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Coe challenges Boyce students to embrace God's vision at fall retreat
October 27, 2008
By Garrett Wishall

Aaron Coe, lead pastor of The Gallery Church, challenged students at the Boyce College fall retreat to consider if the Lord had given them a burden for specific people groups and cities. Photo by Timothy Wallis

Battling the elements, 70 Boyce College students gathered for a weekend of refreshment and were challenged to be at the forefront of a Gospel uprising in America's cities at the Boyce fall retreat, Sept. 19-20.

Aaron Coe, lead pastor of The Gallery Church in New York city, led three sessions centered on the theme of Uprising, as he challenged students to take hold of a vision for reaching specific people groups and cities for the Gospel.

Previously scheduled for Country Lake Country Retreat Center with more than 120 students signed up the fall retreat had to be moved to Springdale Community Church in Louisville, after Hurricane Ike-driven windstorms knocked out the power at the retreat center. The event was originally scheduled in the spring, but a large snowstorm in February forced the change to the September date.

Kristin Yeldell, associate director of student life at Boyce, said Coe's messages fit well the theme "The Year of Living Dangerously" that Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. laid out in August for the seminary and Boyce College communities.

"Living for the kingdom of God and how that will create an uprising, particularly in your city and country, was the focus of the fall retreat," Yeldell said. "It was great hearing Dr. Mohler's message about this being the year of living dangerously just weeks before. That theme really fit with the weekend as Coe talked about creating an uprising by living for the kingdom of God."

Coe's three messages, which were part of three worship services, challenged students in different ways. Caleb Davis, the community life coordinator on the student council which helped organize the event said the importance of perseverance in Christian life and ministry stood out to him.

Ginny Lou Henley, communications director on the student council, said she left challenged about "being more intentional about telling people about Christ and living for him, as far as evangelism."

The importance of vision stood out to junior Sarah Spreitzer, a resident leader at Boyce.

"We talked how in Scripture, when the Lord has given visions to people it is usually accompanied by a burden for specific people," she said. "Coe's main goal was to get us to think about if we have a clear vision from the Lord and then allow that to take us to places and enable us to do things that we couldn't do apart from Him. To see the burdens the Lord puts on our hearts for specific people and people groups, and to let that play out in the future as we serve Him."

In addition to the main talks, Coe, who is working on a master's degree from Southern's New York city extension center, provided small group questions designed to drive the material home and to help students flesh out application, Davis said.

"We talked about being involved in our community, perseverance and sharing the Gospel," Davis said.

Spreitzer led a small group of female students and she said their discussion centered on what the Lord's vision was for their future.

"We talked a lot about vision for the future and what the Lord is calling us to," she said. "A lot of the girls weren't really sure what the future will hold, and it was a good time to have a common bond in looking forward to what the Lord will do in our lives."

Spreitzer is one of several Boyce students applying for a summer internship with the Gallery Church in New York, about which Coe provided detail on Saturday morning. The eight-week internship, which the North American Mission Board is also sponsoring, is centered on an area-wide HIV testing campaign, called "City Uprising" the church is hosting. Spreitzer said 20 interns will coordinate the campaign, overseeing several hundred college students who will come to help run the four-day campaign.

In addition to coordinating the campaign, Spreitzer said interns will be involved in the day-to-day ministry of
the Gallery Church, getting a taste for the ministry of the New York city church plant.

"It has been neat to see how the Lord has worked in putting together my church planting class that I am taking this semester and then this internship opportunity in opening my eyes to that (church planting) aspect of ministry," she said. "I am excited to have a short-term opportunity, to work with Aaron Coe and his church and see what God is doing in New York."

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