Encounter began in 2016 as a dream to connect incoming OU students to churches and ministries at the University of Oklahoma.
After talking with friends who attended Impact Retreat at Texas A&M, founder Audrey Base was inspired to pursue a similar retreat at OU. Audrey and co-founder, Chesney Woodcheck Barker, started meeting with Impact leaders to form a structure for Encounter.
In the fall of 2017, the first Encounter Retreat was held with over 50 freshmen in attendance for a weekend of worship and community building at Wildwood Community Church in Norman. Sixteen ministries and parachurches attended the first conference, and since 2017, Encounter has built relationships with a growing number of ministries and Christian organizations in Norman and the OKC area.
In 2018, Encounter moved the retreat to Sullivant Retreat center for the first overnight, three-day summer retreat experience. Since then, Encounter has continued growing in numbers of campers, staff, and ministry partners, thanks to the generosity of God, the Encounter community, and the Body of Christ in Norman.
In 2019, Encounter officially partnered with TURN Ministries, a non-profit organization which exists to support, develop, and launch campus-based, retreat-style ministries for incoming college students. Through TURN, we have been able to connect with similar ministries at campuses across the nation.
Because of COVID-19, Encounter 2020 was held successfully in an online format, and had a record breaking number of campers in attendance. Although it wasn’t what we expected for the retreat when we started planning it, God moved in the hearts of the campers and staff in incredible ways!
We’re so excited to see what God continues to do with Encounter in the future! We will continue to pray for growth and remain faithful in pursuing incoming students at the University of Oklahoma.
LOVE. CONNECT. EMPOWER.
Encounter is a three day retreat that aims to connect incoming students with churches and ministries at the University of Oklahoma. Through dozens of activities and experiences, such as worship time, small group interactions, faith fairs, and competitive games, we hope to build a community of faith that can support students throughout their college careers. Watch the videos below for just a taste of what we do!
What is Encounter?
We believe that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. Christ, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins so that God could forgive sinners without compromising on his own Holy and perfect standards.
[Ephesians 2:8-9, Isaiah 53:6, Romans 2:24-26, Hebrews 10:1-4]
"Going into college, my biggest priority was finding a Christian community... Encounter immediately connected me with a great group of students that I could go to for anything."
Emily, 2018 Camper
"Encounter was an amazing experience that got me connected with friends I still have to this day. I was able to see what all the churches in the area had to offer and found the best fit for me."
Matt, 2017 Camper
"Encounter gave me friends that not only helped me with the new beginnings of college, but that helped me continue to grow in Christ."
Gracie, 2018 Camper