The core team chaos has begun. With two weeks into core team training, there has been a lot to unpack from. The leadership team and the interns who fill in this year’s core team roster have been active in learning all the material that forms part of the summer curriculum. And while the details of the processes of it all are beneficial, to the ever listening ears of the friends and supporters of B.C.E, we decided to turn back the clock a little this time. We decided to look a the history and reminisce the growth of this key area of the core team ministry being done at B.C.E. We spoke with some of the leadership at B.C.E and past core team members for a more acute view into the ever-growing ministry of the Core team.
We caught up with Leah this week who has been busy tidying up the material for the summer curriculum and sharing from her great knowledge of ministry throughout her years of founding and directing the ministry at B.C.E. We spoke of the birth of the core team. She shared that way back circa 2012, one young man wanted to commit to an entire summer of ministry. Two young men quickly heard about the opportunity and also wanted to join. There was no physical space available for them to stay at the base so the leadership had to rent an apartment for them to have and stay around the city where camps were taking place. This opportunity gave them the ability to have an early framework of devotional and viewing leadership training videos together with the idea of spiritual and leadership growth in the community.
The next year saw the implementation of more serious or specific roles for the core team. They had even more defined roles during the ministry of the camp. They have some females members join the team, and the core team’s launch was more pronounced this year. The team began coming 3 weeks before the start of camps and starting training and getting briefed on camp material. This year the leadership saw the potential of having a dedicated group of young people to live in the community and do the hard work of teaching and being intentional with the volunteers during the summer ministry.
2014 began to mark a new era for the core team ministry at B.C.E. This was Ms. Blanco’s first year of interning at B.C.E. While Ms. Blanco has been a regular face at B.C.E, even she had a day 1 in the history of this ministry. The facilities that they had available were full to the brim. (the building for kids house, the alliance house, and the guest rooms under the Perez’s home)
Just like before there was a steady stream of young people ready to serve during the summer. The framework looked similar to today’s framework. There was one month of training and team building and leadership. Leah would lead the leadership training. This month they would also dedicate themselves to learning the material for summer and living in the community. It was an intense time of learning. This particular opportunity allowed young people to do missions in their own country and of course facilitating the grander vision to see Belize change Belize. Ms. Blanco’s role was to stay in the house as a house leader and be intentional in doing activities with the people staying there. And also working in their spiritual development. She would do these activities but most of it was informal. The people coming were people who were typically just graduated from bible school. With a lot of theory in ministry and the missions but not a lot of practical experience. But this opportunity gave a springboard into the work and missions that had been started at B.C.E.
Between the years of 2015-2017, the camps and ministry ran mirroring the same framework of the previous year. In 2016 the directors were off on sabbatical and the ministry was being run by an interim director. In 2017 when they returned from their sabbatical and ran camp ministry the way that was planned for the year before by the interim director. But during the execution of the plan, the directors made a key observation that would yet again shape the direction of the ministry. The running of two camps, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. It came at a high price for the people involved in it. It was draining and impractical to be running full days of camp at different locations. Leaving no more for being intentional and for the core team and volunteers to be intentional in fellowship.
2017 saw a key player jump back in the team. With her stint of teaching behind her, Ms. Blanco came with a fresh spirit to serve and mold the core team ministry. In our conversation, she said this year noted that the young people coming in were struggling with their faith walk. The conversation about the goal of the ministry at B.C.E was that hope was needed for Belize. She felt that the young people were sharing out of memory. The material was undoubtedly good and they did a good job in presenting, but carry no real weight to the youth leading it. With these things in mind, the launch of the afternoon program came about. There needed to be more intentional time with the youth and with this goal in mind the afternoon “refresh and refocus” programs were launched. This gave us the much-needed time for the people volunteering and the core team to be in the community even more so than previous years with leadership pushing team building, leadership lessons, and highlighting the importance of living in a community with other believers.
The years of 2018-2019 saw much of the same effort to value the people coming in and focus on their identity as further leaders or missionaries in Belize. The launch of the snack shop at the base gave Ms. Blanco the perfect gateway into what the core team was processing during their time there, and have a readily available snack for the team. The language began to shift. We didn’t just want to be running programs, and missing the hearts of the young people God had entrusted in our care according to Ms. Blanco. This saw also the era of themes for the core team. Among some of them were “For the audience of one”, the focus being that young people would do everything as only God was watching. This year core team was launched under the theme “I am a leader”, which emphasizes the natural leading capabilities in each individual that forms part of the team. These weren’t handy slogans, and look good t-shirt, these were core values and identity to be forged in the core team. Lasting well beyond the scant months of summer and hopeful well into their remainder of lives.
A common analogy here it at B.C.E is that B.C.E operates like a greenhouse. People come in they are nurtured, they are given a safe place to grow. And after this period of growth, they are planted elsewhere to give fruit. In the ministry of the core team, there was a lot of development, learning, and getting wrong to take us to the place where B.C.E can say this what they do. The lessons are always found in every single step of the journey. In the steps taken to improve, in the years when the mark was missed. But wholeheartedly with all stakes on the table, B.C.E has decided to wager and that there is still a generation led by God to change their nation. Leah’s vision for the core team is that there is a succession and readily available window for the young people to serve their country. Maybe it might start as being a kid in the camps. Then that kid might be inspired to volunteer. Then might see the core team as the next step and join it. Then might commit to the internship program. Finally, be led to be a missionary here at B.C.E or go back to their local church and ministry and continue the good work. And so core teams serve as a gateway into not only growth but as a stepping stone into the grander vision at B.C.E. and the history of its growth solidifies that belief that Belize can change Belize.