This article was written by Tyler Hoffpauir, BCM minister at Arkansas State University.
The school year is right around the corner. For churches and Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) hoping to minister to collegians that means a mad dash to finalize plans for the first few weeks or months of the semester. How are we going to reach students? What finishing touches need to be put on welcome week events? How do we reenergize our student leaders and volunteers? Once we’ve reached some students, how do we get them involved with discipleship and mobilize them to share their faith?
The beginning of the semester is the season of outreach and connection, but once the dust settles and your church or staff is low on energy then comes an important shift. We move from outreach and connection to discipling and mobilizing students. The College and Young Leaders Team has partnered with several church leaders to craft a one-day, overnight retreat to help your ministry and your students move into this season of discipleship and mobilization. Here are three good reasons you should consider bringing your students to Fall Retreat October 8-9:
- Fall Retreat locks students into your ministry.
There is something special and unique about the relational and spiritual bonds that form during trips like these. Some non-Christian students exploring Jesus are still on the fence a few months into the semester. This could be the turning point for students who have only been exploring Christianity in your church or ministry. Some Christian students exploring your church or ministry are still on the fence a few months into the semester. On overnight trips, students suddenly feel like they know people better and are a part of the group because relationships are microwaved, and it is a safe space to have spiritual conversation.
- Fall Retreat sharpens your students and widens their world view.
Students will hear from Tom Richter, an exciting and challenging speaker, who pastors in Alabama and has spoken to teenagers and college students across the country. Cory and Stephanie Epps from Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro will lead worship. There will be breakout sessions from leaders across the country. All this is organized to help students be better leaders on their campus. We also have learned from experience that some of the most helpful spiritual conversations happen outside of the programmed schedule of the retreat when students get to interact with peers from colleges across the state. Students will leave with a sense of how God is moving in colleges across Arkansas as well as a challenge to do what they can to be a part of the global mission of God.
- Fall Retreat is little work on you.
Fall retreat is already planned by our team of Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) and church leaders from across the state. Many churches and ministries spend lots of hours and dollars planning their own retreat and booking their own band and speaker. Fall Retreat only requires organizing your registration and transportation. There is also a lot of fellowship time built into the schedule for you to interact with your students. Fall Retreat finishes Saturday night so you can make it home for Sunday responsibilities. With all this the cost of the conference is only $35 per person.
As your church is praying about the best way to reach and disciple collegians and young adults, we hope the ABSC Collegiate Fall Retreat, October 8-9, at Spring Lake Assembly in Lonsdale, Arkansas is an option that will serve you and your students well. We know that you and your students will leave encouraged and equipped. Registration is now open, and you can find more information at myfallretreat.com.