Big Picture: SRAs Inspired to Grow Healthy Groups at Bloom Retreat

“It was refreshing, inspirational and just what we needed! … I so enjoyed soaking in ideas, vision and fellowship.”

Cheryl Lee Davis

Cheryl Lee Davis, Vice President of Women’s Connection

This is how one of the Stonecroft Regional Administrators (SRAs) described her experience at the Bloom retreat in January.

Thirty-two SRAs traveled to Kansas City to join Stonecroft staff and event guests to explore how to help grow healthy Women’s Connection Groups in their regions.

The retreat provided SRAs a time of fellowship and renewal as well as an opportunity to further engage in the Stonecroft mission and vision, says Cheryl Lee Davis, Vice President of Women’s Connection. In particular, the event helped to prepare volunteers for what Cheryl calls the “next season of Stonecroft,” which includes new avenues of evangelism and mission-focused local organizations called “Hubs” (or Stonecroft “Your Community”), previously known as “Affiliates.”

“Thank you for providing the perfect balance of inspiration and training!”

– an SRA retreat participant

The retreat also equipped SRAs with resources to help them meet key Women’s Connection goals: inviting more nonbelieving women as first-time guests, involving more Christian women, and offering more Stonecroft Bible Studies as follow-ups to events and Groups.

 Evangelism Resources Director Jessica Leep Fick

Jessica Leep Fick, Evangelism Resources Director

During the retreat, SRAs also heard presentations from and interacted with Stonecroft President and CEO Lorraine Potter Kalal and other Stonecroft staff members – and visited the Home Office, where much of the program was held. The event was the first volunteer gathering of its size hosted at Stonecroft’s Overland Park, Kansas, office since its 2014 relocation.

Marketing and Communications Director David Bickley

David Bickley, Marketing and Communications Director

The event also featured idea exchanges, brainstorming sessions, skits by the Cracked Pots, training on The Story of Now evangelism tool by Evangelism Resources Director Jessica Leep Fick, and a question-and-answer time with Marketing and Communications Director David Bickley. Inspirational highlights included worship led by Jeri Howe, prayer facilitated by National Prayer Liaison Meryl Bishop, a spiritual challenge from Lorraine, and a commissioning prayer.

Retreat participants also enjoyed a pizza supper and fellowship time at Lorraine’s home. After the meal some of the SRAs shared how God worked across their regions during the past year. They told of answered prayers, unexpected encounters with nonbelieving women, and situations when God intervened to do something much bigger than what volunteers imagined possible.

Most importantly, SRAs told stories of women who came to saving faith in Jesus Christ through Stonecroft volunteers, Outreach events, and Stonecroft Bible Studies.

Cindy Simmons, SRA in San Antonio, Texas, told about an Outreach event when the Speaker didn’t show up because of a miscommunication of the event date. Leadership Team members were “starting to get panicky,” she recalls. Cindy prayed for wisdom; God gave her an idea. She walked around the room and tapped on the shoulders of three women she knew well. “When I call your name, come to the front,” she requested.

Later Cindy told the crowd: “We don’t have a Speaker today, but we have something new and different for you – a panel discussion.” She then called her three friends to the front and asked them to address these topics: (1) Tell about a time God encouraged you; and (2) When did you ask Jesus Christ to become the Lord of your life? She and her friends ad-libbed the entire presentation, with Cindy also sharing a few stories of her own.

Afterward, four women in the audience – including two first-time guests – prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.

That day God reminded Cindy and the Leadership Team of three important truths: “God always has a plan. He responds immediately to prayer when we are in need. And, as Stonecroft women, we are trained and ready to share our faith –  and in five minutes!” says Cindy. “I will forever say that Stonecroft has some of the best (evangelism) training there is!”

“Inspired to see how God is moving and how (He) can use each one of us in our unique ways to reach women for Christ.”

– another participating SRA

“The SRAs were so pumped up about taking back to their areas what they gained during the retreat. They were excited to infuse into their (teams) the love of our staff and the support they have here in our Home Office,” Cheryl notes. “They returned home encouraged and ready to see God move.”

Cheryl adds that it personally inspired her to see the SRAs’ enthusiasm and continued commitment to share the Gospel. “Stonecroft volunteers are women who love the Lord, and their lives have been changed because of Jesus. And that motivates them,” she says. “Their love for the Lord, their knowledge of His love for them, their desire to see people come to Jesus … These women never stop bringing up Jesus in their conversations with others.”