"Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do."
1 Thessalonians 5:11
SFC Leaders from all over Florida gathered in Tampa on January 21 and 22, 2017 for the SFC Leaders' Empowerment Retreat to discuss the direction of the ministry for this year.
Saturday began with an invigorating worship led by Shawn Barlaan of USF Campus Based. The SFC then welcomed Fr. Glenn Lopez of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lakeland who gave session one about servant leadership. He challenged the SFC leaders to become more than just "devotees", but to become "disciples." They then split into mixed groups to reflect on their personal journeys to leadership.
To build teamwork and creativity, they were challenged to come together in communion. Using only newspaper, tape, one plate, and packing peanuts, they were tasked with protecting a raw egg from a two-story fall. Despite the many different approaches to protecting the egg, such as creating a parachute, multi-layering, and simply taping it, all teams succeeded. Ultimately showing the dedication of the leaders to protect and serve their members.
After lunch, they were again given a team-building exercise. This time it required more oneness from the team. Each member was given a different disadvantage, such as blindness, muteness, and having to walk backwards. They then had to navigate together through changing obstacles towards the final destination. They learned to adapt with each other's strengths and weaknesses in order to accomplish their end goal.
Talk two was given by our generous neighbor John Acosta, the National SFC Coordinator of Canada. He reminded the SFC leaders of their need to be visionaries and affirmed the effects of their service through testimonies of past Full Time Workers: Kiko Manlunas, Grace Galvan Baria, and Anzel Reyes.
With these visions, they were tasked to create their own for their respective areas. One vision captured a unanimous calling to focus on building "relationsheeps". All leaders agreed that they each needed to be more like the shepherd Jesus describes in Luke 15 by going out of their way to know and understand their members. Describing the fruits of developing relationships, Miami/Broward proclaimed: "If you build it, they will come".
Following Mass at Incarnation Catholic Church, an open forum took place containing discussions of basic ministry concerns and questions. Questions were asked anonymously and everyone was free to partake in the discussion.
Dinner concluded, leading into the brotherhood and sisterhood session led by Patrick Coronel, Full Time Pastoral Worker for Florida, and Dobbie Cerrado of SFC Orlando, respectively. The sessions veered towards the need for accountability and relationships between fellow brothers and sisters.
The night ended with a charismatic worship led by Patrick Coronel, during which opened the floor to personal messages from the Holy Spirit.
Day two took off with a rousing worship led by Brandon Cuevas of UCF Campus Based. Shortly after followed talk three given by Joy Barlaan, Unit Head of CFC Tampa. She issued the Joshua challenge that evoked an urgent need for dedication.
The entire weekend led up to the guided open forum which consisted of various leaders from different areas discussing solutions for problems within the ministry. They tackled retention of members, integration of campus based, and collaboration with CFC. Open dialogue took place between leaders of SFC, Campus Based, CFC, and Couple Coordinators. What was apparent was everyone's love for the community and the need to translate that into real relationships across ministries. The direction was clear: "Be the change we want to see".
The weekend closed with a powerful worship led by Rob Roa of SFC Tampa. His prayer for God to disturb their hearts inspired everyone to embrace discomfort. Turning their hearts towards God, everyone was reminded of their ultimate desire: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You."
Lord God, we thank You for the gift of community.
And allowing us to have a relationship
With our fellow brothers and sisters from all parts of Florida.
We thank You for the our strengths and weaknesses
That allow us unite and be one with You.
We lift up all areas and their visions
That they may be able to translate them into legacies.
We also lift up our hearts
That they may continue to be disturbed
And seek comfort in You.
Songs used during the weekend:
A Thousand Fold (Go)
Nothing I Hold Onto - United Pursuit
Rise Oh Generation
Wonder - Bethel Music
Video: Skit Guys - Grace
Video: Father and Son (Team Hoyt)
Prayer: Disturb Us Lord by Sir Francis Drak
January 21 - 22, 2017
Singles For Christ
SFC Leaders' Empowerment
Held in Tampa