20 Feb

RMC financial health and needs for efficient pastoral service discussed by Executive Committee

Denver, Colorado … Rocky Mountain Conference Executive Committee was informed on February 18 that the “year-end (2019) report of the North American Division has RMC as the top conference in the Division with a 5.59 percent tithe gain for the past year,” said Ed Barnett in his President’s Report.

“The Lord blessed us during the month of December. We praise Him for what He did, and we express our gratitude to our members for their faithfulness,” he stated.

Barnett also informed the Executive Committee that the Lifestyle Center will have its opening night event on February 20. He invited committee members to tour the center which, apart from the main lecture hall, includes workout equipment and a library. Rick Mautz, RMC health ministry director, shared plans to also open a kitchen and explained that presentations will be livestreamed on the center’s Facebook page.

The start of the evangelism outreach in the Northeastern part of Colorado is on course and involves 18 congregations, with the first meetings scheduled for March 6. Wayne Morrison, pastor of Brighton Church and coordinator for the Catch 2020 team said “There is church member engagement we have not seen before. We are changing the culture of the church. Seven-hundred Bible study requests have already been made,” he informed the committee.

Principal Don Reeder, reported that Campion enrollment in the current semester increased to 153, after welcoming seven new students. He also shared that the academy just received a grant to continue their agricultural program which was temporarily paused.

At the conclusion of his report, Barnett commented on scheduling changes for the upcoming Town Hall meetings, beginning in March. Wyoming churches will host their own Town Hall meetings in each district in the state. The remainder of the Conference will hold regional meetings.

The committee welcomed Centura Health’s pledge of $90,000 for a new ropes course at Glacier View Ranch. It was voted to provide the remaining cost from non-tithe dollars, and a portion of GVR-allocated funds.

“We ended 2019 with total tithe of $18,174,772, an increase of 5.59 percent over 2018 tithe,” reported George Crumley, RMC VP for finance. “Our 2019 base tithe, which excludes what we call ‘windfalls’ amounted to $16,998,459. This meant a 1.42 percent increase over 2018 base tithe,” he explained. He also shared that Rocky Mountain Conference Advance offerings ended the year at $208,272, which was down by 9.94 percent compared to 2018. The conference ended the year with a strong, unaudited profit in our operating fund of $972,250, thanks to the strong tithe windfall.

The Executive Committee voted to allocate much of the profit into the following areas of the church’s program:

– Campion Development Program:  $200,000

– NE Colorado Evangelism:  $200,000

– NAD Pastoral Ministerial Meetings/GC:  $95,000

– Pastoral Reserves:  $300,000

– GVR High Ropes Course:  $90,000 (from non-tithe dollars).

Crumley also reported that the Revised Budget for 2020 was in balance. “Because of the 2019 base tithe being up by 1.42 percent and controlled costs in medical and other areas, it relieved some of the pressure that was being felt on the Preliminary Budget for which we are grateful,” he said.

The final agenda item of the committee involved the issue of how the conference pastoral staff can be most effectively involved with pastoral services within the vast RMC territory. Discussions are ongoing involving Regional Pastoral leaders and RMC Administration, said Ed Barnett. It was important that church administrators received input from the members of the Executive Committee, Barnett said.

The discussion continued with “how to be most effective and efficient as pastors minister in their areas, some of whom have up to five churches to serve” Barnett said. “Part of the discussion revolved around how to most efficiently serve the small churches in our conference,” he added.

The Conference presented plans to make live streaming of sermons available to small and remote churches so that they retain a connectedness with the larger churches in their districts. This will facilitate them hearing their pastor via live streaming on a weekly basis and will be funded by the Conference.

Other elements of the discussion revolved around pastors dedicating their time to those churches that are most able to grow, while still maintaining some contact with the churches that are smaller and remote.

Some committee members said that “whatever the outcome of the ongoing discussion, the arrangement would need to include helping those smaller churches to take a personal responsibility toward growth, as well.”

Several comments pointed to utilizing new technologies in providing solutions to assist in problem solving. “At this point, it is a proposal that needs further review and input,” commented Eric Nelson, RMC VP for administration.

RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

20 Feb

Grand Junction church members share and enjoy poetry—and pizza

Grand Junction, Colorado … It all started with pies, followed with popcorn, and on February 15, some 30 Grand Junction Seventh-day Adventist Church members, old and young, added another “p” to poetry. The “Pizza & Poetry” event delighted those who attended this popular Connect Ministry event.

Fourteen participants, some of whom have mustered courage and defied vulnerability, read their own poems, read their favorite poems from Google on their smartphones, or brought tomes of classical poetry books.

A brainchild of Karla Klemm, such cultural events “bind people together,” she said. A similar comment was offered by Bernie Hartnell referring to the popular event as “providing the glue for our community.” Bernie, who is known for his creative engineering and related hobbies, read his poem, entitled, “Don’t let the old men in.”

Among those who read their newly penned or favorite poems was a retired pastor, a veteran of the Korean war, a daughter of a railroad man of 49 years, a farmer’s wife, and a local building contractor. The poems included such themes as environmental concerns, patriotism, a meaning of colors, nature, or the difference between hymns and praise music.

While others read their poems nicely typed or from a well-worn book, Taylor, one of the youngest in the group, read his poem from what appeared to be two post-it notes. His poem had colors and ultimately described how the color of Jesus’ shed blood was meaningful for our salvation.

Don Barton, who works in a hospital lab, shared a poem, entitled, “Canyon Walls.”

Gaze Upon blackened brown walls / Rock, Ageless Existence / Centuries of Witness / Small Emblems of civilization dot her sides / a deer, a man, circles, unknown shapes – testimony to a previous age / Silent voices of the past / Hear, Perceive, Understand – The Rock Remains.

It was obvious that though all shared pizza and salad, it was building the community and enriching it with cultural activity that dominated the evening.

Marti Hartnell commented that an event like “Pizza and Poetry” is “a great opportunity to come together as a church family, socializing and getting to know each other better.” Poetry is a good conduit to serve as a glue to bond people together. Bernie, her husband, added that “fellowship really does not happen unless you have some intimacy on a human level. You don’t get it sitting in church. You get it in a more social realm and that’s what keeps people bonding together.”

For Karla, these events are important since “different ages, generations, come together, and talk together and share. In this world of electronics, we just need to talk to each other.” Her day job is as a dietitian, so why poetry? She answered that “in my life, I enjoy it so much and I thought maybe other people would too. It has been accepted by many others.”

Karla’s husband, David, prayed at the end referring to those who shared poetry and chose “to be vulnerable by sharing [their] human experience.” When others put themselves out there, Karla adds, they show their vulnerability. “Many people share from their hearts. Not everybody always does,” she adds.

Before Karla closed the meeting, she wondered what the fourth poetry gathering would be called. Someone ventured “Pasta & Poetry.” If that’s what they call it, one would hope that the poems will be al dente!

Rajmund Dabrowski, text and photos

20 Feb

Fun-in-the-snow and Bible study fill Winter Retreat in Wyoming

Casper, Wyoming“Fully Alive” was both the theme and a declaration of the 90 participants during the 31st annual Winter Retreat. They came from across Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, February 14-16, to Mills Spring Ranch in Casper, Wyoming.

The weekend began with a snow-cat ride over five feet of accumulated snow for nearly a mile in order to reach the warm cabins. Participants expressed the “Fully Alive” theme, through energetic worships led by Lyle Wortman from Gillette Wyoming, and by engaging in biblical teachings presented by Henry Johnson, young adult ministries director for the Carolina Conference.

“These meetings were truly Spirit-filled,” commented Brent Learned, RMC assistant youth director. The weekend included outdoor recreational activities–snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling. “Everyone was excited about this weekend filled with worship, fun, and building meaningful relationships,” Brent said.

The first official meeting began Friday evening with “Wine, Witness, and Why?” a presentation by Johnson on John, Chapter 2, explaining the significance of Jesus’ first miracle of turning the water in the containers, used by the Jews for ceremonial purification, into wine. Saturday’s worship was preceded by the baptism of Ezekiel Gillham by his grandfather Pastor Steve Gillham, director of La Vida Mission, located in New Mexico. The retreat’s concluding worship by Henry Johnson took place on Sunday morning, during which he compared and contrasted the recorded reactions of disciples Peter and Judas during Jesus’ final hours of ministry on earth.

“The speaker was amazing, had lots of energy, and made me see Jesus in a new way! Can’t wait to come back next year,” commented Bobbie Jo Tucker, who came to Casper along with her youth group from the Assembly of God Church in Gillette, Wyoming.

“The music team was energetic and inspiring. Visiting with friends was heartwarming,” said Brenda Young from Platteville.

“It was spiritually and physically reinvigorating. It was great,” exclaimed Sydney Cornett, a student from Campion Academy.

Brent Learned; text and photos

20 Feb

Mile High Academy’s Annual Auction Raises More Than $100,000 For Worthy Student Fund

Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Mile High Academy’s annual auction, Eat, Mingle & Give, is one of the most anticipated events of the school year. Attendees know it’s an opportunity for staff, families and members of the local community to relax, play some golf, eat and enjoy an afternoon together at Topgolf Centennial – all while raising money to benefit the school.

Held the second Sunday in February, this year was particularly special as the focus was on MHA’s Worthy Student Fund. Guests learned that more than 35 percent of MHA’s students receive some form of financial aid. MHA is committed to raising approximately $250,000 per year, opening possibilities for those who think a private, Christian education would be less than affordable. These funds can’t be raised without help from generous families, local community and staff.

A feature video was shown to attendees, sharing the story of current MHA Senior Amanda Sasmita. Her father was deported while she was attending MHA’s lower school. She and her mom never expected she would be able to remain at MHA. News of the family’s story reached local church members. And a donor stepped forward, asking to contribute to Amanda’s tuition. For years this family – with absolutely no ties to MHA – has assisted with funding so Amanda’s tuition could be paid in full. This spring Amanda will be graduating with her fellow 2020 MHA classmates.

It takes just one person to make a difference.

The eventful live auction resulted in lots of laughter, memories and intense bidding wars. Classroom items were auctioned off – with final bids exceeding more than $1,000 – and a silent auction was held throughout the event, filled with generous community and Colorado-donated items. In total, more than $100,000 was raised for MHA’s Worthy Student Fund.

“The purpose behind MHA’s Annual Auction may be about creating awareness and raising money, but it means so much more than that,” said Jocelyn Aalborg, VP of finance and development. “Our school and community know this event gives us a chance to come together for a little fun while reconnecting about what makes Mile High Academy so special and – with help – continue to provide Christian education for many generations to come. We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who supports this yearly event.”

The next Eat, Mingle & Give will be held in early 2021, but sponsorship opportunities are available now. Questions? Please contact Jocelyn Aalborg at [email protected].

Click this link to watch Amanda’s story and to view more photos from the event.

Karrie Meyers; photos supplied

20 Feb

Greeley and Aurora Pathfinders participate at Bible Experience event

Lincoln, Nebraska … Two Pathfinder teams from Rocky Mountain Conference churches participated February 15 at the 2020 Mid-America Union Conference Pathfinder Bible Experience in Lincoln, Nebraska. All six MAU Conferences were present with 19 teams participating, reports Chris Hill, RMC Pathfinder leader. The teams representing Rocky Mountain Conference were Aurora Las Aguilas and Greeley Lesem.

Pathfinders have been studying the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Jonah, Amos, Hosea and Micah for several months in preparation for this event. These were exceptionally difficult books, Chris Hill commented. “But all 19 teams placed at third place or higher.

“It is certainly a long drive to Union College from Colorado, and we acknowledge the dedication of the parents and staff for encouraging their Pathfinders to study and excel in learning God’s word,” Chris said.

Chris Hill; photos by Tim Floyd

20 Feb

Campion Chinese students raise funds to support fight against Coronavirus

Loveland, Colorado … For Jarrod and Gregory Lang, students from Kunming, China, the news of the novel Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, hits a bit closer to home. While the majority of their province remains unaffected, they want to do something to help the efforts to contain the virus throughout China. They came up with the idea of doing a school fundraiser to support the Red Cross in China.

“We want to help our home country of China and help medical teams get the supplies they need so they can treat people safely,” explained Jarrod.

Several other Campion students from China had planned to return home for spring break but had to change plans due to the outbreak and travel bans. At this point, even being able to return home for the summer remains up in the air for these students.

Donations are being accepted to support China’s Red Cross in Campion’s business office.

–Campion Academy Newsletter

13 Feb

Preparations for Catch 2020 outreach of 13 Northeast Colorado churches accelerate

Greeley, Colorado … A recent meeting at The Adventure Seventh-day Adventist Church brought together pastors representing 13 churches of the Northeastern Colorado area. There was excitement as reports revealed accelerated preparations to engage all churches in the upcoming Catch 2020 outreach.

Brighton church pastor, Wayne Morrison, commented, “With over 650 requests for Bible studies, we are praising God for the incredible stories He is providing as we follow up on Hs blessings.”

“Working as a group of churches, toward a common goal, lifting each other up in prayer, is drawing us closer as pastors and helping us feel united, rather than the sense that we are all alone in our pastoral roles,” he added.

Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, noted effects of cooperation between pastors involved with the outreach. “One of the byproducts of working together for this evangelistic thrust, is that our pastors have drawn closer to each other. There is a sweet bond among them that did not exist prior to this initiative,” he commented

Named Catch 2020, the outreach series initiative involves “Northeast Colorado churches working together to fish for men,” explains Nestor Soriano, pastor for evangelism and worship from Campion. He lists 13 congregations from Akron, Brighton, Campion, Carbon Valley, Chapel Haven, Fort Morgan, Greeley, Holyoke, Loveland, Mountain View in Loveland, Sterling, the Adventure in Greeley, and Louisville’s Twin Peaks, all of which are participating in the evangelistic initiative scheduled to begin on March 6. Churches decide the length of the series. The Campion Church plans for two weeks of meetings (five days each) and three weekends.

According to Soriano, each church has the same theme–Discovering Revelation. Churches participating in Catch 2020 have their own preachers, in most cases, they are pastors. The only churches that will use a streaming service are the five congregations under one senior pastor, Don Lopes, in the eastern area of Colorado.

Congregations have been creative in pre-evangelism activities.

In the last four or five months, churches mailed over 200,000 Bible study interest cards and have received over 650 Bible study interest cards. Church members have been trained in visiting with these interests and giving Bible studies. A Bible worker, Kelly Miranda, has been spending one week at each church, mainly to train members how to find and give Bible studies.

A variety of events in the churches are being held, including cooking classes, Christmas holiday gatherings, Love Reality Tour, or the Final Empire video series aimed at inviting members of the community. The Greeley congregation organized art classes attended by members of the community, where they were invited to Bible studies and the upcoming Match outreach meetings.

Kris and Andrea from Campion said, “We had the privilege of visiting with someone who mailed back a card for Bible studies. We went to the door and met Nicole. She was surprised to see someone come to the door, but she was so appreciative that we came in person to drop off the lesson! She was eager to learn about God! After we got home, she texted us and asked if her fifteen-year old could join. We’re convinced there are people in our community who are hungry to know Jesus!”

“It has been a real blessing for me to be part of this team. All the churches have been connecting with their community through community events. We’ve been praying for God to pour out His Spirit in people’s lives. He’s been answering our prayers,” Soriano added.

RMCNews with Nestor Soriano; photo by Mickey Mallory

13 Feb

reENVISION Change initiative creates new culture for young adults at LifeSource Fellowship

Denver, Colorado … I am a millennial. I am young enough to use google as a verb, but old enough to have owned mix tapes. I refuse to shop at Walmart because of the labor conditions in their Asian factories, and yet I will admit I have no idea who my state representatives are. That is the millennial generation. A passionate sea of contradiction and controversy. Our parents told us that we could follow our dreams and our hearts. As a result, we travel on a dime, fight for the acceptance of all people, while at the same time being the most narcissistic generation in history by a long shot. It’s almost as if millennials are pinned between technology and a deep need for fulfillment, and so we grab onto the new, while feeling nostalgia for the way things used to be.

One more characteristic of millennials is that we want change in our churches. We don’t do things just because that is how they have always been done. We question tradition, we are skeptical of titles, and we believe each individual should be seen, known, and heard.

Research from the Barna Group says that only 4 percent of millennials, ages 22-35, are Bible-based believers. In fact, the Barna Group says that,

  • Only 2 in 10 Americans under 30 believe attending a church is important or worthwhile (an all-time low).
  • 59 percent of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.
  • 35 percent of millennials have an anti-churchstance, believing the church does more harm than good.
  • Millennials are the least likely age group of anyone to attend church (by far).

Millennials are the most educated generation to date. Roughly 34 percent of us have a college degree. This is a generation of people who were taught to ask questions. And so we do. We ask questions of our government, we ask questions of our bosses, and we ask questions of our church.

Millennials are the most impatient generation this world has ever seen and studies are now showing that millennials will click off a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds* to load. What implications may this have for our services?

Marcus Lemonis, best known from CNBC’s hit show, The Profit, said the key to keeping millennials fulfilled and happy is to give them the “opportunity” to make a difference in the workplace.

As a church, I believe we can learn a lot from the research that is being done on millennials in the workplace. Understanding how millennials function in their careers, could help churches understand how millennials might perceive their place of worship.

We started reENVISION Change because we wanted to stand in the gap of our church and our generation. We wanted to provide a space for people to get what Marcus Lemonis called “the opportunity to make a difference.” We are living in the day and age where everyone gets to be seen and heard, and then we tell people they have to sit down and be quiet in our pews. We wanted to try something different that we hoped may attract young adults, so we started asking the people who attended our Saturday night services, to participate in them. If you are coming, could you sing a song, share a welcome, write a poem, or deliver the prayer?

The goal of reENVISION Change is to create a church environment that is based on participatory experience. Each month, a different young adult is asked to participate in the service in some way, and our hope is that every year, each person attending will have stood on our stage at least one time.

We have 50-80 people who come to worship with us each month at LifeSource Adventist Fellowship. Eighty percent of those people don’t attend our church, with probably 40 percent of those, not being Adventist at all. And we want them all to participate anyway. Because we believe the best way to feel ownership of something is to start participating in it.

After each service, we do an event that is focused on building community. That way people who come alone can leave feeling like they were a part of something bigger than themselves. We have basketball tournaments and volleyball nets, we have done spoken word poetry slams and open mic nights. We do board games and free food. Young Adults don’t just want a church service; they want a relationship, and we want to reENVISION a change that makes them feel included.

Eighteen to thirty-five year olds kept telling us that they didn’t need church, so we try to provide a culture where the church needs them.

*https://www.shopify.com/blog/75614533-marketing-to-millennials-5-massive-trends-that-are-leading-the-way

–Seth Day with Dr. Heather Thompson Day, photos by Mickey Mallory

13 Feb

Colorado Springs Central Church celebrates ministry of volunteer pastor, Marcia Armstead

Colorado Springs, Colorado … “We are sad to see our volunteer pastor, Marcia Armstead retire from some of the pastoral activities in which she has been involved for the past decade,” said Mike Maldonado, Colorado Springs Central Church pastor. The church family showed their appreciation for her as assistant for pastoral care with a plaque on December 28. They also celebrated her contributions with a Ministry Appreciation Dinner on Sunday, January 19.

Marcia, an ordained elder of the church, has served as a volunteer for six years. During that time, she was hostess team leader, prayer Ministry coordinator, card ministry facilitator, and coordinator of nursing home visitations. She also visited and held Communion with homebound members in medical and rehabilitation facilities.

For the past four years, Marcia has been a member of the Rocky Mountain Staff – doing much of the same. But added to her responsibilities was the title of assistant for pastoral care assisting Pastor Maldonado. “Marcia is irreplaceable, and it is heartbreaking to see her scale down from all the activities in which she has been involved. We have been blessed by her ministry and devotion to God,” commented Pastor Maldonado.

When asked what her favorite tasks have been, Marcia said: “Everything! And, especially advocating for litigants, and the unemployed.” Her greatest challenge, she comments, “is that of having to preach in Pastor’s absence, but I’m grateful that God can use anyone who is willing.”

Marcia says she will not be away from Central Church, as she is still an elder of the church and will volunteer as she is able in any area where her services are needed.

Mike Maldonado, text and photos

13 Feb

Recent lay pastor training course emphasizes biblical preaching

Grand Junction & Denver, Colorado … The second round of the Lay Pastor Training course took place at the Rocky Mountain Conference office in Denver, January 31-February 2; and in Grand Junction, February 7-9. Twenty participants took part in the Denver training and in Grand Junction, it was attended by 24 interested lay activists and local church leaders.

“Both weekends were amazing,” said Nate Skaife, Grand Junction Church pastor and main presenter and instructor. “We engaged in conversation about the significance of what happens when we die and the ramifications to our beliefs if we are wrong in what we believe. In addition, we dug deeper into important Bible texts that clarify the state of the dead belief,” he shared, speaking of the main theme of the course.

Other areas of focus included tools to help attendees mine the Scriptures for gems often left uncovered, along with looking at the process of making biblical sermons which helps not only in presenting sermons, but also in leading Bible studies and small groups, Skaife explained.

“It is always fun to work through the Scriptures,” he added.

Participating lay people were given assignments to study at the first series of lectures in September and October 2019. Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, a patron of the course, said that “it was great to see how much the participants have grown since they started the program five months ago.”

“The participants were appreciative of all the support they have received from Pastor Nate,” he added. “It is exciting to think that because of the lay pastor training, we have enlarged our ministry team in the Rocky Mountain Conference,” Mallory commented.

Participants offered observations about the course, several commenting that they received “information overload … but very interesting and helpful,” in the reaction of Patrick Williams from Cedaredge.

For Wilton Helm from Aspen Park, the presentations offer “a good basis for Bible study and biblical sermon preparations.” Keith Parris from Twin Peaks church in Louisville considered the training a “good opportunity to learn and grow with others from around the conference who are involved with their local churches.”

The participants, including several women, appreciated being coached in a variety of pastoral roles. Jane Coren from Grand Junction was excited about the weekend, and that there was so much to absorb. The information she received “blows my mind,” she said.

RMCNews with Nate Skaife; photo by Mickey Mallory and Nate Skaife

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