18 Nov

NEW IN MINISTRY RETREAT ENCOURAGES PASTORS

RMCNews with Mickey Mallory – Overland Park, Kansas … The Mid-America Union Conference welcomed 42 pastors who are new in ministry, meaning those who haven’t been ordained or commissioned, to a special weekend, November 10–13, with fellowship, relationships, inspiration, and encouragement.

The retreat in Overland Park, Kansas featured guest speaker Charles Tapp, Potomac Conference president, and worship and praise music led by the Central States Conference praise and worship team.

Mikey Archibeque, Denver South Adventist church associate pastor, was thankful for the opportunity to make new connections. “The New in Ministry Retreat was great for connecting with pastors from around MAUC. It was good seeing old friends and making new ones. It is nice to have connections and friendships in ministry because ministry can be lonely sometimes.”

He added, “It was good to hear Tapp’s perspective and wisdom on living in and guiding a community. His perspective on the way that we relate to our churches, as pastors, will stick with me for a long time.”

Jade Covel, Colorado Springs Central Adventist church associate pastor, found the seminars helpful. “The MAUC New in Ministry retreat was very beneficial to me. Charles Tapp gave presentations that reminded me of my call to ministry and that I am not perfect, and that not being perfect is okay. I also got to know some other new pastors in the Union, and I look forward to continuing the friendships started there.”

Many saw the fellowship at the retreat as refreshing “I really enjoyed the time we had to visit with others from other conferences and the time we spent with each other at the meal on Friday,” Lester Bentley, pastor of the Gillette, Wyoming district, said.

Others believe the weekend will help them in the pastoral ministry. “I found this retreat to be a true blessing offering great advice and encouragement that I will carry with me into ministry,” Jeff Pike, pastor of the Riverton, Wyoming district, stated.

The retreat is an important step to invest in the new pastors.

“The first years of ministry are very formative, and it is very important that we expose our new pastors to things that can help them succeed in ministry and life for many years to come,” Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, said.

–RMCNews with Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director; photos supplied

04 Nov

REFLECTION: CHEERING FOR YOUR PASTOR

By Mickey Mallory — In the sports world, players tend to do better when someone cheers them on. Why is this the case? Because when people cheer them on, it encourages them to try harder. To illustrate this point, NBA player Joel Embid remarks, “Every time I’m on the court, every time a fan cheers for me, I just want to go out and make a play for them to cheer even more.”

Just curious, what would happen in the church if we cheered for each other like fans cheer for their favorite player? For example, suppose we made it a point to cheer for our pastor, we chose to respond with a hearty “Amen” when they preached, or we told them in person or via email/text that we appreciate them and believe God is using them. Can you imagine how that would be received? Can you imagine how it would impact their ministry? My guess is it would serve as a huge source of encouragement.

Last month, I was thrilled to hear that several churches in the Rocky Mountain Conference have been cheering their pastor on by showing them appreciation. I asked a few pastors recently to share what it meant to them to experience such appreciation.

“I was so blessed by the way my church family shared their appreciation for me this month! I could tell by the thoughtfulness and enthusiasm that they showed that they meant it from the bottom of their hearts, and it was so gratifying and encouraging to hear how they said ‘Thank you for being one of our pastors,’” Michael Taylor, associate pastor of the Campion church, said.

Godfrey Miranda, Fort Collins church lead pastor, is thankful for his members. “As our church has expressed appreciation in big and small ways the last couple of weeks, I’ve been deeply humbled. It’s awesome to realize that God truly is fulfilling His good plans and purposes, especially since the varying seasons of ministry make you wonder at times. The gestures of appreciation have also communicated a tangible sense of support, that we’re all in this together, that what the church appreciates isn’t just my ministry for them, but with them.”

Way to go, church members. That’s impressive. What you did made not only your pastor smile, but even God Himself, who called them to ministry and is their biggest cheerleader. In the final seconds of the game of life, I believe He is calling every church to join Him in cheering for their pastor and everyone who serves. The following counsel from the writer of Hebrews makes this point very clear:

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25)

These are powerful words. Just think what would happen if every church followed them. Imagine what it would do to the morale. My guess is that church members would be so encouraged that they would want to accomplish even greater things for God. The church would then become a model to the sports world of the benefits of cheering for others.

–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director

21 Oct

STATE OF RMC MINISTRY 2021 – CHALLENGED AND BLESSED

Editor’s note: Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, provides an annual update on pastors, churches, and ministry happening in RMC.

By Mickey Mallory – October and November are the months I get the privilege of visiting with pastors from all over the Rocky Mountain Conference. Called the annual pastoral evaluation, it is a time to hear firsthand how pastors are doing, along with the church(es) they serve.

After meeting with several RMC ministers this month, the overwhelming sentiment is–despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic—that our pastors are living up to the challenge of ministry. God has blessed them abundantly. Below is an example of how some pastors are coping.

Tom Tupito, pastor of Aurora First, shared the following, “I have a wood carving with the inscription on the top of our front door with these words: LIVE WELL, LOVE MUCH, LAUGH OFTEN. Every morning, before leaving the house to do ministry, these phrases remind me of my vertical relationship [with God] and horizontal relationship [with fellowmen], and with our church’s mission statement:  Focusing on Jesus, we witness to the world!  I continue to press forward to LIVE WELL, LOVE MUCH AND LAUGH OFTEN, until The Parousia.”

Doing ministry during the pandemic has been different–unlike anything anyone has experienced. Despite Covid challenging the traditional ways of doing church, our pastors have learned to adapt. Embracing change was good to do even before the pandemic. But now, even more so. If you are not willing to change, you might miss out on opportunities to make a difference in the church and the community.  Jamey Houghton, Franktown church pastor, observed that, “The keys to ministry during a pandemic are flexibility and creativity. You have to think of new ways to do ministry and be ready for everything to change at the last minute.”

By far, the hardest part of the pandemic for pastors, in my opinion, has been seeing the pain and suffering it has caused some of their church members. When someone they love and serve with becomes ill and is not the same for many months afterward, that is tough on them. When they talk about it, you can hear the tears in their voice.

Jason Logan, Greeley District pastor shared that, “Covid has changed many things in our world and has brought many challenges along with it. A specific challenge we have faced in our district is seeing the lives of different individuals completely changed as a result of their bout with the virus. To see someone go from being one of your most active and vibrant members to being in constant healthcare for ten or eleven months and the greatest portion of their energy being expended on just trying to feed their body with enough oxygen is a very heart-wrenching thing to experience. We have constant reminders that many people’s lives have been changed drastically and that any life can change in but a moment.”

If it is possible to find a silver lining in the pandemic, it would be the renewed interest in spiritual things, Lester Bentley, Gillette, Wyoming district pastor, explains. People are searching for answers. Some of them have even shown up at church on Sabbath mornings, including those who used to attend. How exciting!

“The most significant impact on my ministry is that more than any time I can remember, people outside the church are searching the Scriptures, asking questions, and wanting answers. We have an opportunity to share the good news of the everlasting gospel in a Christ-like and loving manner.”

As we continue through this pandemic, please remember our pastors in your prayers in the following ways.

  1. That each pastor will have an attitude of gratitude. It is so easy to become cynical, so pray that our pastors will stay positive and upbeat.
  2. That each pastor will be able to find ways to adapt. Doing things differently can sometimes be very difficult. Pray that our pastors will have the strength to press on despite the challenges.
  3. That each pastor will be comforted in their loss. One of the hardest things in ministry is having to see someone they love suffer.
  4. Pray that each pastor will be able to take advantage of the increased spiritual interest. God can use this crisis to bring many back to Him.

I am a firm believer that when pastors do well, the churches do well also.  Thank you for supporting our pastors and the ministry they are providing.

–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director; photos supplied

14 Jul

COMMENTARY: SUMMER IS FOR PASTORS, TOO …

By Mickey Mallory … The other day, I was using my cell phone when suddenly, the screen went black. I thought initially something was wrong with my phone. “Oh no, I am out of warranty, what will I do?” But then I remembered that my phone had given me a number of warning readings that my battery was dying and I needed to plug in for a recharge. Unfortunately, I got so busy doing other things that I forgot to plug in.

Like cell phones, pastors need recharging also. They need to set aside time when they can get away from the stress and pressure of ministry and be refreshed.  If they choose not to do this, they could eventually end up like my cell phone – DEAD!  And while resurrection power is possible, I think God would rather keep pastors alive and see them thrive in ministry.

One thing that recharges me personally as a pastor is taking vacation time. Whether going to the mountains or to the beach, I always come back refreshed and ready to deal with life and ministry again.

Last week, I took some vacation time and received these benefits:

  • Lots of Rest and Relaxation – It felt great to not be in a hurry and to sometimes just do nothing.
  • Reading – I enjoyed some extended time for reading.
  • Meditating – I loved being able to spend extra time reflecting on how good God has been to me and my family.
  • Exercise – A three-hour-long hike in the mountains was such a great de-stressor.
  • Fun with my family – We had great talks in the hot tub. We even played the board game called Life. Unfortunately, my son stole my salary card, and I didn’t have enough “Life Tiles” to win.

Some pastors will look at everything that is dependent on them and feel that they cannot afford to take vacation time. Though the possibility exists, the things they worry about happening while they are gone will most likely never happen.

Take for example, my recent vacation when I took a whole week off. Thank God that while I was gone:

  • Neither my house nor my office collapsed or burned down.
  • I did not lose post-vacation contact with my fellow workers.
  • I did not miss any earth-shaking decisions.

So, while I was tempted to worry about the work that didn’t get done while I was gone, in reality, everything went as well as could be expected in my absence. Big thanks to those who were available to help if needed, but an even bigger thanks to God who watched over everything while I was gone. I believe the main reason He blessed me so much is because He is pro-vacation. As a pastor Himself, He knows how important it is to get away and “rest awhile”. (Mk. 6:31)

In order for your pastor to have peace of mind while on vacation, below are a few things the church can do:

  • Encourage your pastor to take vacation time. Most get at least two weeks a year. This time is meant to be used for a recharge.
  • Make sure the pastor’s vacation date(s) is on the church calendar. This way there won’t be anything on those days that is solely dependent on the pastor.
  • Make sure the core leadership team of the church knows the pastor’s vacation dates and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Ask the pastor before they take off on vacation to contact a pastor close to where the church is located to cover in the event of an emergency, like a funeral.
  • Put an announcement in your bulletin/email that communicates to the church members that the pastor is on vacation and who to contact in their absence.
  • Pray for your pastor when they are taking vacation time. Pray that God will protect them and bless them with a great time.

As much as pastors are on the giving end, they also need to be on the receiving end. Vacations are a great opportunity for them to receive a recharge. Trust me, the time they spend away from ministry will help them be even more effective when they return.

The next time you plug your cell phone in, I would like to invite you to think of your pastor and, for that matter, all of the spiritual leaders who serve in the church. Once they are recharged, they will be able to perform great tasks so their Light will shine much brighter.

Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director; photo by iStock

11 May

NEXT GEN PASTOR TRAINING AT CAMPION CHURCH

By Mickey Mallory — Loveland, Colorado … A group of fourteen high school students gathered on May 5 at Campion church to sit down and discuss and ask questions about full time church ministry in the future.

The meeting, called Next Gen Pastors was an innovative initiative by the North America Division, in an attempt to recruit young people for full-time church ministry.

Students appreciated the willingness of ministers, both current and retired, to take the time and talk with them.

Campion Academy senior Jayden Anggormas shared that “it was an eye-opening experience and I enjoyed it very much. It was amazing to receive advice from other Pastors and it continued to motivate me to pursue ministry. I would love to see more involvement in years to come. It reminds me that God will put people in my life to help me pursue His work.”

Shelby Waller, Campion Academy junior also appreciated the helpful discussion. “The Next Gen Pastor’s meeting was really helpful to me. It helped me realize that there are lots of pastors that are willing to mentor me and walk beside me. This meeting really encouraged me to go forward in my goal to become a chaplain because I know that both God and a pastor, can and will be by my side the whole time.”

The panel involved the Campion church pastors, Dick Stenbakken, retired military chaplain, and Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director.  Students asked questions which included: How do you know you are called to full-time ministry; What can you do right now to help prepare for a life calling; What schooling do you need to prepare for full-time ministry; and how do you go about finding a ministry position once you are done with your education.

For Campion lead pastor Micheal Goetz, he was encouraged by the student’s questions. He remarked, “It was surreal for me to see 14 high school students come to have their questions answered about serving God in some kind of full-time ministry. It was for me in high school when a pastor took a moment one Wednesday evening to answer my questions that I first thought the service of a pastor could be God’s calling on me. To be at a place to pass it on was humbling.”

Beginning next school year, the dream is to provide ongoing support for students who feel called to full-time ministry at Campion church. They would involve not only meetings with guest presenters, but also job training where students would be given the chance to experiment with the gifts that God has given them.

If you know of a high school student who is interested in full-time ministry and would benefit from future Next Gen Meetings, please email Pastor Micheal Goetz at [email protected]

–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director; photos supplied

25 Mar

MATTHEW HASTY ORDAINED TO GOSPEL MINISTRY

By RMCNews with Mickey Mallory – Loveland, Colorado … More than 750 people gathered online and in-person on March 20 to witness Matthew Hasty, Literature Ministries coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Conference, being ordained to the gospel ministry.

Hasty traces his ministerial calling to a book he read by E.G. White, Colporteur Ministry, when he was age 15. “Through that book,” he shared, “God called me to participate in literature evangelism.” After many summers of participating in student literature evangelism during college, he into full-time literature ministry, leading a number of student programs in Michigan and Indiana. In 2019, he accepted the call to serve in the Rocky Mountain Conference.

Addressing those gathered for Hasty’s ordination, former teacher Elder Larry Carter, retired Literature Ministry director of the Pacific Union Conference and founder of SOULS West Bible College, remarked that he was very impressed with Matt as a student because “he not only had a knowledge of the Scriptures, but a knowledge of what those Scriptures meant.”

Carter went on to say that Hasty had a determination to succeed, which helped make him a successful student.

Reflecting on Hasty’s ministry, Mickey Mallory, RMC Ministerial director commented, “God shines through [Hasty’s student evangelists]. He is using them to make a major difference at Campion and around the conference during the summers when he takes student teams out to serve.”

Pastors from area churches, as well as leaders of the Conference, participated in the ordination celebration held at Campion Church.

Hasty, reflecting on this life changing moment was appreciative of the support shown by the area ministers and RMC conference staff who attended. Matthew and Amanda, his spouse were especially thankful for family and many friends who has shown them support throughout the years.

RMCNews with Mickey Mallory who is RMC Ministerial director; photos supplied

18 Mar

CHURCH LEADERS PROVIDED MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING

By Mickey Mallory – Denver, Colorado … Pastors, conference leaders, and church members joined via Zoom March 8–10 for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training sponsored by Centura Health.

The session was designed to equip spiritual leaders in RMC with relevant information that can be used to train members in their respective communities.

For some of the participants, this was a training they been awaiting. “I have often wondered how to be a good stepping-stone for a person in our community who is experiencing a mental health crisis and how to get them plugged in to professional care,” Mikey Archibique, Denver South’s associate pastor said. “This program was a big step forward for me as a pastor in learning how to communicate and support people experiencing mental health problems in my community.”

The need for training is clear according to Dr. Eric Shaddle, group vice-president of Mission Integration for Centura Health. “This training helps us understand [more clearly] that mental health is one important part of health. By training pastors to teach this course, we are equipping the most trusted members of society to teach MHFA classes that will help the people in their communities.”

The organizer of the training, Ashleigh Phillips, said, “It is my hope that classes will soon be provided to members and the communities where these individuals serve.” Phillips is the Provider for Outreach & Community Relations for Porter Adventist Hospital – Behavioral Health Services.

The training gave examples of the importance of compassion. “Going through a course like this broadens ones understanding and compassion for those who might struggle with mental health challenges,” said Jason Logan, Greeley church pastor.

Seth Day, co-pastor of LifeSource Adventist Fellowship echoed Logan’s comments. “The information presented was vital to me as a pastor working in the surrounding community where mental illness is prevalent.”

For others, this was one of the most important trainings they have received.  “MHFA Training is the most heart-filled, science-based, student-friendly program for bringing help, hope and recovery to people living with mental health problems I have ever attended,” said Evgeni Kovachev, pastor of Denver South church.

“It was an incredible training that we can’t wait to begin implementing in our department. We’re looking forward to also becoming trained instructors for Youth Mental Health First Aid,” Jessyka Dooley, RMC assistant youth director said.

Phillips, the Provider for Outreach & Community Relations for Porter Adventist Hospital – Behavioral Health Services, stated that “Centura Health wants to support Rocky Mountain Conference in bringing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) classes to their members and communities to reduce mental health stigma, improve mental health, and save lives.”

–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director; photo supplied

16 Feb

MINISTERS REFRESHED AND REENERGIZED AT 2021 RETREAT

RMCNews with Mickey Mallory – Pastors from around the Rocky Mountain Conference gathered on Zoom for a two-day retreat that not only reenergized them, but provided seminars by various speakers to encourage the ministers who have, like many, been dealing with the challenges of the on-going pandemic.

Among the many seminars which refreshed RMC ministers was the presentation by Dr. Ranko Stefanović, professor of New Testament Studies at Andrews University Seminary who “gave a refresher class on The Revelation of Jesus Christ” according to one minister.

“I sat at the feet of Dr. Stefanović in both my undergraduate and seminary studies. I was refreshed to hear [his] presentations on [The Book of] Revelation,” Nestor Soriano, associate pastor of the Campion church said.

Frank Fournier, pastor of Eden Valley church commented on Dr. Stefanović’ presentations, saying, “The books of Daniel and Revelation and his expert commentary excited me. I found every aspect discussed interesting and relevant. Mostly, it awakened in me a sense of humility. There definitely is more going on than I have ever understood.”

The meetings also included a chance for those who gathered to check in and fellowship with each other even if only through a computer screen.

“It was great being able to see everyone’s faces again. Having gone through the pandemic for almost a year now, just to see everyone alive and functioning was truly a miracle of God’s grace,” Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director said.

Ed Barnett, RMC president, who concluded the meetings with a message of appreciation and encouragement, appreciated that an invitation was given to Dr. Stefanović to share his scholarship and inspire the pastors. “Over the years, I have preached and presented outreach programs on the messages of both Daniel and Revelation. Dr. Stefanović makes his commentary fresh and relevant. It was a treat to have him meet with our ministers and to listen to him.”

Pastors are looking forward to when the pandemic is over and people can safely gather together.

“I have been very impressed with their resiliency during such a difficult time in the history of this country. None of them, including myself, ever had a class on how to do ministry during a pandemic, but yet they have made the best of things–trying to make a difference in spite of the challenging times,” Mallory commented.

Steve Nelson, pastor of Cody Church district, Wyoming, commented: “God truly blessed this year’s ministry meetings with wonderful devotionals and stirring presentations.”

–RMCNews with Mickey Mallory who is RMC ministerial director

29 Jul

PASTOR WAYNE NAZARENUS RETIRES AFTER 46 YEARS

By Mickey Mallory — Colorado Springs, Colorado … “I wish we had more people like Wayne in the world today. He has set the bar for what a true Christian looks like,” commented Lonnie Hetterle, RMC education superintendent. “Pastor Wayne has been a major steady, solid, consistent influence wherever he has been. His walk with Christ is inspirational. His support of Christian education is exemplary.”

Hetterle was addressing participants of a retirement farewell for Pastor Wayne Nazarenus and his wife, Karen, held July 25 at the Colorado Springs South Seventh-day Adventist Church. Nazarenus retired after 46 years in pastoral ministry, with 41 of those years in the Rocky Mountain Conference.

He started full-time ministry on December 15, 1972 with a prior six years as associate pastor intern in Kansas City, Missouri. His full-time pastorate included several churches: Pueblo, Colorado Springs South, and Pueblo West, as well as part-time ministry in the Trinidad Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The impact of Pastor Wayne’s ministry at Colorado Springs South was obvious, according to Jack Bohannon, church elder and retired pastor. “Wayne had a tremendous impact on me and the congregation,” he said. He was not only an excellent storyteller for the children, a good Sabbath School teacher and a spiritual preacher, but was also dedicated to the church’s visitation and Bible study program. Bohannon shared that “the South [Colorado Springs] congregation owes a lot to the  Nazarenus family. We felt that his devotion to us should be rewarded–in a public sense.”

Describing his own spiritual journey, on which Nazarenus had a major impact, Colorado Springs South member Lucas Lujan shared that “Pastor Wayne modeled a Christlike attitude in a way that made me want to read the Bible to learn more about Jesus. In fact, he encouraged me to read the Bible for myself to see if the things he taught were so. Pastor Wayne will probably never know exactly how many lives he has touched with his ministry until the Lord Jesus reveals it to him in Heaven. [It would be nice] if the kindness, love, gentleness, and meekness I witnessed in this man’s ministry could be multiplied in every encounter every person has with a Christian.”

With Hetterle representing the Rocky Mountain Conference at the retirement event, Mickey Mallory, ministerial director, spoke these words, “When considering the impact of the ministry of Pastor Wayne and Karen, Pastor Mallory believes that the affirmation given in the Parable of the Talents would be applicable to them also:  Well done, good and faithful servant for you have been faithful. (Matt. 25:21).”

Pastor Wayne and Karen were very touched by the outpouring of love and appreciation at the ceremony. He commented, “The farewell celebration Sabbath at Colorado Springs South warmed our hearts. We appreciated the many statements affirming our ministry. It has been a great blessing to us serving the Colorado Springs South and Trinidad churches in our retirement. We will miss our church families in Colorado.” Pastor Wayne and his wife recently celebrated 50 years of marriage and will be moving to Lagrange, Georgia to be closer to one of their children and their grandchildren.

Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director; photos supplied