By Noah Jaeger
Photos by Lainee Pegelow
Christian Challenge AZ held its third annual leadership retreat, Propel, April 12-14. Sixty-eight students gathered from all over Arizona to obtain leadership training in Pinetop.
Christian Challenge exists to engage college students with the gospel, develop disciples of Jesus Christ and mobilize servant leaders for the church. Propel represents the value of mobilizing servant leaders, and the retreat serves students by equipping them to reach their campuses with the gospel.
“Our training is really focused on helping students share their faith on campus via gospel appointments and leading their missional communities on campus,” said Brad Schneeflock, Christian Challenge state collegiate strategist.
The focus of the retreat was missional communities, termed as “Challenge communities,” and how to effectively lead them.
“[Challenge Communities] are the outreach arm of Challenge,” said Marc Hill, dampus missionary at Northern Arizona University. “A student may be comfortable coming to a small group on campus before coming to our Challenge house for worship,”
Students were taught through workshops and small groups over the weekend. Adam Groza, vice president for enrollment and student services and associate professor of philosophy at Gateway Seminary, presented four lectures on how to understand, live out, share and defend the faith.
“It was a group of college ministry leaders who got hold of my life and taught me God’s Word,” Groza told the students. “I am here because of people like you. You guys will have an impact beyond what you will ever know.”
At the previous Propel, the primary focus was gospel appointments — scheduled appointments for sharing the gospel. Trevor Bush, Christian Challenge Phoenix regional catalyst, shared personal stories he had with gospel appointments and invited students to likewise share their experiences.
Every year, the number of students attending Propel grows.
“It’s always exciting to meet the new leaders both in terms of our own campuses, others’ campuses, and new campuses,” said Corbin Jensen, University of Arizona Christian Challenge student leader for four years.
Upcoming leaders witnessed the growing passion Propel has given leaders over the last several years.
“It was just so amazing to see these students so on fire for the Lord,” said Ellie Wendt, first year ASU Downtown student leader. They were worshipping with theirs hearts and souls, she said. “There’s a fire in this group and I could totally see a revival.”
The retreat was assisted by local Pinetop church partners. First Baptist Church of Pinetop supplied residence for the students. Meanwhile, Porter Mountain Fellowship hosted the event, and church members fed the students all weekend.
Propel focused on growing the next generation of servant leaders. The Christian Challenge state team wanted to equip their students well for their mission fields.
“Christian Challenge is committed to mobilizing servant leaders for the church,” Schneeflock said. “We’re not a social club. We’re about accomplishing the Great Commission and expanding the kingdom of God on every campus in Arizona. And that happens through developing missional leaders.”