By Kari Lutes, Features Editor

The start of the school year marks the beginning of retreats at Asbury. Over the weekend of Aug. 19-20, Asbury Student Congress (ASC) held a retreat in the Miller Screening Room. For a period of two days, ASC focused on the importance of leadership on campus.

There was a larger turnout than in the past few years, with around 30 students attending each session. The retreat featured many talks from leaders on campus, including President Sandra Gray. On Saturday morning, VP of Spiritual Life Zach Jeffcoat presented his vision for ‘Equipped for Quality,’ which he shared in chapel on Aug. 24.

“The students who did attend were very engaged with the speakers,” said Student Body President Matthew Jackson. “I believe they were able to learn some helpful tips.”

The large turnout for the retreat also showed the diversity of student leaders on campus.

“Students from across campus make up Asbury Student Congress this year, and each student representative brings a different passion and attitude to the table,” Jackson said.

Anchored Class Secretary Victoria McCreary cites Gray’s address to ASC as the highlight of the retreat.

“She challenged us to embrace the learning process and to set a high standard throughout leadership,” McCreary said of Gray, whose presence showed the priority the president made of pouring into students.

“I hope that for myself and for the students of Asbury, that we may seek rest in the midst of our busy schedules,”

“The biggest takeaway from the retreat,” said McCreary, “was the fact that so many important leaders on campus wanted to take the time out of their busy schedules to pour into us and help us learn how to become better leaders for our campus.”

Retreat in the midst of the school year isn’t just for the members of ASC. Asbury is a campus devoted to the idea of retreat and rest, and it offers many opportunities for this throughout the year. Starting sophomore year, each class is given a chance to get away together, and in February, the men’s and women’s retreat will take place, meaning that every student at Asbury will have a chance to get away with other classmates.

“In a culture that is constantly bombarded with information and ‘stuff,’ retreats create space for students to ‘be still and know that I am God,’” said Jeannie Banter, assistant director for campus ministries. “Retreats help students to reconnect and refocus on who God is, who they are in Him and how they can partner in what He is doing in our midst.”

Banter’s desire for students to refocus and reconnect was met at the ASC retreat, and Jackson hopes the same will happen for other students throughout the year.

“I hope that for myself and for the students of Asbury, that we may seek rest in the midst of our busy schedules,” he said.

McCreary agreed that retreat is key in refocusing during the busyness of classes, especially for student leaders, because it is a reminder that a Christian leader is really a follower of God.

“If we are not reminded why we are doing what we are doing, then will we be serving and leading out of our own strength and not out of the strength that God provides,” McCreary said.