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You are the voice. We are the echo.
The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
Christian Ministries Retreat - Spring 2024-Planning team - Olivia Green.jpg

Christian Ministry retreat welcomes all students

Retreat explores calling, spiritual gifts

Open to majors and non-majors alike, this semester’s Christian ministries’ retreat dove deep into what it means to be called by God.

Threaded throughout the event, this theme is hinted at even in the retreat’s title, “From Now On,” which is drawn from Luke 5:10 and its description of the calling of Peter. 

Yet Mitch McGeath, a junior Christian ministries major and an organizer and speaker of the retreat, noted the event wasn’t focused on a call to vocational ministry alone. 

“Calling is not just a Christian ministries thing,” McGeath said. “If you're a disciple of Jesus, you're called to something.”

That idea of calling is one of the reasons why the retreat was so important to McGeath. 

“From Now On” served as a way to not only reach out to the broader Taylor community, but also to welcome in new freshmen to the major. It offered a space for discernment and support for those struggling in their calling, something McGeath personally related to.

“I didn't feel very supported going into ministry, by my family, as a unit,” McGeath said. “And so, there was a lot of murky waters as to what it looked like to [not only] pursue a calling to ministry but also a calling even to go to Christian school.”

Understanding how others related to that doubt led McGeath to share his experience as part of the retreat’s teaching. But the role of teacher wasn’t the only hat he wore in preparation for the event.

Organized by students in the CMI 352 Program and Curriculum Development course, McGeath and eight other upperclassmen determined the finances and logistics of the retreat.

In some ways, they learned as much as their participants.

“There is a lot that goes into a one day retreat,” junior Christian ministries major Adam Wood said. “Having a team of eight people working on it is a lifesaver.”

As an evaluator for the retreat, one of Wood’s goals is to determine what went right about the retreat — but also to notice what went wrong.

To help the retreat flourish, Professor Phil Collins, department chair of the Bible, Christian ministries, philosophy and intercultural studies majors as well as the professor for the Program and Curriculum Development course, keeps a book of past retreat’s successes and growth areas.

“Most Taylor students have been on a number of retreats, but they don't tend to have been the ones who have run the whole thing,” Collins said. “I think they're surprised, but when it's all said and done, they're like, ‘Wow, that was a lot of work.’ [There’s a] big difference between eating a meal and thinking of buying for and preparing and serving a meal.”

Organization is its own form of ministry, a gift both Wood and McGeath found incredibly valuable in the planning process.

At the same time, it’s important not to lose the ministry in the details. In retreats especially, Collins noted the spiritual impact his students can offer. In just a six-hour timeframe, he explained there’s a huge potential for spiritual growth.

“We'll get a semester's worth of relationships and contacts,” Collins said. “God just uses those times in a special way.”

More than lunch line organization or transportation logistics, that spiritual transformation was at the center of every aspect of the retreat. 

It’s something each of the event’s organizers hopes will go beyond a one-day event to become something attendants will carry with them.

“It's being able to almost instill a vision in other people,” Wood said. “[The retreat is] just kind of instilling a desire to keep learning.”

It’s about chasing after God’s call from now on, diving deep into the full breadth of his gifts.