ENCOUNTER brings together collegiate Navigators from Michigan and Ohio for a weekend focused on growing closer to God and closer to each other. Whether you're exploring your faith for the first time, revisiting questions that you have, or you feel like you've known God for a long time, this weekend is sure to challenge you in discovering how God sees you, and how you can respond to him in faith. 

The weekend's format includes three major messages from author, Tom Yeakley. He currently lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, where he is an author and editor for Navs Press Publishing. In addition to hearing from Tom, you'll get to choose two of the 10 distinct workshops put on by staff from across the region.  

This three-day (two-night) experience is built to be an escape from the pressures of school, but we also know the value of keeping up with studies! Saturday afternoon's schedule is simply free time for games, sports, a nap, or time to devote to homework and studying – whatever strikes your fancy and enables you to enjoy your time away from campus. 


Quick Facts

October 25-27, 2019
3 days / 2 nights / 1 weekend
1 speaker
150+ students
10 workshop choices
Beulah Beach Retreat Center
Cost: $149 (scholarships available)

Suggested packing list:

  • Pillow and sleeping bag (bunk bed and mattress provided)

  • Bible, notebook, pen

  • phone & charger

  • towel

  • toiletries & shower sandals

  • frisbees, basketballs, soccer balls, other sports equipment


  • clothing & shoes for 3 days, 2 nights (check the weather!) reppin’ your school, including sports clothes/shoes

  • warm clothes and a jacket (it can get chilly by the lake!)

  • water bottle

  • umbrella & flashlight

  • cash to buy an Encounter or Great Lakes Navs t-shirt

Take a look at what

Encounter has to offer > > >



Meet our Speaker

Tom Yeakley



We will be hearing from Tom in our large group sessions throughout the weekend.  Get excited to learn alongside those from your campus, and be ready to take home some applicable content that will deepen your understanding and relationship with God.

Check out his most popular book Growing Kingdom Character to get a taste of what you’ll be learning!


Meet our worship leader

Aaron Morgan

of Seabird

A native of Independence, Kentucky and now living in Cincinnati, Ohio, we are thrilled to have Aaron lead us in worship this weekend.  If you're curious about his band, take a listen:

Workshop Options

The Great Commission not Suggestion: Jesus gave us the commission to make disciples of all nations. Come grow in your understanding and convictions on how God desires your life to be about bringing the gospel to every nation--and how to do it well.


Daniel Kemp A peanut butter enthusiast at heart, never a day goes by where I don't get my fix. Creamy or crunchy--I'm your guy. Twenty-three going on eternity, come learn with me about a big God, a vast world, and a small us.

Hannah Neely I’m a proud cat mom whose love language is a good cheese. At preschool Thanksgiving as a four year old, when everyone shared what they were thankful for, I expressed my gratitude for velvet. I'm still passionate about velvet, as well as random animal facts and anything food-related.

Miracle or Manipulation? - Exploring The History of The Bible: You may look at The Bible as a collection of stories, fables, or tall tales. Maybe you view it through a literary lens, seeing the beauty of its poetic metaphors or proverbial wisdom. Or you may hold skepticism at what seem to be politically motivated and potentially discriminatory rules and regulations. The Bible's history is fascinating and worth understanding. We will dive into the rich history of this ancient book so we can better understand what it is really about.


Taylor Scott has had a passion for learning all of his life. Coupled with being an extrovert, this thirst for knowledge has at times produced what some people have called a "know-it-all" attitude. Truthfully, Taylor doesn't know everything, but he does know a lot about his family (wife, Christy, and two boys, Elliot & Asher) and coffee. 

FEARING GOD, fearing man: Do you think about others opinions of you? Are you scared to share the gospel or a truthful word with someone because of how they might respond?  Fearing others can control our lives. In fact, Proverbs 29:25 says, "The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted."  So how does God bring freedom to people pleasing?  Come and find out!


Travis Parks God has shown Travis how living for others approval is exhausting and enslaving. But living in the approval of God, in Jesus Christ, brings freedom to live and love others as God designed. For fun, Travis watches Food Network shows, paints (around his house) and takes short walks with his wife on the beach (Lake Michigan, of course!)

Ardent Pursuit: A personal and experiential journey of discovering more of the character of God: "But to enjoy him we must know him. Seeing is savoring. If he remains a blurry, vague fog, we may be intrigued for a season. But we will not be stunned with joy, as when the fog clears and you find yourself on the brink of some vast precipice.” This is the goal of this workshop. Focused on four elements of the character of God as revealed in the Bible, this workshop will be an experience designed to integrate truth through a participatory journey in a creative, interactive space. This will not be a traditional workshop.


Jennifer Holder Jennifer enjoys surrounding herself with stacks of unread books, regretfully unfinished projects, sunshine and the laughter and chaos of her family.  Her heartbeat is to learn and share more of the character of God through creativity. 

"Wait...Jesus was Jewish?": A workshop on how to read the Bible in its cultural context and why it's so important.


Bethany Thomas is a Navigator and an aspiring artist working out of Cincinnati. She loves to sling clay around in her basement and make delicious food. (...in her kitchen... not the basement.... that would be gross.)


Watching Movies With Discernment: Ever devote two to three hours of your day to sitting in a large, dark room full of strangers fixated on a giant glowing rectangle displaying moving pictures of very highly paid men and women pretending to be someone they're not? Better question... who hasn't? Americans love movies (and TV shows) - we watch them all the time. Trouble is, much of the time when we turn the TV on, we turn our minds off. Every movie has a message. What "truths" about the world are you absorbing without even knowing it? 


Patrick Kottmann was sent to earth as a baby, neatly avoiding the total destruction of his home planet, Krypton (phew!). His first inkling of God calling him to work with the Navigators came after his college mentor, Morpheus, identified him as "the one" who would lead an Encounter workshop on movies. After adapting to enhanced abilities that accompanied his being bit by a radioactive spider at a summer training program and learning to master the force during a weekend retreat on Dagobah (this once popular Navigators retreat has since been discontinued), he knew the time was right to move out of his uncle Bilbo's hillside home and make a difference in the world. (Patrick has never seen a movie, but feels that this is irrelevant to his leading this workshop.)

Freedom From Anxiety: Develop a greater understanding about anxiety, learn helpful skills and explore relaxation techniques. Be empowered to make healthy changes and experience the beginning of a journey to freedom from anxiety, stress and worry.


Eliza Bruner, RN, BSN, GI nurse, wife to Mark Bruner of Kent State, mom of two fun kids, gets paid to tell people to fart.

Discipling Others:  What are the foundational principles of disciple making? This workshop explores the principles Jesus used in making and training disciples, as well as, how to apply them in today’s world! Here’s what we will focus on in “Discipling Others”: Vision for Making Disciples, Ministering Life-to-Life, & Getting Started Today.  If you are in a discipleship relationship or desire to start and desire to be passionate about multiplying your life, you’ll want to join us.


Mike Havenstein After 23 years on staff with The Navigators at The Ohio State University, Mike is still zealous about discipling college students.  Although Mike thinks that there is no greater decade than the 80’s, he still believes there is no better generation of time to invest in than today’s students.

Forgive Your Way to Freedom: Everyone needs forgiveness.  Withholding forgiveness from ourself and from others is exhausting and keeps us from experiencing the freedom and joy God intended.  This workshop will explore God’s forgiveness and our need to forgive those who have hurt or wronged us.


Charly Sommers is the Navs campus director at the University of Cincinnati.  He and his wife Christina have five children and have been on staff with Navs for 19 years.  Charly has seen lots and lots of forgiveness up close because he’s given his wife and children so many opportunities to practice it.

Faith & Reason: What does it mean to live by faith? What do we do when our friends start questioning things and we don’t have answers? What if we have the same questions too? It is ok to use reason in our faith? Entering college, Buck walked away from his faith because every question he asked was answered with “it just takes faith”.  He concluded Christianity was an excuse to not think. This workshop is about how you can’t have faith without reason and a lack of faith might just be a lack of thinking. 


Buck Wilson believes in the power of humor and a story. Along with his chronic inability to be serious in life, he also has nine million thoughts running around in his head that often come out in one paragraph. Buck has learned he's most healthy when when he's having fun and/or challenging the status quo. Expect to laugh, hear stories, and be challenged in your worldview.

Check out our new location at Beulah Beach!