To kick off the new year, college students and young adults gathered at The Ark (Rainbow Christian Camp) in Converse, IN to spend a weekend together playing games, fellowshipping, worshipping, and sitting under the teaching of several wonderful men that the Lord has blessed His people with.

Our main speaker was Nathan Shaver, who preached through the book of Jude. Entitled “Contending for the Faith in the Household of God,” we learned about remaining alert and diligent to pursue and remember essential truths of the gospel. During our weekend together, protected within the cabin and away from the raging ice and wind, men and women joined together in a fruitful and encouraging time of learning, rest, and worship.

The itinerary left a fair amount of space available for extra time together to play sports and games, sing psalms, have theological discussions and debates (unsurprisingly), or run to the nearest Dollar General to replenish the community snack table. From my experience, and what I could tell of others, most of us took advantage of this time to get to know one another more deeply and to get out some energy with physical activity. I have always wanted to try out pickleball, so I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to do so with my friends in Christ. This time was invaluable to not only get to know members from other congregations around the country, but to grow closer to those from our own home churches as well.

Though such fellowship and play were a great blessing, my favorite part of these conferences is the teaching and subsequent learning that takes place. Nathan delivered four sessions, focusing on the urgency of Jude’s appeal, his solemn reminder from Israel’s past, his words of woe to those of unbelief, and a call to response in mercy. Wonderfully, the mercy, peace, and love that Jude opens his letter with was also earnestly put forth by Nathan to his family in Christ throughout the entire weekend’s passionate teachings. In the strength of God alone, we were encouraged to remain alert and diligent in contending for gospel truths, especially within the Church, where wolves have shown up since the beginning of her installation. In addition to these sessions, we also learned from other men of our denomination about different topics of our choosing. These workshops took place as two sessions, where we could choose to learn about

  • our call to personal relationship with the Lord Jesus or the regulative principle of worship,
  • the joy and peace believers have in the Lord or the awesome beauty and majesty of our God.

Throughout the duration of each workshop, participant engagement was encouraged so that we could both hear and respond to the lessons. 

We were also graciously hosted by the Sycamore RPC nearby, where we worshipped on Sunday morning, shared a homemade meal, and prayed together for all of the churches represented. I found this time particularly encouraging, as we were treated like family by those many of us had never met previously. Being on the receiving end of hospitality from brothers and sisters in Christ was in and of itself a wonderful blessing.

This conference certainly deepened my friendship with the Lord and His people. I cannot speak for others, but I do hope and imagine that the same is also true for them. The wonderful privilege of sitting under hours of sound biblical teaching with a group of brothers and sisters at a similar stage of life was both unifying and edifying!

Thanks to Chaylen Andolino for writing this article. Chaylen (Chay) is a member of the RP church of Lafayette, IN. She moved to the area to complete her graduate studies, and now works at Purdue’s campus as a postdoctoral researcher. In addition to studying the role of dysregulated breast cancer metabolism, she is passionate about sharing the good news of Christ with those she has the opportunity to minister to, including the women at the Tippecanoe County Jail. In her free time, she enjoys reading, working out, spending time outside, and relaxing in the comfort of her apartment with her beloved cat, Mister Kijj. Feel free to reach out to her with any questions or comments regarding the article, or anything else! She is grateful to have such a wonderful church community within the RP denomination, near and far😊 Email: candolin@purdue.edu

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