By Jennifer Deibel
On a crisp Friday evening in February, 520 middle- and high-school students and leaders from 28 Southern Baptist churches from every corner of the state descended upon Camp Pinerock in Prescott for the seventh annual WinterFresh retreat.
This year’s theme, Fearless, focused not only on boldly sharing Christ with others, but also doing whatever Christ calls us to do without fear. The weekend included small-group discussion times, numerous games and even an ice cream sundae bar featuring bacon-covered Oreos.
However, the highlights of WinterFresh were the corporate worship times that featured the music of The Benjamin Hunter Band out of Las Vegas, Nev., and messages from Runks, a dynamic speaker and evangelist from Lubbock, Texas.
“WinterFresh gets students away from the noise of normal life to a place where they can hear from the Lord,” said T.J. Lewis, student pastor at Village Meadows, Sierra Vista, and a member of Arizona Southern Baptists’ Student Ministries Team.
Designed to be a spiritually transformative environment for youth from around Arizona, emphasis is placed on equipping youth leaders to minister to their students during the weekend. With 33 students making a profession of faith, 41 repenting and re-dedicating their lives to Christ, and a handful of others sensing the call into ministry, it is clear the event is succeeding in the areas of equipping and transformation.
“High value is placed on providing a high-quality, purpose-driven event for churches that may not be able to afford other events of this caliber,” said Curt Blocker, Student Ministries Team leader.
WinterFresh, which took place Feb. 12-14, is planned and hosted by the Student Ministries Team. The team also provides youth ministry training, coaching and resources for Arizona Southern Baptist leaders and churches.
The next statewide youth event will be the popular Zona Camp, planned by the Zona Team and held on the campus of California Baptist University.