Dear Rocky Mountain Conference Family,
As I look back over my 42 years of ministry, the fourteen years Shirley and I have spent in the Rocky Mountain Conference were some of our best years. Six and half of those years we pastored at Denver South Church. We loved our time there. The last seven and half years were spent as president of the Conference. We have served more time in this Conference than any other during our ministry.
As president, I have realized more than ever what a large territory we serve. Wyoming and Colorado are big by themselves, but when we add a portion of New Mexico it becomes a very large territory. Not only is it large, but it is also very diverse when it comes to philosophies of doing church and the approach to life itself. Colorado’s Eastern Slope is affluent and liberal. Wyoming and the Western side of Colorado are quite conservative. New Mexico is unique in its lifestyle and attitudes. This diversity of thinking and being makes running the church organization and accomplishing its mission interesting, to say the least. Take dealing with pandemic issues, for example. Wyoming had very few restrictions while Colorado was rather strict in following regulations. In the La Vida Mission area, you would find some of the most stringent restrictions anywhere in the United States.
The Conference needs to be in the middle of the road in the way we operate. We should recognize people on both sides of the road who will, nevertheless, be unhappy with us at times.
It has been an honor to serve here as your church leader. The Lord has blessed our time in this part of His vineyard. I have loved working in our conference office with the great group of department leaders we’ve been blessed with. Each of them has gone way beyond the call of duty, a demonstration of their relationship with God. I thank Him for each of my colleagues.
In the last 7-8 months, we have had a large personnel turnover in the office. Such change always makes people a bit nervous. But I can tell you that God is in control of the Rocky Mountain Conference, and I see Him building a new team that will take our church forward in a powerful way. Our Executive Committee is one of the best I have ever worked for. They are God-led, and I see them assembling a new leadership group that will be a blessing in the mission of the Conference.
It has been my great privilege to work with the pastors and educators of this Conference and to witness the dedication and passion they exhibit for our kids and our entire membership. They are second to none and the whole church will be blessed as they continue to point the young people of this conference, to Jesus.
A worrisome issue in the Rocky Mountain Conference is its aging membership. We must make reaching and keeping our young people a priority. Without a concerted effort, some of our small-town churches will dry up and close. Another concern is how slowly our people are returning to church since the beginning of the pandemic. We cannot stop assembling with our brothers and sisters in church as we need the warmth and encouragement, we receive from each other. Just this week a friend from another Conference said, “I think the shaking is taking place.” That stopped me in my tracks.
So, although you will have challenges to face, I leave you with the confidence that you are in good hands. May I thank each of you for being a loving member in our Conference. God is in charge so I know that things will move forward in Rocky Mountain Conference before this old world concludes its journey. Although Shirley and I will be slowing down in retirement, we do plan to come back and visit frequently.
May God bless each one of you! Maranatha!
Ed Barnett, RMC president