YOKE is well known for our ministry with middle school students, but we’re just as enthusiastic about the hundreds of college students and young adults that we engage in our ministry each year. One of the more formal leadership training opportunities that we have is our annual retreat, coming up January 20-22 at the Carson Springs Conference Center in Newport, TN. The retreat, open for all YOKE Folk and Team Leaders, is designed to encourage and equip leaders, and also provides opportunities for volunteers from different teams to get to know one another and learn from each other.

Nestled in the Foothills of the Smoky Mountains, Carson Springs is the perfect place to enjoy nature, experience community and encounter God. Completed in 2000, the Conference Center provides a comfortable setting for all types of groups. Carson Springs, visited by over 10,000 people each year, provides opportunities to connect and converse with God and others while enjoying the hiking trails, while sitting in a rocking chair and listening to the creek, or while challenging yourself on the climbing wall.

This year’s event will include the not-so-usual fun and games that YOKE is famous for and encouraging teaching from two experienced leaders. Mark Nelson, lead pastor of Crossings Church in Knoxville, will lead two sessions on the topic of sharing your faith through the context of a mentoring relationship. Mark was involved in campus ministry and served on a church staff before launching Crossings in February of 2007. Brian Westphalen, of Freedom in Christ Ministries, will lead two sessions on identity and finding our freedom in Christ. Brian, a member of Fellowship Church in Knoxville, has been using FIC resources for more than 23 years and has been on staff for 9. We are also excited to have Danny and Blair Bright from Blount Community Church to lead us in worship.

As YOKE continues to extend its reach, we want to be known for the type of leaders that we produce.  We want young people with an interest in ministry to choose YOKE because of the valuable training and experience they will receive. And we want churches, schools, businesses and other nonprofits to recruit our leaders when they have slots to fill. If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, please consider supporting the ministry of YOKE. Your gift is tax-deductible and can be made online anytime. Checks can be mailed to YOKE at P.O. Box 3492, Knoxville, TN 37927.  Thank you for partnering with us to develop a generation of emerging leaders.