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“Hipster Christianity”: Winter Retreat 2011

Every year, Axiom gets together with a bunch of other campus ministries for Winter Retreat, and, every year, it’s amazing!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it there in person this year, but, thankfully, there were plenty of Axiom-ites who were there to fellowship, worship, and soak up some awesome sermons.   And even more thankfully, some of the students who went were kind enough to share their thoughts and experiences (don’t worry, I asked the hard questions, i.e. there’s more than a typical “retreat review” awaiting you).  So, before I lose your attention, here’s what Axiom had to say about this year’s Winter Retreat.

“The Arcadian Way, the main street in Ephesus, was like the modern-day Strip in Las Vegas–it was the main hangout for partiers of all shapes and sizes.  Our speaker, Brian Mills, gave us a tour of the Arcadian Way from the docks to the bathhouses to the temple of Artemis and beyond.  The Christians in Ephesus were constantly surrounded by sin, so they thought they had two options–isolate themselves, or join in the revelry.  The good news is that we don’t have to be extreme, there’s a third way.  Christians can actually be involved in the world without taking part in sin, at least that’s what we learned on Winter Retreat.

The retreat this year was excellent.  Brian Mills did a wonderful job comparing our society to Ephesus and getting us to consider whether we should take part in “Hipster Christianity” or not.  The food (as always) was superb, and everyone enjoyed the games, which included an off-camp race to trade for bigger and better items, starting with a single rubber band.  What made this retreat different for me, though, was how people from different schools really got to know each other.  The people in my own small group bonded instantly, and we got to find out what students outside of the U of I were doing for God through personal questions, group discussions, and a Social Justice Workshop organized by Ben Woods.  Axiom even adopted Brian Glyshaw from ISU, our very own Tyler clone!  Overall, it was an experience that I want to have again.” – Sarah Stef

“The theme this year was all about “Hipster Christianity” and how we need to be ‘unhipped’ from society.  Now, being a hipster myself (HA!), one of the sessions that really spoke out to me was about putting too much value into what we wear and how we wear it.  Conviction. BUT my favorite session was Ben Woods’ talk on missions.  I recently have felt a calling towards service and just having an active faith from God, and just seeing some ways to get involved was awesome.

My favorite part of the retreat as a whole was how close Axiom, as a ministry, got. We stayed up late playing fast uno, made a lot of jokes, played “chicken” on some cinderblocks, tested the 1 inch thick ice to see if it would hold us (don’t worry no one fell in!), and really built community through our talks.  It was awesome not only talking to fellow Axiom-ites, but to other campus ministries as well.  I know Axiom and Encounter really connected and we were able to hang out with them quite a bit.  It was an awesome retreat!” – Tyler Yount

“This year’s Winter Retreat was my first Winter Retreat EVER, so I had no idea what to expect going into it; I just knew that while the Axiomites would be few, the Jesus Lovers (from other campuses) would be many!  It actually seemed to work out to our advantage that we were small, because we were more willing to spread out and get to know others, rather than stay together as a collective unit.  I got to meet so many new (and GREAT) people that were either in my small group, in our worship area, or in our UNO posse.  The games that were planned were “Minute-to-win-it”-esque, which were not only hilariously fun, but also a piece of cake due to Battle of the Sexes ’11 (props to our dudes).  But even the games couldn’t compare to the fellowship that happened over the weekend.  I truly feel like I’m not only deeper in my relationship with Christ from the weekend, but I’m definitely more strongly bonded to my fellow Axiomites as well! Oh…and I have to add that the food was AWESOME!

Aside from the fellowship and funtivities, the message that came with the Winter Retreat was extremely important, especially for the U of I college campus.  The focus was on what “being in the world, but not of it” looks like.  The message was tailored to us in the form of “Hipster Christians”, where he spoke about how the latest fashions, trends, and attitudes fit into the Christian life.  It was great to learn that while the Lord does not want us to immerse ourselves in what the world is doing, He also does not call us to remove ourselves entirely as the Jews did with the Gentiles.  Learning what it is to be a Christian who doesn’t give in to sensual living was an awesome wealth of knowledge that was gained from the Winter Retreat. Be sure to go with me next year!” – Justin Pettit

Thanks so much to Sarah, Tyler, and JP for helping out!

Much love, guys!



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