More than 150 BJU students and faculty members attended the seventh annual seminary retreat at the Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center on Jan. 18 and 19. The retreat provided the group with a break from busy schedules to focus deeply on God’s Word.
Between the funny skits, giant swing drops and hikes to the water falls, ministers of the Gospel and those in training developed a greater appreciation, love and understanding of God’s Word through focused preaching and personal meditation.
The retreat’s theme, “The All-Sufficient Word,” encompassed several aspects of approaching the Scriptures. Dr. Steve Hankins, dean of the BJU Seminary and Graduate School of Religion, chose the theme because of its significance in the gospel ministry.
The retreat consisted of four services with three follow-up question and answer sessions. Each service addressed different ways believers and ministers of the Gospel approach the Bible. Dr. Mark Minnick preached on loving the Word, Dr. Ken Casillas on applying the Word, Dr. Layton Talbert on interpreting the Word and Dr. Gary Reimers on preaching the Word.
Seminary student Rob Luff said each service was beneficial for him. “My favorite one was loving the all-sufficient Word,” he said. “Before I can teach it, preach it or interpret it, I need to be in love with God and with His Word.”
Hankins facilitated the question-and- answer sessions, directing the questions to a panel of 15 seminary faculty members. The questions posed by Hankins focused on the topics discussed in the services. The audience was able to ask follow-up questions in response to the panel’s discussions.
Hankins said some of the topics addressed included practical ways to study the Bible and memorize Scripture as well as common misapplications and misinterpretations of the Word.
Luff said one of the greatest benefits from the retreat was the question-and-answer time. “I really like how we were able to pick the seminary faculty’s brains about devotional issues,” he said.
For the first time, the retreat was open to second semester juniors and seniors. Hankins said he wanted to introduce undergraduate students to the opportunities available in seminary post-graduate study.
Junior Bible major Nathan Dupea attended the retreat hoping to get a feel for the heartbeat of ministry. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to interact with those in seminary, both the professors and students,” he said.
According to Hankins, one of the objectives of the seminary retreat is for the faculty members to mentor their students. “The retreat is a time for the faculty and students to relax and get to know each other better,” he said. “It follows the Christ-discipling model.”
“The retreat didn’t feel academic,” Dupea said. “It felt relational.” He said the weekend inspired him to be faithful to God and to diligently study the Word.
Senior humanities major Lindsay Barlow said watching the examples set by the seminary faculty prods her to seek after God as they do. “I took away from the weekend that I need to be permeated by the Word,” she said. “It will change the way I think, talk and live.”