As soon as I step out of the car and onto the grounds Cedar Campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I take in the fresh air, the wooded landscape, and the palpable change of pace from campus life. Every year, fresh off of final exams, students from my UW-Madison chapter journey up to Cedar Campus – one of four InterVarsity camps — for Chapter FOCUS Week (CFW), a week-long program of leadership training, planning, worship, and fellowship.
For me and many other students, CFW is one of the highlights of the year, a time to grow in friendships and in relationship with God. CFW provides a break from campus life — where late-night studying, dorms, and meal plans become a distant memory — and students can engage with God and their community in a quiet, unhurried setting. For me, that looks like daily retreats to my favorite rock by the lake, where I can spend extended time listening to God and studying his Word.
During the week, students spend time in tracks, which offer training in a variety of areas, including in-depth manuscript Bible study, evangelism, and small group leaders’ training. This year, I spent the week with my chapter’s leadership team planning and preparing for next year. We grew as a team through activities like ropes courses and gained God’s vision for our ministry by praying and spending time in the Word together.
Having encountered God in community, his Word, and nature, my chapter left CFW equipped and excited for how God is going to use us to reach students with the gospel back on campus.