Connection Church Retreats to Discuss Sex and Relationships

Scott Altstiel, Contributing Writer

After a bountiful meal on a Friday night at Deer Mountain, a large group of college students crowds into a living room for worship. A speaker walks to the front of the room after a few songs and students settle in for a talk about relationships, dating, and sex. At this moment, Black Hills State University Connection Church’s annual winter weekend retreat has begun.

“Every student struggles with sexuality,” said Geoffrey Davis, the college pastor of Connection Church. “So, from a Christian worldview, we want to teach students that God thinks sex is good, but that it’s meant for certain purposes. That can help give students a clear vision about how sex and dating can play a role in their lives and how God cares about that.”

This is one of the main reasons that BHSU Connection Church decided to take a weekend to teach students about sex and relationships.

BHSU Connection Church is a Christian group whose mission is to teach college students how Jesus is relevant in every person’s life and how important connecting to a local church is. The group has put on three annual winter retreats so far.

“Winter retreat is a weekend that students can get away from campus and not go to their parents house so that they can make friends, have fun, relax, but also create some space in their lives to learn something a little bit deeper about God,” said Davis.

Many students who have attended the winter retreat have walked out of the weekend satisfied that they have learned how to better their life in some way.

“I loved talking about the different stages of relationships and being kind in relationships because I know a lot of times I don’t go into things being kind,” said Taylor Escott, a BHSU junior mass communication major. “I was really intrigued about the topic and how to biblically base a relationship for future reference.”

Winter retreat tends to change topics every year but as Davis explained, BHSU Connection Church has four main topics that they like to discuss with college students — who Jesus is, the importance of a local church, a college students future and God’s will in that, and sex.

“Those are the four things that are relevant and pertinent in a college student’s life, so when we do a winter retreat we kind of cycle through those topics,” said Davis.

Among the benefits from the topics that are discussed at winter retreats, the weekend also serves as a great way to build and establish relationships not just with other students but also with some of the leaders of BHSU Connection Church.

“Hopefully some of the things I was open about maybe spurred thoughts or made people think about areas of their life to help them grow,” said Will Malde, a physical education teacher at Lead-Deadwood High School and a BHSU Connection Church leader. “I look at the students at Connection as a group of friends, so during the retreat, I really felt like I was just part of the group hanging out.”

BHSU Connection Church isn’t something people have to wait until the next winter retreat to get involved in. To stay up to date with BHSU Connection Church,

the group has a Facebook group called BHSU Connection. also has all of the information about meeting times for regular church services as well as small group Bible studies throughout the week. Connection Church is planning a mission trip to Las Vegas during spring break that anyone is welcome to join.

“We really just want to get students in a place where they can shut out other distractions and open themselves up to learn something new about God,” said Davis.