By Jenny Calsyn
We had our Fall Retreat during the second weekend of October. As a staff, we prayed for 50 students. God really challenged our hearts when we were a week out and had 35. He helped us to remember that the number of students we have isn’t up to us – it’s about how many God gives us to steward. It was a reminder that it’s not about numbers. It was sweet to have Him do that in our hearts but then get to see 50 students join us! It was so fun to see students buy into community whether it was around the bonfire, during worship, dancing together or in their connection groups.
Over the retreat, we had our pastor Ryan Hill speak. He talked about how as a society we have so much pride and are constantly trying to build up our ego. It was awesome to see how God worked in the students to remind them (and us) of how broken we are and how much we need the gospel. Students had the opportunity to bond with their connection groups and with students from the other schools in Cedar Rapids.
We are so excited to see what the retreat has done in the students that came throughout this next month. It is usually a turning point in many of their lives each semester.
As we’ve been reaching out to a new campus, God has been bringing in students from all kinds of backgrounds and situations.
One student who’s been connecting with Salt is Jake. Jake has grown up around Christianity and knows a lot of the right answers, but those answers haven’t taken hold of his life and actions until more recently. He’s particularly struggled with relationships – both relating to women with flirting, and coming off too intensely with women he’s interested in.
This struggle has cost him some leadership opportunities with past summer camps and church groups.
Jake came to his connection group leader after campus safety officers came to his dorm door in response to complaints from a girl who felt like Jake was following her.
He was shocked and confused, but God used this as a wakeup call for him to pursue real accountability, discipleship, and community. Jake and his connection group leader met with me, and we challenged him to start looking at what he was trying to get out of relationships – what was the root?
This led to a great conversation about finding real satisfaction in Christ and letting our community help us live out our identities in wisdom. Later that week Jake was already asking his connection group leader and me to help him process what to do about a girl he had started talking to. We got to challenge him to fight for radical growth, leading himself in these areas where he knows he needs growth before trying to lead another person.
Praise God He’s getting ahold of Jake’s life and moving the truth Jake knows from his head to actions.