Encounter Retreat

Encounter is a three day retreat that aims to connect incoming freshmen with other Christians and churches at the University of Oklahoma. Through dozens of activities and experiences, such as worship time, small group interactions, faith fairs, and competitive games, we hope to build a community of faith that can support students throughout their college careers.

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Retreat Registration

Registration for Encounter Retreat is currently open and will close on July 26, 2020 at 11:59pm.

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If you are in need of a scholarship, you can apply for one here.

Our History

Encounter began in October 2016 as a dream to see freshmen not only find a church that they could call home during their college years but also to build a community of faith that would last a lifetime. After working at summer camps and seeing so many of her friends participate in Texas A&M’s Impact Retreat, founder Audrey Base decided that OU needed something similar on campus. Not even two weeks after Audrey made the decision to pursue this idea, co-founder Chesney Woodchek joined her in the creation of Encounter.

Since that day of saying yes to a crazy idea, Encounter took off in ways that no one could have ever imagined. By February, a staff of 80 people was formed. While the staff may have differed in where they went to church or how their ministry was set up, they were all united under one common goal: to connect freshmen to the local church and to the Christian community at OU. Throughout the entire process, everyone involved was blown away with how faithful the Lord has been to qualify the unqualified and to bring this vision into existence.

2017

There has been no doubt that the Lord has provided for this conference and has been answering prayer after prayer on this long journey. Our first conference was held at Wildwood Community Church and had over 50 freshmen in attendance. Over a weekend of worship, devotion, community building, and fun, we saw the Lord work in wondrous ways! We also had 16 local churches and ministries come out and show freshmen how to get plugged in to the Christian community in Norman.

2018

The second year of Encounter was also a huge success in connecting the OU class of 2022 with the local Christian community! While the inaugural Encounter conference accomplished its goals and more, the executive staff decided that some changes needed to be made. So, with the Lord at the steering wheel, Encounter transformed the retreat into a three-day, overnight experience in the middle of summer which was something that had never been attempted before. With these major structural changes underway, we didn't know whether the students would show up or not. We just prayed that the Lord would make it happen.

The results were incredible. Dozens of incoming students attended the conference and established a campus-changing community of faith and friendship.

2019

The 2019 session of Encounter was a truly vital year for the entire organization, so much so that our theme for the year was announced as "Foundations" in February of 2019. The entire executive team and staff poured so much of themselves into the campers that it established a close-knit family that truly made the transition into college a journey centered on the love of Christ. From there, campers could begin to place the building blocks of their college careers upon the foundation of Jesus and the Christian community in Norman.

In 2019, we also saw the revival of the Faith Fair as an integral part of Encounter. With over 15 quality ministries participating, including the Christian Greek community for the first time, opportunities for freshmen to connect to other Christians in Norman have never been brighter.

Powerful moments of faith and love were displayed during the 2019 session. The Lord has done some amazing things through Encounter and we cannot wait to see what's in store for 2020 and the incoming freshmen who will soon call OU home.

Our Beliefs

The Bible

We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that it is true and reliable and that it is the complete revelation of God’s will for the salvation of man. We believe it is the final authority for our Christian faith and how we should live our lives. [2 Timothy 3:16, Matthew 5:18, Hebrews 1:1-3]

Man

We believe that man was originally good, made in the image of God, but willingly fell into sin which brought evil and death (both physical and spiritual) into this world. [Genesis 1:26-31, Ephesians 2: 1-10]

God

We believe that there is One True God who is existing in three persons…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [Genesis 1:26, Matthew 3:16-17, Psalm 139]

Jesus Christ

We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross to provide for man’s redemption. We believe in His bodily resurrection and ascension to heaven, His present ministry of interceding for us, and His return to earth in power and glory. [2 Corinthians 12:13, John 1:1, 14, 20:28]

Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is part of the Holy Trinity and that He performs the miracle of new birth in a new believer, indwells him and allows him to live a godly life. [1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 12:13]

Salvation

We believe that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. Christ, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins so that God could forgive sinners without compromising on his own Holy and perfect standards. [Ephesians 2:8-9, Isaiah 53:6, Romans 2:24-26, Hebrews 10:1-4]

Testimonials

"Going into college, my biggest priority was finding a Christian community... Encounter immediately connected me with a great group of students that I could go to for anything."

Emily, 2018 Camper

"Encounter was an amazing experience that got me connected with friends I still have to this day. I was able to see what all the churches in the area had to offer and found the best fit for me."

Matt, 2017 Camper

"Encounter gave me friends that not only helped me with the new beginnings of college, but that helped me continue to grow in Christ."

Gracie, 2018 Camper

Marketing Materials

Are you a church or individual that needs more info on Encounter? No problem! Here are some materials that you can use yourself or share with others!

Encounter Brochure

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Encounter Flier

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Faith Fair

Encounter's main goal is to connect incoming freshmen with the community of faith on OU's campus and in the city of Norman.

Our main avenue through which we accomplish this goal is our faith fair which is held during the retreat. Below are our church and ministry partners who participated in this year's fair. Read a little bit about them and if they interest you, visit their website!

OU FCA is an on-campus ministry where athletes AND non-athletes are able to come and be in fellowship with their fellow athletes and peers in pursuit of growing a relationship in Christ. Our mission is to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes on our campus. Although we are a ministry geared towards athletes, we welcome and encourage ALL OU STUDENTS TO ATTEND!

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RUF at OU is a community of students centered on the story of God's love for the world in the person of Jesus. As we are being shaped by the love of Jesus, we are growing in our love for God, our neighbors, and the world as we seek to serve our campus and community. Although we are a Christian ministry (specifically a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America), students from all religious (or non-religious) backgrounds are processing together who Jesus is and what he means for their lives.

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Wildwood College Life is for students following Jesus together for the glory of God. We help to accomplish this by connecting college students to the multi-generational church, teaching the Truth of God's Word, and doing life together in small groups.

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Our desire is for you to worship the Lord, fellowship with others in the Body of Christ, be challenged from God's Word and leave CHANGED! We pray you feel welcomed and loved, and that you will see the unity in the fellowship of this great church. FBCN is a church that loves the Lord and His Word and desires to reach people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. At FBCN, we take the Great Commission very serious and desire to make disciples and not just converts. So, if you want to grow in Christ and reach others with the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, we invite you to come join the excitement at FBCN. We look forward to visiting with you and getting to know you more in the coming days. May God richly bless you as you faithfully serve Him! Service times: Sunday: 8:15am, 11am, 6pm Sunday School: 9:45 - 10:45

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We are a Christian sorority whose focus is on glorifying God and making His name great on campus. We are big into sisterhood and involvement on campus.

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Frontline Church exists to multiply gospel communities that love God, love people, and push back darkness.

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InterVarsity is a vibrant campus ministry that establishes and advances witnessing communities of students and faculty.

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As we strive to Change Lives That Change the World, we want to provide a great place for college aged students (18-25) to grow in faith as well as face questions they may have.

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The Wesley’s mission is to be and make disciples of Jesus on OU’s campus. We are a diverse ministry that offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to grow in their faith. Our hope and prayer is to empower and equip students daily to be committed followers of Jesus. We provide a warm and welcoming community for students to find a home away from home. Our weekly worship service is on Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm with a free dinner before at 7:30.

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Beta Upsilon Chi’s purpose is establishing brotherhood and unity among outstanding college men, who have a shared connection through Jesus Christ. We work to create a strong community and give members a place in OU's community, where they have the opportunity to get involved in campus activities such as USing, Homecoming, Scandals, Soonerthon, and The Big Event, as well as connect with other members of the Greek system (sororities and fraternities).

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We are a local church that gathers on Sunday mornings (10:30am) and throughout the week in Missional Communities. We seek to glorify God by leading others to find freedom and joy in Jesus.

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Our mission is to lead each generation to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ.

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Life.Church wants to make a lasting difference in your life, in our community, and in the world. Our mission is to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ. That's how we're able to make a difference, and it's the driving force behind everything we do.

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We are a traditional southern baptist church that exists to love God, love people, and make disciples.

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We desire to see college students growing in Christ, involved in community, and living life on purpose with the Lord! Come join us on Sunday mornings and for lifegroups throughout the week! We would love to have you.

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Interested in Joining?

Email us to sign up for a booth at our faith fair!

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Support Encounter Retreat

We would ask that your first and foremost contribution would be prayer for the retreat and the leadership team who are devoting their time and effort to starting Encounter Retreat. In addition, spreading the word to incoming freshmen and your local church is a great help to us!

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