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Retreating to the Haven

Concordia-Wisconsin Students Find Comfort in the Midst of College Life

What are Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) students doing every Sunday night? Are they hastily working on the homework they've put off all weekend? Are they catching up on their sleep so they're ready for the upcoming Monday morning? No way! If you came to Concordia's Albrecht Lounge--the biggest lounge on campus--you would see energized students singing praises to God, praying for each other, and listening to speakers discussing various Christian topics.

These students are part of The Haven, a relatively new ministry on Concordia-Wisconsin's campus. The Haven began five years ago as a monthly gathering of a handful of students. These students sang to an acoustic guitar and listened to the campus pastor give a short message. The founders wanted students to have a "haven" on campus, a refuge to get away from classes and homework so they could praise the Lord in an informal setting.  As the mission statement says, "The Haven exists to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the CUW community and the surrounding area through a time of student-led contemporary praise, prayer, and sharing of God's Word."  Over the past five years, students have been working very hard to allow this ministry to grow larger and stronger on Concordia's campus.

With the help of the God, The Haven has expanded into a dynamic ministry. About 150 students gather in Albrecht Lounge every Sunday night, and they know to come early if they want one of the lounge's comfy couches. As students enter the lounge, a team of greeters enthusiastically welcomes them. Two MC's direct The Haven, making sure that each event runs smoothly into the next. The Drama Team illustrates the night's theme by either reenacting a Bible story or doing an original skit. The Sound Team manages the microphones and speakers, and the PowerPoint Team projects the lyrics or scripture verses onto the wall. There is always a band performing, playing songs ranging from "Jesus Loves Me" to "Amazing Grace" to "Every Move I Make." Either the campus pastor or a professor serves as the guest speaker for the night, giving a brief message on subjects like vanity, missions, singleness, forgiveness, and even living the "soap opera" lifestyle.  During Prayer Time, students pray silently or with a group, and the Prayer Team is always in the corner if students want someone to pray with them.  Behind the scenes, an Administration Team thinks of topics, lines up guest speakers, and evaluates each Haven event. Also, Advertisers make and post flyers, and the Set-Up Team converts Albrecht Lounge into a comfortable, fun place to worship.

Why do students come to The Haven? Concordia students readily come because it is an opportunity to praise their Lord and Savior in an informal, comfortable setting. The Haven is not an alternative to Sunday-morning worship, but another opportunity to sing praises to God and hear about topics geared specifically to young adults.  Students also get the chance to share their life struggles with friends and fellow students. Though college can be a stressful place, many Concordia students have The Haven written into their schedule every Sunday night. They could be working on homework.  They could be catching up on sleep.  But they come to The Haven to sing praises to God as His Spirit works in their hearts to equip them to be stronger Christians and powerful witnesses to the Concordia University-Wisconsin community and beyond.

Todd Liefer is a student at Concordia University, Wisconsin. Todd is also a youth  member of the Media Team for the 2004 National LCMS Youth Gathering.

thESource is published on the Web by LCMS District & Congregational Services-Youth Ministry.  The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 1333 South Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295; 1-800-248-1930;  Editor: Gretchen M. Jameson; Assistant Editor: Dawn Cornelius-Gaunt; Layout: Gretchen M. Jameson. VOL. 1 NO. 7 April 2004.

Rev. Todd Liefer is the Associate Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and School of Wentzville, Missouri. He works primarily with youth, children's ministry and school families. He loves watching seeing new generations grow in their knowledge and love of Christ. In his free time, Todd loves to run, explore the outdoors and spend time with his family.

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