the retreat heightened participants’ ability “to help our fellow man.”
Students enjoyed discussions of the issues common to their age group and appreciated the overall restful yet intellectually invigorating atmosphere of the retreat.
According to School pastor Bosáková, the retreat offered an opportunity for participants to evaluate their body of work for the first half of the school year and plan future Peer Ministry activities.
Reflecting on God’s word and engaging in prayer were primary activities of the weekend retreat, said Pastor Bosáková. “We really wanted to pull students out of their normal routine and give them time for themselves, to be able to share their Peer Ministry knowledge and experience with classmates and friends.”
Pastor Bosáková added that CCE high school’s Peer Ministers have been trained to empathize with fellow students—their peers. They help others cope with problems and take steps to solve them. Peer Ministers, she said, are trained “to be able to advise without offering clichés” or other unhelpful observations.
What Is Peer Ministry?
Statistics show that young people with problems are more likely to seek help from their peers rather than adults. But what happens if a teen doesn’t know how to help? Peer Ministers are trained to be compassionate listeners who can help.
Peer Ministry training encompasses several days of training and focuses on the art of communication, the desire to help others, and a willingness of learn about ourselves and others.
The nine Peer Ministers at CCE’s high school applied last summer to take this training in order to see and hear their peers more clearly. As one participant stated: “Peer ministry has taught us that there are no bad questions, but it is important to know where the answers to our questions lead us.”