This week pastors and ministry leaders gathered for the South Focus Retreat in central Florida. The retreat had the theme “48-Hour Refresh” and provided an opportunity for attendees to find rest and refreshment. Dan Allan, the incoming executive director for the Charis Fellowship, and Andrew Saunders, networking coordinator for the Charis Fellowship, led the sessions and facilitated the discussions. Michael Lockstampfor, pastor at Neighborhood Church Ocala, and Josiah Thomas, from Ocean View Fellowship, led worship for the retreat.
Dan opened the first session Monday afternoon with a reading from the book Diary of a Pastor’s Soul by Craig Barnes, emphasizing that every shepherd desperately needs the Shepherd. Additionally, each of the seven national ministries represented shared ministry updates and highlights.
The second session was led by Andrew who spoke out of Isaiah 55. “Before we can lead others, we first need to be led,” he said. He emphasized that to lead well we need to come to Jesus, listen to God’s voice, move our head knowledge to heart knowledge, and to fill our cups with what has been provided. He asked, “What would it look like to lead our ministry out of the overflow of our walk with God?” The evening ended with small group discussion on ministry struggles and a time of praying for one another.
Tuesday morning Dan shared his own story as he talked about leadership fatigue, leadership dysphoria, and leadership trauma. He posed the question, “How do I keep my head in all situations and where do I anchor my soul?” As he addressed this question in relation to moving forward in ministry, he focused on having a clear vision for the future and how that vision must start with seeing God. Following that session, attendees were given resources and time to spend alone with God to see Him and find refreshment in Him.
After lunch on Tuesday attendees had free time. Many went golfing and kayaking with others, while some spent time alone resting, reading, and enjoying the nature setting of the retreat center.
Tuesday evening Dan continued his discussion on vision. After seeing God, to have a clear vision we must see the people. He proposed three clarifying vision questions: do you see the people, how do you see the people, and how does Jesus see the people. The time concluded with small group prayer for specific people.
Dan concluded his discussion on vision Wednesday morning by saying without implementation vision is just hallucination. He talked about Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” and emphasized the importance of doing what is in front of you with the grace you’re given each day. He reiterated his three points of having clear vision for ministry going forward: know God, shepherd the flock around you, and do what you can do.
The retreat was held on March 13–15 at the FFA Training Center in Haines City, Fla. See more photos from the retreat here.