For many Grace Brethren middle school and high school students, “intense” is a word that could sum up their experience at Kalahari Retreat during the last weekend of January.
What’s Kalahari retreat all about, you ask?
Major fun. Also, major connection with Jesus. When the students were not zipping down one of the giant water slides in the second largest water park in the continent, playing crazy midnight games, eating stacks of pizza, or watching the international trampoline champions perform, the students were digging deep into God’s Word, listening to dynamic speakers and participating in intensive youth group breakout sessions.
And all of that packed into a single weekend.
For the last 10 years, student ministries from all over Ohio and Indiana have teamed up to plan and execute the Kalahari Retreat, held at the Kalahari Retreat Center in Sandusky, Ohio.
This year, Kalahari students got the full experience, experiencing dynamic worship by Exodus, Liberty University’s worship band, and hearing from speaker Jason Laird, students executive pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas (Robert Morris, lead pastor).
This year boasted students from 27 churches and over 2,000 students in attendance. Around 350 made first time decisions to follow Jesus, and 100 students rededicated their lives to Christ.
“When we step out in faith, God will show up in power,” Laird stressed during the last session on Sunday morning, preaching from 1 Samuel 14 where Jonathan and his armor-bearer steal into the Philistine camp with nothing but a sword and the declaration, “Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf.”
“Faith is what honors God the most.”
“It is so awesome to see God work in so many kids’ lives in just a few short days,” said Zach Pinkerton, one of the coordinators of the event and young adult and middle school pastor at Grace Community Church in Fremont, Ohio (Kevin Pinkerton, lead pastor). “Every year I love to watch God use the work of a few youth pastors from different Grace Brethren churches to impact these students. There really isn’t anything like it within our fellowship of Grace Brethren churches.”
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.