2014 SOS Leadership Summit Recap


We are so excited and exhilarated  after hosting the second-ever SOS Leadership Summit!  We had 32 participants come to 2505 Poplar Avenue for a long weekend retreat over President's Day weekend.  The participants have been nominated to attend by their leaders as students among their group who exhibit leadership qualities and have participated in SOS Summer camps.

There are four purposes behind the SOS Leadership Summit:

  • We hope to help develop godly leaders to serve over self in their home churches.
  • We hope to train students to translate what they've experienced at SOS into their “real world.”
  • We hope to develop potential future summer staff and Academy interns.
  • Most importantly, we hope to grow students affections for Jesus Christ and give them an increased understanding of how to live this out.

SOS full-time staff, Academy interns, and one summer staff alumna led the weekend.  The weekend had a mix of community building, servant leadership training, and Binghampton experiences.

These were some of the main things that our Leaders were taught this weekend:

  • Jesus served us when we were poor and reconciled us back to God.  Numerous Biblical accounts speak of God caring for the poor and the gospel should compel us to care and love for others, especially the vulnerable.
  • Alan Barnhart shared about how he stewards his money and business.  He said, "The opposite of consumption is Kingdom Investment."  Alan says that all of our resources and possessions are God's.
  • Marlon "Big Dog" Brown shared about how he endured racism, beatings, drug addiction, homelessness, and jail to then come to know and trust Jesus as His savior.  He now operates the Big Dog Street Ministry and Leaders had the chance to meet some of Big Dog's friends who he is trying to share the gospel with in word and deed.
  • All gifts are to be used for God's mission; since they are His gifts to us, they are His tools.  We are to serve others and be good stewards of ourselves for sake of the gospel.

Students came from Holland, MI; San Antonio, TX; Birmingham, AL; Longview, TX; Columbia, MO; Madisonville, KY; Ripley, TN; French Camp, MS; and 16 from MEMPHIS!

We believe that this group of Leaders will go on to serve our Lord in Memphis and to the ends of the earth!

These are some responses from the students who participated in the weekend:

 “You don’t have to be an ordained minister to be a minister -- every occupation can be a mission field.”

“That God can use my weaknesses to His glory, and they can end up being my strengths through Him.”

“God changed me by showing me that not everyone can do the same job.  We all have different abilities / parts of the body of Christ.”

“SOS was definitely what I expected it to be.  I expected the lecture sessions to lay down tips and guidelines for being a leader of Christ.  I quickly learned that it was not a sit and listen, but more of a sit and think kind of lesson.  The speakers gave personal experiences and how they handled those times.  During a lot of personal reflection time, I prayed and found out a way to use and spread the gospel that is unique to me.”

“I learned more about the ability we have to do ministry in the workplace.  Alan Barnhart’s session was extremely helpful in this as well as the emphasis on stewarding the specific gifts God has given us.”

“I’ve been reminded of the simplicity of having faith in Christ’s sacrifice for us.  The Lord brought me back to a place of astonishment at the idea that He would serve me.  I’ve been reminded of the everlasting motivation of the gospel.”

“Sunday night when we had a pickup worship service, it reminded me of how we can worship freely in this country.”

“I learned that you can serve God & give Him glory no matter where you are - like you don’t need to wait.  I also just learned that there is brokenness everywhere - even in the ‘best places’.”

“God changed me because He gave me a heart that appreciates the beauty of community even more.  All of us come from different places & barely knew each other.  But here was Jesus...He brought us together.  I’m looking forward to taking that perspective with me as I travel home.”

“I learned, or more relearned, the importance of compassion, applied in ministering to people with the use of gentleness.”