Every fall, Prepare Ministries at Gustavus holds a retreat titled “Passion and Purity.” The multi-denominational Christian campus ministry group hosted college students from all over the Midwest and gathered in Cold Spring, Minnesota for 24 hours of fellowship this past Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25.
“‘Passion and Purity’ is a retreat that Prepare Ministries puts on every fall. It’s where students from multiple campuses come together. We have worship, we have different speakers, prayer, and other fun fellowship events,” Junior Megan Gustafson said.
Twenty Gusties attended the retreat this year and the themes of the retreat are echoed in the title.
“We talk about living a life of passion, passion that’s rooted in Christ, and purity in all sorts of different relationships,” Senior Nick Theisen said.
Sophomore and first time retreat attendee Noah Grothe explained the topics presented in more depth as well as some of the enriching topics that were covered
“My favorite this year was one on freedom from shame through Jesus, by Bill Davis. As for purity, there were various talks on what the Bible said regarding a lifestyle of virtue, as well as a breakout session divided by gender to better equip us as men and women, respectively, against the challenges we face,” Grothe said.
Each year the speakers set the task for students to think about what they can do on their own campus. Gustafson summarizes this challenge in one overarching question.
“What are ways we can spread the love of God on college campuses instead of shutting those conversations down?”
The students who go on the retreat are given the opportunity to grow in their faith in many different ways.
“This year two Gustavus students got baptized at the retreat, which is a really cool experience,” Gustafson said.
Theisen reflected on the value of his involvement.
“I like to go because it’s a real community of depth and there’s a lot of encouragement. It’s an environment that’s very conducive to being vulnerable and open and real with other people,” Theisen said.
While Theisen does refer to the retreat as a “hyped-up sermon,” it is more than that. It is intended to help students grow.
“It’s a good opportunity to step back and ask some of the more challenging questions. It’s a good place to be challenged to the core,” Theisen said.
This retreat gives students a lot to think about in terms of what they can do in their own lives. Gustafson realized the most effective way to spread the love of God is not always the obvious way.
“I think one of the biggest things that I’m bringing back to Gustavus after the retreat is how to better live a life that glorifies God and how to use my actions and my words to bring glory to that. And how sometimes the small things are so much more important. You don’t have to go out to everyone and preach the gospel. You just need to love all people and have an open heart for them.,” Gustafson said.
Grothe shared a similar idea about applying the messages to his life.
“It’s all things in the day to day: in how to be a man of virtue, how to have relationship with God, and how to prepare myself for my future spouse,” Grothe said.
The Passion and Purity retreat is one of many experiences for believers offered by Prepare Ministries. It is a great opportunity to come together with other Christians.
“The conference gave me an opportunity to get away for a while and spend focused quality time with the God that I love, and I got to do it with people that I love. For me, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Grothe said.