After being a part of InterVarsity’s Eastern VA area (either as a student or staff) for the last 12 years, I can honestly say that I’ve been to a lot of conferences. And I can honestly say that I’ve grown to know and love weekend conferences and all the ways that the Lord uses them to teach students about Himself.
I know that Friday night differs from Saturday morning which is also dramatically different from Saturday night. Even if every session is laid out in the same format, the “feel” is different – the energy and the emotions that the students have at each day and time changes in specific ways. I have come to expect and love the kinds of things God does at each different part of a conference.
Teaching Students about the Word
For the last 4 years I have directed the Scripture track, which was a blessing and to be truthful, a burden at times. I learned just how many details needed to be planned ahead of time, how much content was needed, and not only how to lead but how to delegate responsibilities to other staff, and help them lead as well.
I talked to students who had never owned a Bible. I conversed with students who were more than skeptical about the Bible’s teachings. And I taught students who knew more Scripture than I did how to read the Word not just with their head, but with their heart.
Changing Things Up
This year marks a change for us as Eastern VA as we moved from a track based conference to a topical conference. Instead of our staff team directing 5 different tracks, we asked 2 former University of Richmond InterVarsity staff, Kevin & Kim Greene, to come speak to all of our students on the topic of sexuality.
The Gospel through the lens of Sexuality
They did a phenomenal job teaching on the Gospel through the lens of sexuality – covering Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration in just one weekend. Each main session was followed by time for students to gather in the same small groups that they attend at school to discuss personal application and pray for each other.
Our students loved the Greene’s and appreciated their wisdom and honesty. It was also great for Eric and I to watch and listen to another ministry couple who are 15 years ahead of us in age and experience!
Art & Prayer
I was also blessed to be able to put together 4 interactive art stations that visually mirrored the Greene’s talks. Most of these stations were located in a prayer room that was available to students all day on Saturday – providing a space for those looking for quiet reflection, time to talk with the Lord, or to respond artistically to the Word.
On Saturday evening, staff provided prayer ministry for students and also hosted 6 breakout sessions on a variety of practical topics pertaining to sexuality.
Singing Our Hearts Out
However, the highlight of the weekend for Eric and I was getting to lead musical worship with 7 other CNU alumni, who are some of the most gifted musicians we have ever worked with. This year we had more students at fall conference than ever before – a whopping 292 – (80 of which were from CNU!) and getting to look out on the crowd and watch them worship was incredibly moving and humbling for us.
Our friend and colleague Lindsay Fauver, who leads with Greek InterVarsity at CNU, took some amazing photos of the weekend. We invite you to look and see Fall Conference through the lens of her camera (in the slideshow below), which captured moments that we could never put into words.
And for those alumni who are wondering – yes, we had Krispy Kreme donuts during chapter time. And yes, 4 students got up to take donuts (signifying a first time or major recommitment to Christ this semester). Oh, the things that God has done!