Student Retreat Details

Student Retreat Details

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Join us for a weekend to remember! Packed full of world-class scholarship, new friends, and heartpounding adventure, we invite you to join us in worshipping God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.


Hosted by Ratio Christi in conjunction with the National Conference on Christian Apologetics, this is a weekend meant to be both serious and fun.

  • Live and learn together at the retreat center with your peers from campuses around the country.
  • The core of the retreat is your "concentration," a specialized program of study designed to allow for in-depth learning, promote friendships with similarly interested peers, and give you the chance to connect with distinguished faculty throughout the weekend.
  • We know that a long weekend of stimulating conversations and fast-paced sessions can leave you exhausted, so we've included a chance to enjoy God's creation at the US National Whitewater Center on Saturday afternoon!  You'll have the chance to do some whitewater rafting, or, if that's not your thing, participate in a variety of activities that'll keep you on dry land.
  • Join the Ratio Christi staff and guests for a great meal and challenging talks at the annual Ratio Christi Benefit Banquet on Saturday evening.

The retreat package includes all the meals, lodging, training, and activities all for one price. Join us for study and fun!

Click on the arrows below for more details.


It's not all mind games this weekend. There are real games as well. Enjoy outdoor refreshment at the U.S. National Whitewater Center as part of the weekend. We know that a long weekend of brain stimulating conversations and teaching can leave you exhausted and in need of a break. Particularly for those attending the National Apologetics Conference (and we hope you do). So, get out on Saturday and enjoy God's creation. Participate in heart pounding white water rafting with your fellow students and mentors; Dry land activities such as climbing walls, zip lines, and rope courses are also available for those who do not want to get wet. Transportation will also be provided. Activity FAQs can be found here.


Join the Ratio Christi staff and many other guests as you listen to an engaging presentation by Dr. George Yancey on Surviving (and Thriving) with Christianophobia. Enjoy a great meal, mix with students from around the country, and hear testimonies by other Ratio Christi students as we recall what God has done with Ratio Christi and catch a vision for the future of the movement.

Dr. George Yancey is a Professor of sociology at the University of North Texas. He has published several research articles on the topics of institutional racial diversity, racial identity, academic bias and anti-Christian hostility. His books include Compromising Scholarship (Baylor University Press) a book that explores religious and political biases in academia, There is no God (Rowman and Littlefield) a book that investigates atheism in the United States, So Many Christians, So Few Lions (Rowman and Littlefield) a book that assess Christianophobia in the United States, and Hostile Environment (Intervarsity Press) a Christian book that explores how Christians should deal with Christianophobia. He currently is working to create the first Christian Studies center on a secular campus.

Select a Concentration and Mentors

Download Detailed Schedule [subject to revision]

Each student will choose a "Concentration" to study throughout the entire weekend and will be grouped with mentors who are experts in that area of study. Important: Each group is limited in size and designed to encourage intensive dialog and interaction between top scholars and the students so that each student has the opportunity to dig deeply into a topic and develop relationships with the mentors. Therefore, students will attend lectures within their own concentrations rather than selecting individual lectures across concentrations.

Students will be accepted to Concentrations on a first come, first served basis, so, reserve your spot quickly. If you wish to change concentrations before the retreat please contact Requests to change concentrations can only be accommodated if there is still space in the group.

Audio files of each lecture from each concentration will be made available to ALL STUDENTS after the retreat, so you don't need to worry about missing any of the great speakers. The best of all worlds!


Note: Specific lecture topics and faculty mentors subject to change.

PH - Physics, God, and Cosmology

This concentration will focus on principles of design in the physical universe, how fine tuning points to a Creator God, cosmology and origins of the universe, and the theistic implications.

Topic details:

  • A Christian's Journey to Science - Jeff Zweerink (Reasons to Believe)
    • A common misconception today is that science is an enemy of religion (specifically Christianity). However, three basic principles can equip Christians to understand that, when properly understood, scientific discoveries affirm the truth of the Bible. Details on the search for life on exoplanets (planets outside of our galaxy) show just how these principles work.
  • Cosmic Reasons to Believe in Christ - Hugh Ross (Reasons to Believe)
    • Astronomy is the only discipline where scientists directly observe past history. Today, astronomers can see all the way back to the cosmic creation event itself. Thus, astronomy yields the most rigorous and compelling scientific evidences for a Creator who transcends space and time and personally crafts the universe for the specific benefit of human beings.  This talk shows how the Bible accurately predicted the history and structure of the universe thousands of years in advance of the scientific discoveries confirming that history and structure.
  • Who's Afraid of the Multiverse? - Jeff Zweerink (Reasons to Believe)
    • The increasingly popular multiverse theory (an explanation for everything in the universe) appears to threaten important apologetic arguments for God’s existence. Closer inspection reveals just the opposite: Research into the multiverse actually strengthens the case for Christianity while confronting problematic naturalistic views.
  • Cosmology and Physics in Genesis One - Erica Carlson (Purdue University)
  • Panel Discussion​ and Q & A

Faculty Mentors: 

  • Jeff Zweerink (Reasons to Believe)
  • Hugh Ross (Reasons to Believe)
  • Erica Carlson (Purdue University)

Availability: College students only. This group will be an intensive study led by top scholars in these fields.This advanced study concentration requires a college GPA of 3.0 or higher and a minimum of 1 or more college course within the disciplines of biology, chemistry, genetics, physics, or other science related fields. More details are provided in the registration form.

SC/Origins - Is the Earth Young or Old? And Evangelical Debate

This concentration will focus on a major topic of disagreement within Christian apologetics: is creation fairly recent, has it been billions of years in the making, or is the truth somewhere in between? Let's examine this controversial issue from several angles and stay friends at the same time. There are many issues within Christianity on which we find deep differences. How should the body of Christ approach important disagreements? During the retreat students will investigate principles for creating respectful dialogue and dealing with conflicting ideas with other Christians. For more information download the document at the bottom of this page titled, "A call for reconciliation and collaboration.pdf."   


  • Friends or Factions? Overview of the YE/OE Controversy  - Paul Nelson (Discovery Institute)
  • Biblical Case for an Old Earth - Ben Smith (Ratio Christi)
  • Biblical Case for a Young Earth - John Sanford (Ratio Christi), John Baumgardner
  • Scientific Case for a Young Earth - John Baumgardner
  • Scientific Case for an Old Earth - Ken Wolgemuth (Solid Rock Lectures)
  • Collaborative Panel Discussion​ on Unity in Origins Apologetics

Faculty Mentors:

Availability: Open to all college students, as well as high school juniors and seniors.

OT - Old Testament Apologetics - A Grumpy Old God and Mega Myth?  

This concentration will focus on claims that the Old Testament is a book of myth and madness, better left on the shelf. Can it be relied on for history? What about super fish, parting seas, and other spectacular claims? Is the God of the Old Testament a grumpy, violent task master or a benevolent, loving saviour?  


  • Archaeology and the Old Testament. A Reliable Testimony? - Lenny Esposito (Come Reason Ministries)
  • Canaanites and Killings - Clay Jones (Biola University)
  • Mega Myths or Legitimate Miracles - Lenny Esposito (Come Reason Ministries)
  • God's Character on Trial - Clay Jones (Biola University)
  • Panel Discussion

Faculty Mentors:

  • Clay Jones (Biola University)
  • Lenny Esposito (Come Reason Ministries)
  • Sibu Rajappan (Southern Evangelical Student)

Availability: Open to all college students, as well as high school juniors and seniors. 

PP - Political Philosophy & Foundations of Government (cancelled)

We are sorry, but this concentration has been cancelled due to logistics. If you have already signed up for this track and registered, please email us with your new selection. We apologize for any inconvenience.

SX - Marriage & the Philosophy of Sexuality

This concentration will focus on the hot button issues of our day: marriage and sex. The discussion is everywhere, the temperature is hot, and the outcome couldn't be more important.  


  • An Introduction to Natural Law: What Is It & Is It Biblical?
  • What is Marriage? Timeless or in Turmoil? (Is same-sex marriage a new civil right or a fool's errand?)
  • Love is Love. Or is It? Thinking Well about Sex, Gender, Love, & the Good
  • Feminism & Christianity
  • Panel Discussion: Common Arguments for Homosexuality & Same Sex Marriage

Faculty Mentors:

  • Ryan T. Anderson, Heritage Foundation
  • Richard G. Howe, Southern Evangelical Seminary
  • Adam Tucker, Southern Evangelical Seminary & Ratio Christi
  • Dianna Newman, Southern Evangelical Seminary

Availability: Open to all college students, as well as high school juniors and seniors.

BE - Bio-Ethics  - Defending Life  

Is everything "medical" good? Where should scientists get their ethics? This concentration will focus on ethical issues surrounding the status of the unborn, defending life, what it means to be human.


  • 30 (or so) Arguments Against Abortion 
  • Dismantling Abortion, Supporting Life 
  • Embracing Conflict and the Use of Pictures in the Abortion Debate 
  • Grassroots Activism for the Unborn 
  • Panel Discussion

Faculty Mentors:

  • Megan Almon, Life Training Institute
  • Fletcher Armstrong, Center for Bioethical Reform
  • John Ferrer, Ratio Christi
  • Devin and Melissa Pellew, Ratio Christi
  • Aaron Marshall, Ratio Christi

Availability: Open to all college students, as well as high school juniors and seniors.

XT - Christians Are. . . 

Christians are no longer thought of by culture as "too good." Rather, they are villified, thought to be a detriment to good society, and even sometimes viewed as evil. This concentration will help answer the most prevalent charges against Christians in the culture today.

Topics: Christians are . . . 

  • . . . Intolerant & Judgmental
  • . . . Homophobic, Sexist, & Bigots
  • . . . Anti-Science
  • . . . Irrational and Hold Society Back
  • Panel Discussion

Faculty Mentors:

  • Dr. George Yancey, University of North Texas
  • Jonathan McLatchie, PhD candidate in molecular bioscience
  • Eric Chabot, Ratio Christi
  • Prem Isaac

Availability: Open to all college students, as well as high school juniors and seniors.



Friday, October 16 (Optional)

Students have the option (highly recommended) of attending the National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) hosted by Southern Evangelical Seminary on Oct.16-17 (Fri. 9 am to Sat. 12 noon). 

Check in will be available at the retreat center by Friday late afternoon or evening. If you need a room on Friday night you can select this option during registration. If you register for the NCCA through Ratio Christi, the price includes the Friday night accommodations.

Saturday, October 17

Download Detailed Schedule (subject to revision)

7:30 am - 8:30 Continental breakfast provided. You can also purchase breakfast meals at the retreat center cafe.

8:30 am Transportation leaves retreat center for NCCA. 

9:00 am - 11:05 am  Students attend sessions at NCCA

11:05 am - 11:30 am Check In and load onto bus at NCCA

11:30 pm Bus leaves for activity location (transportation details to follow) 

Lunch will be provided for every student on the bus trip

12:00 pm - Welcome at Whitewater Center

12:30 pm - 3:45 pm Enjoy exciting white water rafting or dry land activities with your fellow students and mentors. 

3:45 pm - 4:15 pm Travel to Retreat Center. Location: Heritage International Ministries Conference Retreat Center. 

4:15 pm - 5:00 pm Shower and Dress

5:00 pm - 6:15 pm Concentration Session #1: Meet with your group and mentors for topical study, talks, and discussion.

6:30 pm - 9:00 pm Banquet in Grand Ball Room; Dinner, Keynote Address by Dr. George Yancey, student testimonies, and more!

9:15 pm until you drop 

Concert - Band: Three Union

Board Game Night. Hang out with new and familiar friends. Rub shoulders with top scholars. Snacks and games, games, games...

Rooms at Retreat Center: Please expect to stay in a room with one other person (two double beds).

Sunday, October 18

Download Detailed Schedule (subject to revision)

Location: Heritage International Ministries Conference Retreat Center. 

6:30 am - 7:00 am Prayer Time (optional)

7:15 am - 8:30 am Buffet Breakfast & Fellowship

8:30 am - 8:50 am Worship - Band

9:00 am - 10:30 am Concentration Sessions #2 & #3: Meet with your group and mentors for topical study, talks, and discussion.

Coffee Break

10:45 am - 12 noon Plenary Session in Main Ball Room

Coffee Break as determined by faculty

12 noon - 1:30 pm Lunch in Grand Ball Room. Good food and an extended time for personnel discussion and fellowship.

1:30 am - 2:30 pm Concentration Session #4

Coffee Break 

2:45 am - 4:00 pm Concentration Session #5: Panel Discussion and Extended Q & A with mentors

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm Closing Session in Grand Ball Room

See you next year!

Thank you to the Ohio University student planning committee for their assistance in organizing this exciting event!


$199 - RC Student Retreat Only

Entire Ratio Christi Student Retreat (Sat. thru Sun.) - College students or high school juniors and seniors. Price includes: Sat. lunch, Sat. afternoon activity at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, evening banquet, Sat. night accommodations, Sun. breakfast & lunch, and all student conference activities and mentoring groups. 

$299 - RC Student Retreat AND NCCA (National Conference on Christian Apologetics)

In addition to previous Retreat items this price Includes two day NCCA conference (all day Fri., Sat. until noon), Friday lunch, hotel accommodations on Friday night, and Saturday lunch. Conference details can be found here

What if I don't have that much money?  

We realize that the cost of attending plus travel may be more than students can afford "out of pocket." It is typical for students attending campus ministry retreats to raise financial support to help them attend. This can be a great learning opportunity in fundraising, team work, and prayer. We hope your club will plan together on how to get as many Ratio Christi students as possible to the retreat. The student organizing committee for the retreat has put together several Fundraising Tools that can be downloaded at the bottom of this page including a guide, sample fundraising letter, and more. 

Our goal is to get every student that desires to attend to this event! Please contact us if you need additional suggestions or information on how to go about the funding process.

Scholarships may also be available on a limited basis if and when we receive donations toward student scholarships. If you do not have the full financial means to attend even after pursuing fundraising options please contact us with your specific need.

Also, some students who are local to the Charlotte, NC area may wish to save money by not staying at the retreat center on Saturday evening, or by not attending some part of the retreat. However, we want to encourage attendees to participate in everything. If someone wants to opt out of a particular event they can, but the price would not change. We really desire a “community feel” for this weekend which is the primary reason we want to have everyone stay at the same location. It allows for interaction and discussions other than during the formal meeting times. So, even those within commuting distance will stay in the same lodging. The Ratio Christi staff and faculty mentors will also be staying in the same location.


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