Fall Retreat

It has been one hectic start to the school year. I have been running around a lot from campus to campus...which will explain my lack of posts. In campus ministry we have what we call "cycles of momentum" to the school year. The beginning of the fall semester is our busiest, craziest, and least routine schedule. We want to be on campus as much as possible helping students move in, setting up survey tables, giving things away, hosting events like cookouts, meeting freshman, following up with contacts, and going to meetings. Our goal during this period is to talk to as many people as possible, share the Gospel frequently, cast vision for the ministry, and get a new group of freshman involved. This cycle ends after we have our annual fall retreat. We are one of the only catalytic (think multiple campuses folks) teams to host our own retreat...which we value because it is a great way for students from campuses that normally don't get to spend time together to get to know one another. We feel that if we can get students who have come to a weekly meeting to go to this conference, then they will stay committed to the ministry, begin growing in their relationship with the Lord, and be exposed to the bigger vision of what Cru is about.
Since we host the conference ourselves, fall retreat is not a refreshing vacation for us staff. Our team all divided up the tasks in order to tackle the retreat. My job seems simple enough: the main meeting. However, there is a good bit of stuff to do with that...enough to keep me working the whole weekend, miss out on sleep, and not spend as much time as I would like bonding with students. My first task is to find someone to be our feature speaker...someone who will lead everyone in the Word, relate to college students, and passionately cast our Win, Build, Send vision. Next, I need to round up an emcee...a student to bring energy, games, cast vision, make announcements, and transition the flow of the meetings. Then, I need to recruit a band to lead worship and set the tone of our meetings. I try to get students from all of our campuses to go up front and fill these roles, so that they all feel involved and have a personal connection with the meetings. My next task is figuring out how to promote other conferences and mission trips (summer projects) during the meetings...if we will have testimonies, interviews, and/or videos. Only after all of this is in place, do I sit down and actually plan each meeting's minutes (followed by telling everyone the details they need to know to do their jobs well). I have to get the emcee, band, and speaker's powerpoints and make sure everything looks good and will run smoothly. Also included in this job description is ambiance for the meeting area, running powerpoint, lights, and sound for everything. I have to be flexible enough to adjust to things right before or during the meeting and make it flow right and come off smoothly. I need to do all of this by faith in a spirit of dependence on God. Fortunately, I had a much better idea of what to do and how to run things with last year's experience under my belt. So this year, it all came off pretty smoothly, PTL!!

The conference turned out to be a great time for everyone to connect, learn, grow, get a sweet t-shirt, play games, and have a dance through the decades party. We ended up having about 75 students (90 people total) from 5 different campuses show up. Fall Retreat always ends up being hard work, but very rewarding as we see how God is working across the Triad campuses and in individual lives. We hope to build off the momentum from Fall Retreat in our next cycle of campus time and continue to trust God to turn lost students into Christ-centered laborers.