Encounter 2014: Change Agents in the World


As Christians we are called to be Change Agents in the world around us. Christ transforms us through sanctifying grace, changing us from the inside out. When we live out our faith, we have the potential and the power to change the world around us, setting in motion a ripple effect of positive change in our homes, schools, and communities.

Encounter, set for Nov. 14-16 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, is a three-day weekend retreat designed to help students in 6th-12th grades encounter God in their own individual ways. The retreat will offer passionate worship, relevant Bible study and opportunities to strengthen bonds within church groups around the conference.

Click here for more information and to register online.
“The theme for every teenager’s life is change,” said Suzanne Akins, event coordinator. “If we can build on that and use this time in their lives to show them how powerful change can be if truly from Christ, they will be the greatest influencers in our churches, our communities and our world. I am honored to help provide an environment, away from distractions of school and normal life, where teens will have the opportunity to experience the love and sacrifice of Jesus.”

Retreat speaker Brandon Rushin brings a heartfelt depth and honesty of life and faith through the sharing of his testimony and the lessons he's learned while growing up in the spotlight of television and movies. His heart for Christ spills out in his messages and in his off-stage interactions with students. Brandon acknowledges the change that Christ has brought about in his own life and wants others to experience that same life-change.

Justin Crenshaw and The Solomon's Porch Band of Valdosta First United Methodist Church will lead worship throughout the Encounter weekend. Justin has been leading worship for more than 15 years and is no stranger to conference youth retreats. Their music will speak to the hearts of youth and adults in a relevant way while allowing opportunities to worship in unique ways.
“Hey Ya!,” one of Brandon Rushin's famous characters, will delight the audience as the loud and boisterous, high energy, interactive emcee. Hey Ya! has more than a decade of experience entertaining children and youth and brings his contagious, dynamic personality to each group. Hey Ya! will leave the youth rolling with laughter and singing his theme song for weeks to come.

Students and counselors will take part in Mission: Encounter during Saturday afternoon’s free time. Churches will have the opportunity to register for a one-and-a-half hour shift that will include packaging meals for Stop Hunger Now, a global humanitarian aid organization seeking to end world hunger one meal at a time. Each meal will contain a vitamin packet and a scoop each of rice, soy, flour and dehydrated vegetables, and 35 to 40 volunteers can package 10,000 meals in 2 hours. Imagine what hundreds of Encounter students will be able to package in two hours! Click here to sign up for a Stop Hunger Now shift.

On Saturday night, multiple venues will allow youth to walk about, sampling different styles of late-night entertainment. From the serene coffee house to an open mic showcase to a spirited music event where students can cut a rug, there will be no shortage of late-night entertainment.

Encounter is a Safe Sanctuaries compliant event requiring every adult chaperone to be Safe Sanctuaries certified. A signed Safe Sanctuaries form must be returned by the group leader to complete registration. Click here to download or print the form.

The cost is $130 per person, which includes lodging, meals, insurance and a t-shirt. The deadline for registration is Nov. 7 and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Online registration by church groups is recommended. Visit www.sgaumc.org/encounter for more information.