Conference is pretty intense.
For countless students, the Milwaukee New Year’s Conference is their first experience doing anything with Campus Outreach beyond a weekly Bible study.
And often times, Conference is when the rubber meets the road.
When, “I am investigating Christianity and this ministry,” transforms into, “I want to be part of this movement to build laborers on the campus for the lost world.”
Glad you asked.
On January 17 and 18, college students from the U of M, St. Thomas, Bethel and Northwestern gathered at Bethlehem’s north site for a retreat. The weekend was designed for any student who loves Jesus and wants to know what to do with the good news of the gospel.
This year, Will Witherington, the regional director of Campus Outreach Lexington, was the keynote speaker.
He began the retreat with the phrase, “Godly leaders having generational impact on a global scale.” His subsequent talks broke this down into three parts: what it means to be a godly leader; what it looks like to have a generational impact; why we should be thinking on a global scale and reaching the nations.
Interspersed throughout the two-day retreat were small-group and campus breakouts. This gave the students a chance to discuss and digest the talks so the information would sink deeper and individuals could begin forming practical applications to take back to campus.
I asked a few St. Thomas students what the most impactful part of the retreat was. Tyler Burda, a junior, said, “I learned that God is both the lion and the lamb. He is both a supreme, omnipotent ruler who controls everything and nothing is out of his grasp. However, he is also the sacrificial lamb who is humble and sent his son to die on the cross for us. This helped fortify my understanding of Jesus and inspires me to go out and share the good news to the world.”
For Alex Bates, a sophomore, Will’s summary phrase – Godly leaders having generational impact on a global scale – continues to stick out as he reflects on the retreat. “That was the most influential part…that’s the vision I want to live up to.”
By God’s grace, that is a vision all of our lives will reflect on the campus and beyond.