SAU CFDD
May 062009
 

From left, Chuck Brock, Matt Ronnfeldt (top), Karl Kofmehl, Stevie Ray and Alicia Brock make up band “1 of 12.” In January, they launched Leap of Faith Ministries Organization.

By Celine Klosterman

When four University of Iowa students started a band called Leap of Faith in 2006, their goal was to help young people make “leaps of faith” in their transition-filled lives.

Now, those four members, plus a fifth who joined last June, are making a leap of faith of their own.

In January, the group formed Leap of Faith Ministries Organization to help promote Christian musicians, speakers and retreat leaders and connect them to religious groups looking to book them. They’ve so far signed a speaker, Heather Simmons, and their own band, now called “1 of 12” to distinguish it from their larger organization.

They’re also kicking off a capital campaign to raise $3,000 to $5,000 for their new venture.

“We started as a band, but we always wanted to go above and beyond,” said Chuck Brock, youth minister at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City and one of five performers with 1 of 12. The others are his wife, Alicia Brock; Stevie Ray; Karl Kofmehl; and Matt Ronnfeldt.

Since forming their group, the young Christians — four Catholics and one Methodist — have added retreats and motivational speaking to their repertoire. So they wanted to create an organization to define themselves as more than musical performers.

They want to help others with budding ministries, too. Potential performers and speakers can contact Leap of Faith, which will connect them with, for example, a retreat team; coach them; and promote their work.

“When you start out, you’re clueless about where to go,” said Chuck. And for youth ministers and other religious leaders, Leap of Faith Ministries Organization offers a place to find new performers for rallies and retreats.

But some of the biggest beneficiaries of Leap of Faith have been its own founders. “This ministry helps us grow in faith as much as it helps other people,” said Chuck.

Witnessing about having overcome a spiritual challenge renews your faith, Alicia said.

“I’ve learned a lot more about Catholicism,” said Karl.

Not that keeping faith in the ministry has always been easy. Though they’ve performed in five states and have become regular faces at diocesan youth rallies, during booking dry spells, discouragement can set in, said Chuck.

Praise from fans keeps the band members going during such times. So does the members’ ultimate goal of serving God — which they do humbly, said Pat Finan, diocesan youth ministry coordinator. “They’re all incredibly flexible and do whatever needs to be done to help our events succeed. But they’re never bigger than the event. There’s no ego, even when we need them to cut a set short to help us stay of schedule. At the same time, I think they’re grateful for every minute they have to praise God through their music.”

They’ve been “such a blessing” to diocesan rallies, Finan said.

The group is grateful for successes it has had thus far.  “Our band has had strong chemistry since day one,” said Chuck. There’s been tension, but all the original members are still together, he pointed out.

“When we started out, we thought we’d only do this for a few weeks,” said Karl. With each new step the band made, concern arose: Would the ministry work out?  “Now, it’s not so much whether we’re going to keep going, but what we’re going to do next.”

For more information, visit www.leapoffaithonline.com

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