29 Sep


By Ed Barnett — As I am writing this editorial on the last day of my work in the Rocky Mountain Conference, I gave myself into a moment of wondering what our church would be like a generation on, say in 2040. It is a random choice of a year, but a worthwhile moment of imagining the future.

Now believe me, I hope we are in heaven long before 2040! But if that is not the case, what will the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America look like? I am not a prophet, but after 42 years in ministry I have seen some trends that I believe will continue and I imagine they will have a profound effect on our church as we know it today. Let me illustrate.

First, the small congregations which have, in many ways, been the backbone for the church, will continue to dry up and eventually cease to exist. Many of the towns that they are in are already on the verge of collapse as well. The little rural towns throughout Wyoming and the eastern plains of Colorado today are not the thriving communities that they once were. The same goes for farming. The small farms will be gone. Some of my friends are farmers and they have 3,500 acres of land and these can keep up with the farm equipment available today, but the little prairie farms are simply going away.

Another trend that I am seeing is that the big churches in Denver, for instance, are struggling because as more and more people are priced out of the cities, they move out further and further away from the city centers. Some of our major churches that have, over the years, subsidized the small ones are shrinking as people are commuting to the churches out in the suburbs instead.

So, what will happen to our church? What should we expect?

First, thank goodness God oversees His Church. He will continue to guide it through the turbulent times we are living in. Ellen White, the church’s founding pioneer, says the church will look like it is going to fall apart, but it will go forward till the end. All is not bleak.

You must admit that here in the United States, we have had it pretty cushy when it comes to our church. A lot of times, the pastors just spend time taking care of the saints. They really haven’t spent a lot of time out in the world winning souls for God’s Kingdom. Many of our members feel it is the pastor’s job to do both the congregational work and the soul winning. And if he or she is not able to do it, then they recommend hiring an associate pastor or a Bible worker to do it. Someday, some way, we need to realize that every one of us is called by God to do the work of ministry. Every one of us needs to be involved in the soul winning mission.

It wouldn’t surprise me if, in many areas, we may have to hold more home churches where the faithful laity will oversee services on Sabbath morning and during the week. We may not have the fanciest music, like in some churches, but we can certainly have meaningful and heartfelt worship and fellowship which is critical to our wellbeing.

The Bible warns us that near the end of time on this earth the church will be “lukewarm.” I believe we are already there. We all need to get back to the basics, spend more time with Jesus in His Word and on our knees, get back to the strong relationship we need in Jesus.

Yes, the church, as well as how we do church, is changing all the time, but the church won’t save us; it is only Jesus Christ who can do that. My fellow believers, we have to stop playing church for a couple of hours a week and start spending time with Jesus daily to see our way through the exciting, yet difficult days that lie ahead.

May we always remember that God is in control, and that we can’t go wrong if we stay close to the captain of the ship. Jesus is coming soon, turbulent times are all around us, and church may look different in the days ahead, but keep your eyes on the prize, as heaven is not far away! The day is coming when God’s church will be triumphant, and I want to always be faithful to Him to be a part of that faithful group of people who will be in heaven soon!


–Ed Barnett, RMC president, retired on August 31. Email him at: [email protected]

Thank You


This is the last edition of Mountain Views under the editorial leadership of Ed Barnett. He retired as of the end of August. He provided editorial direction and guidelines to foster conversation in the church about issues that we usually talk about and dissect at the dinner table and in the church lobby. He often said, “There will be those who will disagree with what we publish. We need to be honest with ourselves, learn beyond what we know, stick to what the Scripture says, and be free to disagree with each other.” His guidance was appreciated over the last six years, and his interest in helping the church have a deeper understanding of what we believe and who we are was crucial to this publication.

There is no doubt that he will continue to be a faithful reader and creative critic. The Editorial Team will miss Ed’s frequent reminder that Jesus is coming soon. Mountain Views will continue under the editorial leadership of Mic Thurber, new RMC president

Rajmund Dabrowski, Editor

19 Aug


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

23 Jun


By Ed Barnett … Jesus was the ultimate example of Christianity. It is through Jesus that we hear and learn how to live the Christian life. Christianity is not easy; it goes against our grain as selfish, sinful human beings. I have four wonderful and bright grandsons and yet, with each of them, I see their selfish nature come through. We are simply born into sin. It is simply something that every one of us must fight daily. Jesus makes it clear that others are to be the top priority for Christians.

May I take you through several Bible passages that Jesus shared clarifying what a Christian should be like?

Mathew 7:12—The Golden Rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the Prophets.” That is not easy to do because of our sinful nature. Just going to church for a couple of hours a week won’t give you the change of heart to really live by that model that Jesus gives us in the Golden Rule. Just having your name on a membership list in the Seventh-day Adventist Church won’t help you to live by that model.

Another passage from Jesus is found in Matthew 22:37-40: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

I believe that everyone we encounter is our “neighbor” and these verses tell us we need to “love them like ourselves.” Notice there is no qualification for what that person may look like, what nationality they are. There is no mention of whether they are male or female. No mention of the political party they support or their religion. There are simply no qualifications specified. This says to me we must love everyone no matter what walk in life they represent. That is not always easy as you may hate what your neighbor stands for. Yet Jesus says you still need to love them.

There is another verse that many Christians struggle with and I see people struggling with it often in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

This is a tough verse. Often in our churches, I hear people judging other people. It may be about what they wear. It may be what they brought to potluck: “It had cheese in it.” It may be they are judgmental about the pastor, or the pastor’s wife. It may be about the Conference leadership or another local church. It may be about someone else’s Sabbath observance. The list could go on forever.

In the beatitudes, (Matthew 5:2-12): Jesus speaks to His people:

“Blessed are the poor in Spirit”
“Blessed are those who mourn”
“Blessed are the meek”
“Blessed are those who hunger”
“Blessed are the merciful”
“Blessed are the pure in heart”
“Blessed are the peacemakers”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted”

At the end of the list, Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil again you because of me.”

We struggle at times with the list of special people God identifies in the Beatitudes. It is not easy to meet people who “insult and persecute you.”

But God calls us to do all these things if we are truly Christian.

Matthew 7:13,14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” It is easier to just join the crowd and go merrily through life doing what you want to do. To me Jesus also insinuates in these verses that His ”way” is hard to follow; it’s a narrow path on the way to heaven.

Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.’” Jesus makes it clear that there are people who think they are followers of Christ, but are they really? They may even have done good things, but Jesus says: “I never knew you.”

It is easy to be called a Christian and to go to church for a couple of hours a week. It’s a lot harder to truly be a Christian and live life in the unselfish way Jesus asks us to live; to live life for others instead of self. The only way to live the way Jesus calls us to live is by spending time with Him every day. And you cannot do it on your own! It is only through God’s power that you can live the successful Christian life. It is all about Him!

–Ed Barnett is RMC president. Email him at: [email protected]

29 Mar


By Ed Barnett … There is an old trick I have shared with pastors on several occasions that is really very simple. I first heard it from Robert S. Folkenberg, our former General Conference President. The pastor gives everyone in attendance a small piece of paper and asks them to write their age. When the deacons pick the papers up, they add the numbers together and divide it by the number of individuals who filled them out to find the average age of the church. If this is done every year, within a few years, it will become evident whether your church is growing younger or older.

Across the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the population is rapidly aging, a real concern for me and it ought to be for you as well. I don’t believe we are drawing young people into our churches today. Even our pastoral leadership across this division is aging. When I visit rural churches in RMC and look around the congregation, I realize I am often the youngest one there! Unless there is a miracle, their days as congregations are numbered.

Has the church lost its zeal and its first love? Are our young people frustrated with the church? Is it because of the bickering taking place in the church? Are they frustrated they are rarely offered a place at the table when it comes to making decisions for the local church or the church in general? Do we need to dust off some of the things we have typically done for the last hundred years?

Perhaps the piece that bothers all of our people, especially our young, is the lack of genuine love for one another in our faith communities. It should be obvious that as Seventh-day Adventist Christians, we ought to be the kindest and most loving people in our communities. But is that really what we are in our churches? Are we a testimony for Jesus?

On January 6, 2021, when the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob, I was bothered by seeing a person holding a sign that said “John 3:16.” We all know that verse. When I saw that, I cringed. I was thinking, “So this is supposed Christians using a Bible verse claiming God’s great love to the world and yet here they are attacking our nation’s Capitol, looting and desecrating one of our country’s greatest symbols and all in the name of God?”

Reflecting on the events of January 6, I wonder if this is how our young people see our church today? Do they see “us” carrying placards pointing to John 3:16 and hear us saying we ought to love like Jesus? And then, come to church and question why they don’t feel that love? Where is the love? Why do we instead hear gossiping and see the back-stabbing?

Our young people may be asking questions, “Why won’t they let me take part in the life of our faith community?” Why do we do church the same way every week, year after year? Young people don’t want to play church. They want an authentic and transparent experience. They want it to be meaningful and life changing, not only for them, but for the rest of the church family as well.

In the last year, so many of the norms of life have changed, a very discouraging fact that drains us all. Yet, one thing we noticed that has surprised us was how quickly our churches and schools closed. Some naively thought the only way that would ever happen was when the Sunday laws came. Hopefully, this has been a wakeup call. Be careful not to go by a list of things that you think must happen in a certain sequence before Jesus can come. Perhaps we need to enhance our Bible study and be willing to listen to the Holy Spirit as we consider the end of time on this old planet.

We need to shake off the cobwebs and realize the church has to change to keep up with the times. For starters, we must be a draw for our own young people and those in our community who are looking for answers to the crazy world we live in. We need to dust off the furniture and make it look new again and inviting!

Jesus is coming soon! He wants the church to be reaching out with a last-day message of hope and love to the world around us.

–Ed Barnett is RMC president. Email him at: [email protected]

05 Jan


By Ed Barnett — With all of the talk and concerns about social justice today, I couldn’t help but stop and ask how it applies to the church. Do we have areas that we need to improve in the Seventh-day Adventist Church? How have we done in the past when it comes to social justice? To be totally transparent, I think we have done poorly in many ways.

Addressing unity in the church, Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 12:12,20: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. . . . But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.”

Today, scattered all over the world, our church has 21.5 million members. They are believers of every color, culture, and status in life. In the Rocky Mountain Conference, with 18,000 members, we belong to the worldwide Adventist family. Some of us may say that we have endeavored well in taking the gospel to the world. Yet, we need to ask ourselves how we’ve done locally? How have I done as an individual called by Jesus to share the gospel? “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Locally, how well are we doing in reaching out to everyone from any nation, every status in life? How are we responding to the poor and the rich? What about those who look different than we do? How are we at reaching out to the LGBTQ community? Has ethnicity caused us to carefully sort out whom we reach out to?

When reading the Gospel Commission, I hear Jesus saying it is our job to take Him to the entire world, not just to those we would like to have in the church or to those who look like we do.

When considering the situation in Denver, I am amazed that we don’t have a single church in the downtown area. Across the North American Division in general, we have done very poorly in the big cities. We struggle to reach those who are down and out. We are afraid to address issues of race and inequality as we struggle to reach the many ethnicities next door to us, especially in the metropolitan areas. We do much better in the suburbs where we reach out to those who look like us.

Sad as that is, I believe it is a true assessment of how we are doing with social justice in many areas across this continent. Perhaps the saddest commentary on this is the fact that

our church in the United States is divided into two separate conferences—one for (mostly) white people and one for mostly Black people. In my view, besides not being right, this is also a waste of money. Historically, I understand its beginnings, but today, there is not much of a rationale for having separate conferences based on skin color. I think this would be abhorrent to Jesus.

Recently, one church from our conference, the Littleton Church, joined with a church from Central States Conference (a Black conference) to hold a united worship service. Weeks since, many church members still talk of an inspiring, tremendous Sabbath gathering.

This shouldn’t be a special day for Adventists, but a common Sabbath occurrence. We have done poorly with Adventist mission presence in the big cities because we have left that work to someone else to do. We’ve left it to our brothers and sisters in the Black conferences. We would much better represent God’s love for everyone if we were united with all our brothers and sisters, learning about each other and from each other how to reach out to all.

Someday soon, Jesus will be coming to take His children home. In Revelation, Jesus says: “And behold, I am coming quickly, My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).

When Jesus says “to everyone,” I think He is talking to His disciples from all of the nations.

Can we do better at social justice and equality in the Seventh-day Adventist Church? I believe the answer is yes! Think about what you can do as an individual member to reach out to every child of God as you fulfill the Gospel Commission.

–Ed Barnett is RMC president. Email him at: [email protected]

17 Dec


It goes without saying that we’ve entered a special time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus!  His First Coming gives us hope as we look not only at His birth, but His life and resurrection.  Without that hope burning in our hearts, 2020 would have been an even tougher year than it has been. And with such hope, we await His Second Coming. I pray God will richly bless each one of you and your family as we complete this unique and horrible year.

I want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on the blessings God has bestowed upon you. Count them one by one. Whenever I do that, I am encouraged. I am especially encouraged by the generosity and faithfulness of you, our members, in supporting the church and being engaged in reaching out–in word and deed–to the world with the Good News of Jesus, the Emmanuel.

Some of my blessings during this tough year include my wife who gives me companionship and encouragement. And, He supplies my daily needs. I have never gone hungry. God has blessed us both with continued employment. While many of our friends have had COVID, most of them have survived. As for our four grandchildren, not one has gotten sick. My mom, Annie, has battled cancer, but presently is doing well. My list could go on and on, and so could yours.

It is my prayer that, with the COVID vaccination coming out shortly, by summer, most will have gotten it and things will begin to turn back to some kind of normalcy. I am hoping and praying that 2021 will be a better time and place not only in our country, but around the world.

As we begin 2021, my hope is that each of us will be determined to spend more time in God’s Word each day and that we will take care of our health with renewed vigor and determination; that we plan, strategize and commit to living a healthier and holier life.

I pray that God will richly bless each of you as we celebrate Jesus’ birth and also welcome the new year just before us.

–Ed Barnett, RMC president

25 Nov

Thanksgiving Reflection from RMC President

We all have had a very trying time this year with COVID and the many other unraveling developments in society in the United States. And yet God’s people have remained faithful across the Conference.

Now Thanksgiving is here, and I can’t help but say, “I am so thankful for how God has blessed Rocky Mountain Conference.” He has blessed you to pass on the blessings to people in your communities. With all that has gone on, our base tithe is down less than one per cent. Thank you for your faithfulness! 

I want to give a special thank you to all of our members who have been on the front lines with COVID. You have saved many lives at the risk of your own. As we finish up 2020, let’s keep each other in prayer and may Jesus help us to stay safe and remain faithful as we live love!

Ed Barnett, RMC president

29 Oct



Dear Rocky Mountain Conference Family,

Next Tuesday, November 3, is an important date for our country! I don’t know about you, but I am glad the election will soon be behind us.

What I see today, as never before, is a divided nation. It’s scary and frightening. What bothers me more is the division among our own church members, as differing views and opinions are not received with respect.

Brothers and Sisters, the church needs to be above the angst we see in the world today. Jesus is in charge, and when we ask, the Holy Spirit will guide us in bringing people to Him.

Jesus is coming soon! We need to keep our focus on His return. Our churches should be oases of love and kindness in a society which is divided. We must love one another no matter what our political views. Christ’s church is a community where unity reigns. May we be Jesus’ agents of Good News, having understanding, and respect for all people.

In the words of Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10 [NIV], “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

In your personal reflections, if you need to apologize to a brother or a sister for actions or words, please take time to say you are sorry.

As people enter our churches, our homes, our communities, they should feel loved no matter their views. They should be welcomed.

We will move forward no matter who is elected as president because God is ultimately in charge of our world.  We can have confidence in God as He knows what is best for us.

We must pray for the healing of our country, and we must remember our elected leaders in prayer.

It’s my prayer that each of us will recommit ourselves to engage in God’s mission. That’s what He wants us to do–putting the things of the world behind us.

May the days and weeks ahead be a time to restore love, kindness and grace in our homes, churches, and communities.

Your brother in Christ,

Ed Barnett, RMC president