Encounter began in October 2016 as a dream to see freshmen not only find a church that they could call home during their college years but also to build a community of faith that would last a lifetime. After working at summer camps and seeing so many of her friends participate in Texas A&M’s Impact Retreat, founder Audrey Base decided that OU needed something similar on campus. Not even two weeks after Audrey made the decision to pursue this idea, co-founder Chesney Woodchek joined her in the creation of Encounter.
Since that day of saying yes to a crazy idea, Encounter took off in ways that no one could have ever imagined. By February, a staff of 80 people was formed. While the staff may have differed in where they went to church or how their ministry was set up, they were all united under one common goal: to connect freshmen to the local church and to the Christian community at OU. Throughout the entire process, everyone involved was blown away with how faithful the Lord has been to qualify the unqualified and to bring this vision into existence.
There has been no doubt that the Lord has provided for this conference and has been answering prayer after prayer on this long journey. Our first conference was held at Wildwood Community Church and had over 50 freshmen in attendance. Over a weekend of worship, devotion, community building, and fun, we saw the Lord work in wondrous ways! We also had 16 local churches and ministries come out and show freshmen how to get plugged in to the Christian community in Norman.
The second year of Encounter was also a huge success in connecting the OU class of 2022 with the local Christian community! While the inaugural Encounter conference accomplished its goals and more, the executive staff decided that some changes needed to be made. So, with the Lord at the steering wheel, Encounter transformed the retreat into a three-day, overnight experience in the middle of summer which was something that had never been attempted before. With these major structural changes underway, we didn't know whether the students would show up or not. We just prayed that the Lord would make it happen.
The results were incredible. Dozens of incoming students attended the conference and established a campus-changing community of faith and friendship.
The 2019 session of Encounter was a truly vital year for the entire organization, so much so that our theme for the year was announced as "Foundations" in February of 2019. The entire executive team and staff poured so much of themselves into the campers that it established a close-knit family that truly made the transition into college a journey centered on the love of Christ. From there, campers could begin to place the building blocks of their college careers upon the foundation of Jesus and the Christian community in Norman.
In 2019, we also saw the revival of the Faith Fair as an integral part of Encounter. With over 15 quality ministries participating, including the Christian Greek community for the first time, opportunities for freshmen to connect to other Christians in Norman have never been brighter.
Powerful moments of faith and love were displayed during the 2019 session. The Lord has done some amazing things through Encounter and we cannot wait to see what's in store for 2020 and the incoming freshmen who will soon call OU home.
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?
ENCOUNTER 2019 REVIEW
We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that it is true and reliable and that it is the complete revelation of God’s will for the salvation of man. We believe it is the final authority for our Christian faith and how we should live our lives. [2 Timothy 3:16, Matthew 5:18, Hebrews 1:1-3]
We believe that man was originally good, made in the image of God, but willingly fell into sin which brought evil and death (both physical and spiritual) into this world. [Genesis 1:26-31, Ephesians 2: 1-10]
We believe that there is One True God who is existing in three persons…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
[Genesis 1:26, Matthew 3:16-17, Psalm 139]
We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross to provide for man’s redemption. We believe in His bodily resurrection and ascension to heaven, His present ministry of interceding for us, and His return to earth in power and glory.
[2 Corinthians 12:13, John 1:1, 14, 20:28]
We believe that the Holy Spirit is part of the Holy Trinity and that He performs the miracle of new birth in a new believer, indwells him and allows him to live a godly life
[1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 12:13]
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