South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Oasis spring kickoff

Record number of 750 students in attendance
Submitted Photo
SDSU students standing and singing during the worship part of Oasis’ spring kickoff event

A record number of college students and young adults attended the Oasis Spring Kickoff at GracePoint Church in Brookings last month.

According to Brennen Schmitt, the College and Youth Pastor at Grace Point Church, the spring kickoff had an estimated attendance of 750 people, making it the largest one ever. The next closest turnout was about 550 people.

Although this spring kickoff was just short of the fall semester, which had around 875 people in attendance, both of these were beyond their normal turnouts.

“Hosting this many people isn’t easy,” Schmitt said. With a new sermon series being presented, planning began months in advance. In an email interview, Schmitt said how planning for this semester’s spring kickoff began June 2023. He said most event planning takes about two months. Every staff member plays a role in ensuring they can put on the best events possible.

Many of the people who help during the events are also volunteers. They help with a variety of things, but based on the atmosphere created, the most important, as Schmitt puts it, “making people feel like they are seen, heard and belong at Oasis.”

The volunteers are one of the most important parts that make events like Oasis kickoff possible. While there are people who work full-time at GracePoint, with the help from volunteers they can handle everything that needs to happen for the events to be successful. They work on things like cooking and planning for the large amount of students that will attend later in the day.

Emily Kaufman, the assistant Oasis pastor, praised the volunteers. Kaufman shared all that goes on with the planning.

“I seriously don’t know how they do it, but they’re incredible,” Kaufman said.
On Jan. 21, they started by praying over the event and everyone who would be attending later that night.

“It is the most important thing we do at Oasis,” Kaufman said. They then spread out and get to work on their jobs to make the night a success.

Not only does Oasis hold services Sunday nights at 8 p.m., they also host numerous events throughout the semester. These events range from a Super Bowl party to community service nights. They even host a carnival at the end of the year. There will also be 28 people heading to Los Angeles over spring break for a mission trip.
There are many small groups that meet weekly throughout the year.

“These groups get together to talk about their faith and life in general,” Schmitt said. “It is a way to better understand those around you and connect with people who have similar interests.”

Music also plays an important role in the atmosphere at Oasis. The music starts and ends the services each week. The music chosen goes along with the sermon that they have planned for each night.

The Oasis Worship Pastor, Jaena Gormong, said that for her, the most important part of the music that is chosen is the content. “The words that we declare have power,” Gormong said.

This does not make the task easy, but she does a great job. She looks at what message is being given each week as well as what needs to be heard. This resonates with the people attending each week.

While this may seem like a lot, Oasis has been going on for quite a while. According to Schmitt, it started out in 2005 with just 20 students. Over the years, the leaders have changed, but Schmitt says one thing remains the same, “The heart… to create a safe space for young people to worship God and connect with one another,” Schmitt said.

This seems to be true based on the feedback received after Sunday night’s kickoff event. There were games for people to play or visitors could sit around and talk. After all of the games, the service begins. Many people return each week just for the atmosphere and how powerful the services can be. Schmitt sees this each week.
“It’s never lost on us that each person chooses to show up to Oasis,” Schmitt said. “Nobody’s forcing them to come, yet they show up week after week.”

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    Sheri SchmittFeb 7, 2024 at 11:08 am

    Absolutely fantastic! Well done good and faithful servants!