Seven years ago two churches came together for a retreat at the Kalahari Resort. One year later we (HSM and The Zone) jumped in. In the last six years we have grown to 1475 people and 25 churches. Every year I love the Kalahari retreat more and more because of the way I see God move in my students and the overall weekend.
Sounds like a reason for a mind dump…
- This year we finally were able to book Clayton King as our speaker. I first knew of Clayton through his connections with Steven Furtick, Elevation Church, and Perry Noble and Newspring Church. He is also a campus pastor at Liberty University.
- I loved Clayton’s style. He is a seasoned communicator and connected when he joked and in his teaching. I think he gave the best presentation of the gospel I have ever heard in a corporate setting. We saw many commitments including around 85 first time decisions and more recommitments and students deciding to not date for a year. We have already booked Clayton for next year.
- As has been the case for the last 3-4 years, we had Exodus also from Liberty University lead worship. They lost everyone but one guy from there team last year but totally reloaded and were just excellent.
- If you haven’t noticed a trend Liberty University is pretty awesome and also puts great effort into networking themselves with top notch people and also providing ministry teams at a fraction of what they should cost.
- Because of Liberty’s arsenal, we also brought in their trampoline dunk team Soar Dunk. It was just as cool as it sounds. It brought out my inner 10 year old and my mouth was hanging open most of their show. I also may or may not have snuck in the room when no one else was in there but me and the trampoline and hoops and recorded myself dunking on my phone.
- Sessions went great this year. Ben Framstad worked his butt off and did a great job at coordinating everything from concept to execution. There were so many creative elements and great flow. I loved the testimonies, choir and art involvement, and games he planned.
- We flipped the room and went horizontal for the first time ever. It had some drawbacks and but it gave us the law of immediacy and put every close to the stage and Clayton as he spoke. I know it lead to greater engagement.
- The tech this year was one of my favorite upgrades. The lights were just incredible. Zack Pinkerton brought in some great lightbox concepts that took our stage to great heights. I am glad to be in the LED light era.
- I have been blessed to be apart of Kalahari’s planning but Wooster Grace (Nick Cleveland, Ben Framstad, Rachel Snyder, Dave Rhoad) does easily 80% of the work…and it might be closer to 99%. They birthed this thing, have grown his thing and handle the finances, administration, and legal liability. I just want to publicly say thanks to their staff and church for that unsung investment in my students and the other churches. That is kingdom minded.
- I know I already mentioned a ton of stuff but the thing that makes Kalahari work is that on top of all this it is a top-notch hotel and the biggest water park in North America. I enjoyed my usual time of water basketball with my brother Danny and some time in the Lazy River.
- I got to host with my friend Jordan Muck this year. He is a great thinker on his feet and reminds me of Ashton Kutcher so of course he made a great emcee.
- Kalahari is close to my heart because of what it represents. I love seeing the Church come together and be the body of Christ. I love seeing growth in ministries of my friends and breakthroughs. I love seeing Marysville’s youth group grow and have to get a bus for the first time, I love seeing our students connect with people in our backyard at Heritage over in Westerville, and I love seeing people come to know Christ because of the efforts of many.
- If you want to check out the hashtag #kalahari12 on twitter you can track all that went on HERE.
- Next years Kalahari retreat is Jan 4-6, 2013.