This past weekend, Northwestern students headed to Hidden Acres Christian Center for the annual All Campus Retreat. They left Friday around 5:30 p.m. for a weekend full of worship and a ton of fun and did not return until Sunday around 12:30 p.m. Students were encouraged to use the weekend to grow in their relationships with Christ as well as create new relationships with others.
Over the weekend, the focus centered on “Defining our Identity: Wholeness.” Pastor Kurt Bush led three sessions throughout the weekend and was accompanied by an incredible time of worship led by Gavin Higgins, Jack MacGregor, Ally Ringsby and Lizzy Linser. Pastor Bush’s sessions were focused on identity: who God says you are versus who we default to thinking we are, shame: the voice that tells us lies about who we are and what we are to do and alignment: knowing who we are in Christ and our purpose.
Time was also dedicated to small groups as well as solitude to reflect and dig deeper into those sessions. In these moments, NW students were able to embrace the silence and sit in God’s word while deciphering the personal significance of each sermon and finding ways to apply them to their everyday lives.
“Taking the time out of your day to slow down and sit in stillness can really help relax yourself and your way of life,” said Claire Pierce, a junior elementary education major.
The remaining duration of the weekend was spent hiking, swimming, late-night paddle boating and playing games. A fan favorite was the campus ministry rendition of Capture the Flag known as Capture Mark in the Dark, featuring a multitude of glow sticks. The fun continued around the campfire, where students gathered to enjoy each other’s fellowship, eat some s’mores and worship in song.
The Campus Ministry team worked long and hard to put this weekend together so that students would be able to escape routine and focus on God and themselves. Food, lodging, location, speakers, worship and transportation were all important when it came to planning this year’s All Campus Retreat.
Kristin Brouwer, the director of discipleship, and the Campus Ministry Team had an initial goal for all who attended to grow in their relationship with God and each other, and it seems as though that was accomplished this past weekend. NW Students gave nothing but positive feedback on this weekend away from reality. When asked if they would recommend students to go in the future, there was a clear answer.
“Yes, go,” said Ethan Natelborg, a senior public relations major. “It is a wonderful opportunity to develop friendships, get out of your comfort zone and there is so much opportunity for growth. Take advantage of it.”