Southwest Focus Retreat Report

A team from Los Altos Grace Brethren Church is leading worship.

Charis Fellowship ministry leaders from throughout the southwestern United States are gathered at Lake Hughes, Calif., for the Southwest Focus Retreat. Beginning Monday evening, January 29, the 48 hours away is allowing the leaders to take a look at “Developing an Apprentice Culture.” The sessions are led by Clancy Cruise, executive director of the Charis Fellowship/Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches and pastor of Marysville Grace, a Charis Fellowship congregation in Marysville, Ohio.

Worship is being led by Jason Dunn, worship leader at Los Altos Grace Brethren Church, Long Beach, Calif., along with Bob Mabry, family pastor, and Phil Helfer, pastor at the Los Altos church.

On Monday evening, Clancy shared about the importance of developing leaders in the local church, then he divided the group into smaller cohorts for discussion.

Dan Allan, who has been in ministry more than 30 years, shared how to stay fresh in ministry.

Tuesday morning, Dan Allan, pastor of Grace Brethren Church, Ashland, Ohio, shared tips on how to stay fresh in ministry. In a presentation he has shared in the two previous retreats, he encouraged three points: lighten the load, look to Jesus, and lower your expectations.

The morning ended with a panel of pastors who have been involved in the revitalization of Grace Fellowship at Alta Loma, Calif. Roy Halberg, who recently retired as pastor of the church, along with Mike Sciarra, pastor of Grace Church, Orange, Calif., and Jordan Bakker, pastor of Grace Church, Simi Valley, Calif., shared how the Orange and Simi Valley churches have come alongside the Alta Loma church as they make a transition.

The retreat continues through Wednesday morning, January 31, at The Oaks Camp and Conference Center, Lake Hughes, Calif.


Southwest Focus Retreat Concludes

31 Jan 2018
by Liz Cutler Gates

Clancy Cruise, Jeremy Bury, and Phil Sparling discuss the importance of relationships in the Charis Fellowship.

Those attending the Southwest Focus Retreat are heading home today after 48 hours in the foothills north of Los Angeles.

After lunch on Tuesday, the leaders had the afternoon free for fellowship, golf, archery, or other leisure activities.

The group gathered for dinner then the evening session, which focused on the importance of relationships.

Mark Lingenfelter leads discussion on the new unified ordination process for the Charis Fellowship.

Clancy Cruise, pastor of Grace Church, Marysville, Ohio, and executive director of Charis Fellowship, led Jeremy Bury, executive pastor at Marysville Grace, and Phil Sparling, pastor of Auburn Grace Community Church, Auburn, Calif., as they told the story of how Phil had reached out to Clancy and Jeremy when the Auburn church began to look at developing leaders from within. The Marysville church has an established internship program that Phil hoped to replicate in some way.

Phil realized during the process that they needed to step back and do additional work before creating a similar leadership development program. However, he told the group that he has come to realize that the answers to what he needed was found in the relationships he’d formed within the Charis Fellowship.

On Wednesday morning, the group concluded with a discussion of the new unified examination process for men who desire to serve as a pastor in the Charis Fellowship.

Click here to see additional photos from the retreat via Grace Connect!