Deep Leadership Development: The Come Up Retreat

by Kathy Pham and Lina Bell


by Kathy Pham and Lina Bell

The Come Up Internship runs throughout the year with a cohort of hand-picked student leaders, meeting weekly, offering them significant leadership opportunities in our community, and doing the deep work of character building with Jesus as the main role-model, guide, and source of strength. Here is a report from our latest Come Up retreat... with powerful student testimonies.

Our hope for The Come Up Internship is to portray Jesus’ characteristics in our lives; specifically leadership with Jesus as our model. During our retreat, we focused on the events that occurred within Passion Week. The high school students examined how Jesus and the surrounding people initiated and reacted to key events in the passages. We learned the root Hebrew word for passion: suffering.  To better illustrate passion, we watched the film The Passion of the Christ.  The film exposed a lot of darkness!  After Jesus was crucified the screen blackouts and the stone is rolled away, the light begins to appear in the scene, comparably in our own lives we experience darkness and if allow it, God can pierce through the darkness and exemplify His light and sovereignty in our lives.  
After, art therapist, Lisa Kemble led our creative response. We created boxes which recognized the darkness that is prevalent in our lives and artistically depicted the amount of light we allow in it.  Boxes differed based on how much permission we allowed Light to enter into our darkness. *April painted a monster inside her box and drew a beautiful tree on the outside of her box.  She used the same colors inside and outside of the box because that is what God does; He redeems our darkness.
The spirit of God was moving throughout the day:
  • *Jasmine admitted that she shared the same behavior as Peter when he denied Jesus. She confesses that when it comes to her friends she doesn’t acknowledge and share her relationship with God, in a sense she denies Jesus.
  • *Brian identified and acknowledged Christ’s pain!  He was shocked by the pain Jesus endured and questioned why anyone would allow that to happen to Him.   
  • *Melody realized that God’s work isn’t something of the past but He is working in our lives now, *Melody said, “God has been saying a lot…that being perfect is not my objective but being human is.”
During the personal response time, students were asked to raise their hands to reveal where their hearts were. Half decided to actively seek Jesus!  They now are investigating what it means for them to live a life with and for Jesus with hopes to be world changers, truth tellers, and leaders in their own lives and the lives of their community.  The other half of the students reaffirmed their commitment to journey with Jesus and wanted to strengthen their relationship and intentionally live for Him!  
(*names changed to protect privacy)