The Newfoundland and Labrador Division held a leadership development weekend at Twin Ponds Camp near Gander, N.L., from September 25-27, 2015. Under the theme Cultivate, more than 200 leaders from throughout the division were invited to attend to gain foundational skills in Christian leadership and character.
Majors David and Brenda Allen, principal and director of spiritual formation at the College for Officer Training (CFOT), were keynote speakers and workshop presenters throughout the weekend, along with presenters from territorial headquarters and around the division. The weekend was supported by Lt-Colonel Douglas and Jean Hefford, divisional leaders, and Laura Rowsell, who with her team led worship throughout the weekend.
“Since leadership development is one of our divisional priorities, we consider this weekend a great investment into the lives and leadership of local Salvationists and believe it further equipped and helped cultivate within them greater effectiveness,” says Major Sandra Stokes, area commander, Newfoundland and Labrador Division.
Friday evening’s keynote and the Sunday morning session were the spiritual bookends for the weekend, emphasizing the importance of living and leading out of a heart of holiness. Participants were reminded that, as Christian leaders, they must be grounded in God and allow him to continually cultivate in them the fruit of the Spirit in order to make a difference in their homes, churches and communities.
The conference began with Major David Allen, who spoke on the parable of the sower (Matthew 13). Participants were challenged to consider the soil of their hearts and be attentive to the cultivation that might be necessary. “If we allow thorns and thistles to remain, it will take over and ruin the garden of our hearts,” Major Allen said.
On Saturday morning, Major Brenda Allen shared from 2 Peter, highlighting how precious our faith is and when other spiritual qualities are applied to our hearts and lives, they keep us from being ineffective and unproductive. “Activity without cultivating the heart will lead to boredom, tiredness and a critical spirit,” she said.
Several workshops on leadership topics were offered on Saturday, followed by a time for “table talk” and a panel discussion with special guests and workshop presenters. Workshops included: Soul-care/Self-care (Major Marlene George); Mental Health (Aubrey Vincent); Realities of Rural Ministries (Howard Bridger); Leading Through Contentious Issues (Captain Pamela Pinksen); The Positive Side of Social Media (Captain Tim Andrews); The Church as a Good Neighbour (Major Peter Rowe); Discipleship (Major Brenda Allen); Leadership and the Importance of Building an Effective Team (Major David Allen); The Role of the Corps Sergeant-major (Major Wayne Pike and Sandra Pinksen); Family Matters, Re-Calibrate and Atmospheric Pressure (Kevin and Sheryl Slous); and Mentoring Youth (Heidi and Brian Adams).
The weekend concluded on Sunday morning with Major David Allen focusing on John 15, the parable of the vine and the branches. Leaders must be connected to the Vine–our source of life–if we are to live and lead like him, said Major Allen.
Delegates were invited to sign a commitment card and attach it to the vine as an indication of their desire to stay close to God and allow the cultivation to continue.