14 Jul


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

08 Jul


By Andy Nash … We wake up at 2:30 a.m.—my daughter and I—more eagerly than we’ve ever woken up at 2:30 a.m.

This is the morning we’ve waited for—we’re climbing Mount Sinai at sunrise.

At 17, Summer knows I’m not the mountain climber she is. “I’m proud of you, Dad,” she says.

“This one is different,” I tell her. “It’s biblical.”

We both laugh.

We attach our head lamps and head out, joining four dozen travelers on our Egypt study tour. Our group is all ages–eight to eighty–just the way I like it, a traveling family, like the Israelites themselves.

Fortunately, we have ready help for the first two hours of our climb. Fifty camels sit steaming in the darkness at the base of the mount, sizing us up along with their Bedouin owners.

The always-awkward experience of mounting a camel is exceeded only by the camel’s sudden rise—a desert roller coaster: a startling dip, and then . . . stateliness. One by one, I hear the gasps, then the delighted laughter, of our travelers. Just wait till the camel drops to its knees again.

In the darkness, we begin the ascent, and I get to . . . rest. On these tours, I’m nearly always working or teaching, so that others can rest, learn, and enjoy the journey. I love nothing more than their contented smiles.

But now and then, I get to rest too—the boat at Galilee, the ferry at Patmos, and now the camel at Sinai (Not far from here, Jethro once reminded Moses about resting).

So here, on Sabbath morning, I let the tranquility wash over me, so grateful to rejuvenate, reflect, and watch the story of redemption unfold just a little bit more.

Bathed in fresh light, Mount Sinai is both harrowing and comforting—I keep returning to that word “bulwarks.” “Shut in by the bulwarks of the mountains, Moses was alone with God” (Patriarchs and Prophets 248). To be climbing the very mount where Moses met Yahweh? It overwhelms me until I remember the words: “You (plural) will be my treasured possession . . . a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5-6). This was His plan all along–you and me entering directly into His presence, through the flesh-veil of Christ, by the blood-cover of Christ.

Jewish tradition holds that, right here, Yahweh spoke the Ten Commandments—more accurately, the Ten Words (devarim)—in every language on earth: meaning these Ten Words were for all peoples (In this way, the Ten Words are distinguished from the 613 commandments).

If the Ten Words were for everyone, I reason, then that includes the Egyptians too. Indeed, as the second most-mentioned place in Scripture (700 times from Genesis to Revelation), Egypt often comes off as the enemy of God’s people. But in God’s eyes, the Egyptians have always been His people. “So, the LORD will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD on that day” (Isaiah 19:21, NASB).

And the LORD personally introduced himself to Egypt—when He traveled here as a toddler: Jesus in the shadow of the pyramids. Three decades later, Egyptian God-fearers traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost, which, ironically, celebrated the giving of the Ten Words at Sinai. At that final Pentecost, 50 days after the final Passover, the Egyptians heard not Ten Words, but only one: Jesus. And today, 10 in 100 Egyptians believe.

My realizations will grow with time. So will Summer’s, and the four dozen others experiencing Sinai at sunrise. For now, it’s time to let our animals rest, and hike the final hour to the summit, together with my daughter and her Father.

–Andy Nash is lead pastor of Littleton Adventist Church. He leads study tours each summer to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. Email him at: [email protected]; photos supplied

Pastor Chris Morris reads the Ten Commandments.


08 Jul


RMCNews with John Boone – Ward, Colorado … After a quiet week at Glacier View Ranch after its closure by the threat of Covid, the excitement returned on July 4, when 80 Ignite campers arrived for five days of fun-filled adventures.

Ignite Camp, designed for ages 12 to 14, gives campers variety and choice in the activities that interest them. They have the opportunity to participate in outdoor rock climbing and can step up to the challenge of Rocky Mountain biking.

The week began with a boom. To celebrate Independence Day, the camp was filled with music, food, and fireworks. No explosions, but the evening concluded with a gymnastics show.

After the day of celebrations, campers dug in to the numerous activities that awaited them, while learning that “because God sees me, I know I’m His child.”

One of the ventures some decided on was the Shredder’s Pump Bike Track, an action-filled mountain bike track with many obstacles.

One camper exclaimed, “The pump track is awesome!”

Joy came for the staff in the simple moments. “I got to teach a camper how to ride a bike for the first time,” Nathaniel Sanchez, mountain bike instructor at the camp, said.

Ignite Camp wraps up on Friday, July 9, in time to prepare GVR for Summit Camp, created for teenage campers ages 13 to 17.

To learn more about GVR check out their website www.RMCYouth.org/camp

–RMCNews with John Boone who is GVR’s camp PR and marketing intern; photos supplied

08 Jul

COMMENTARY: Retirement in the Light of the Second Coming

By Dr. David Ripley … My wife and I, both pastors, began our retirement in August 2019. We started our ministry so young, believing that we likely would never need to retire because of the soon coming of Jesus. Should we further our education or save for retirement in the light of this imminent second coming? Would saving for retirement be a lack of faith in the message we were preaching? Jesus is coming!

As we began our pastoral ministry, we had no resources to administer. Without any financial training or modeling, we were not always the best money managers. We slowly learned and even purchased our first house. When we were moved, as pastors are, the economy took away all our investment in that home. For another home we put $35,000 down, then we had to add $7,000 to sell the house. Pastoral moving is hazardous!

We ended up in our mid 40’s, tens of thousands of dollars in debt with nothing saved for retirement. We knew something had to change. If Christ delayed a few more years, we would need resources. We had witnessed too many aged pastors who could not retire and were struggling every day.

While we were still confident of our message of the soon coming of our Savior, retirement was a clear probability. As recent empty nesters, we began our climb out of debt and preparation for this likelihood.

The first step was to eliminate consumer debt. Researching several strategies, we chose one and worked through it till we were debt free. We took vacations visiting different parts of the country to determine where we would like to retire. After choosing, we purchased land in our selected location. That mortgage we were determined to pay off quickly; we eliminated the debt in about 10 years. We built a home on the property debt free.

We started a savings account and conservative investments to grow our cash. We also took advantage of the matching towards retirement offered by the church to increase our percentage over time.

Even starting later in life, we were able to retire comfortably, and we have not paid any interest for 10 years. When needed, we paid cash for our car. We travel to our grandkids scattered across the country. We are so glad that while preaching the soon coming of Jesus we still prepared for the tarrying of the bridegroom.

Not being a financial management expert, or early on a good role model, I can simply tell you what we intentionally did to prepare for retirement. Here are some suggestions, whether you are in your 20’s or your 50’s.

-Get out of debt. Determine that you will not accumulate consumer debt. Do not pay high interest rates in perpetuity. If you have consumer debt, research plans to eliminate it, choose a strategy, and stick to it.
-Start a savings account for a car. Instead of paying interest, earn interest. When it is time to buy your next car, you can pay cash or a large portion of the cost.
-Start a retirement savings account. Even if it is a very small amount each month, increase it slowly over time. Find a professional financial advisor you trust and begin a conservative diversified investment portfolio.
-Maximize matching towards retirement. Increase your percentage over time. While in conference administration, I was amazed at how many pastors do not take advantage of the church’s matching investment.
-Do not opt out of Social Security. I know the theory that if you invest for yourself you will be ahead, but I have seen too many who opted out and then the pressures of life and emergencies left very little for retirement. Spending a significant number of years struggling is not a scenario you want.
-Determine where you would like to retire, perhaps 15 years out, and purchase a home, lot, or land. Work to pay it off.
-Monitor regularly all the moving parts of your retirement plan. Be ready to adjust as needed. It takes discipline and sacrifice to stay on track.

Preach the soon coming of the Lord while you prepare for the possibility of retirement. If Jesus appears before you retire, you have not lost anything. You have gained the ultimate retirement! If Jesus tarries, then you will be ready to retire and continue to be a voice for His second coming. God will bless you as you seek to be responsible with your plans.

–Dr. David Ripley currently resides in Fredricksburg, Texas

This article was originally published on the NAD Ministerial Association website

06 Jul


By Agape Hammond – Parker, Colorado … The line is already forming and the produce hasn’t even arrived. This is a common experience at Newday Adventist church free farmer’s market.

Individuals line up ahead of the 2 p.m. opening to ensure they get a bag of the fresh fruits and veggies. With a smile and a “thank you for coming,” everyone is greeted warmly and they leave with what might be their only fresh produce that week.

This summer marks Newday’s fourth annual Free Farmer’s Market. It has taken three years of dedication to build relations with the community and to gain traction for the event.

During the first few years of the Free Farmer’s Market, it took hours to give the produce away. Often, volunteers went door to door to make sure those who needed it received the fresh fruits and veggies being offered. Now, there is a line when volunteers arrive each week. Currently serving approximately fifty families per week, Newday volunteer Shawna Sajdak commented, “We are seeing more and more families coming and [we] look forward to serving them as the summer progresses.”

The gathering includes young families and the elderly who sometimes need a little help taking their bags home.

What makes the weekly market so important? For Newday members and volunteers, it’s hearing the words from the community, “You don’t know how much this helps. Thank you for what you are doing.”

–Agape Hammond is director of social media and communication at Newday; photos supplied

06 Jul


By Wilmer Martinez – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … For the first time in two years, the Rocky Mountain Conference Hispanic ministries hosted the yearly fútbol (soccer) tournament at Mile High Academy on June 27.

The FEJA, also known as Youth Adventist Federation, organized the match-ups which featured members of more than ten churches. Nine teams registered for the games and two-hundred individuals assisted with the activities.

For some individuals, this event expanded the mission of the church. “I’ve been here for only four months and it makes me happy that despite the pandemic, there is an effort to get together as a church, to go beyond the four walls of the building,” Hugo Guillen, pastor of Denver South and Central Hispanic churches said.

He added how great it was that many individuals turned out for the event from around the conference, including New Mexico. “It is really a blessing to see everybody here from different churches for this event organized by FEJA.”

Leslie from the Littleton church added that although it was really hot, she felt happy and was having a good time with the people from her church. Genaro, also from Littleton, was happy to see the acceptance of girls playing on the teams and to see all the young people playing on the teams.

David Rodriguez, pastor of Westminster, Loveland, and Denver (Pecos) churches, commented on the large presence of young adults at the event. “To see these kids here today is the evidence that the seed of the truth is bearing its fruits. It is brotherhood, a team effort, and it is really a delight.”

Herbert Hernandez, pastor of Chapel Haven and Northglenn Hispanic churches added that he hopes and prays for this event to be the beginning of many other activities for the enrichment of the spiritual and social lives of the Adventist Hispanic Youth.

–Wilmer Martinez is pastor of the Pagosa, Spring, Bloomfield, and Durango Hispanic churches; photos supplied

06 Jul


By Samantha Nelson – Cody, Wyoming … During the last week of June, a group of Cody Adventist church youth walked with the dinosaurs at the Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway and Dinosaur National Monument Park in Utah.

The trip, led by Steve Nelson, pastor of the Cody district, and his wife Samantha, was part of ongoing Bible studies and preparation for the upcoming Dinosaur/Creation seminars to be held in September. The Nelsons guided the group through discussions of Creation, the Flood and dinosaurs, a fun topic to study with youth, captivating their attention.

Impressed by visual support of the biblical narrative, Dean Jeffers, one of the participants, said, “I like the geologic formation of Split Mountain because everyone who doesn’t know or believe in God, or the Bible is confused by how the river “split” the mountain. As a believer, it shows what the Flood did instead of millions of years of a river splitting a mountain,” Dean Jeffers expressed.

Aside from hiking to the Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway and touring the Dinosaur National Monument Quarry, where hundreds of dinosaur fossils are embedded in the rock at the top of the mountain, the group climbed the mountainside to see the ancient petroglyphs and pictographs. There, they also saw an historical cabin owned by Josie Bassett, a rancher who associated with Butch Cassidy’s “Wild Bunch.”

When asked what they enjoyed most about the adventure, another participant, Cedar Jeffers commented, “My favorite part was the bone wall at Dinosaur National Monument because it showed how the Flood affected them and how everything was just right to turn them into fossils and leave them in a jumbled mess.” She added, “Another favorite part of mine is the museum where they put into perspective how big the dinosaurs really were.”

According to many on the trip, it helped them to trust God more and establish their faith in His Word, and they enjoyed the hands-on, close-up view of the aftermath and destruction of the Flood.

–Samantha Nelson is a pastor’s wife who serves alongside her husband, Steve, in Cody Wyoming; photos supplied

01 Jul


By RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … On June 25, the RMC Administrative Committee extended an invitation to Darin Gottfried to serve as vice president of finance, replacing George Crumley who left RMC on June 30 to serve in the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference.

“Darin has spent the last nine years in the Kansas-Nebraska Conference. He has done a tremendous job there and I know God will use him in a mighty way here in our Conference,” Ed Barnett, RMC president, said. “George Crumley,  as of July 1 no longer in RMC, has been such a blessing and we will miss him.”

Gottfried accepted the invitation on June 28 and says he is “excited about joining the team in Rocky Mountain. You have a great group of people there that I am looking forward to working with and getting to know better. I hope that I can support and help grow the Conference as much as possible.” He will assume his responsibilities at RMC on September 1

Most recently, he served as vice president of finance for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference during the last five years, after being an associate treasurer for the same Conference, business manager for Wisconsin Academy, and working at Fletch Adventist Hospital in North Carolina.

Doug Inglish, vice president of administration, is looking forward to working alongside Gottfried. “We are very excited that Darin has accepted this call. We believe that he not only has the skill set we are looking for, but the mission-minded approach that matches the Rocky Mountain Conference.”

Born and raised in North Dakota, Darin Gottfried is no stranger to the Rocky Mountain area, where he spent many weekends exploring the scenery of the region.

He is a graduate of Union College where he met his ministry partner, Stephanie. She is familiar with RMC as an alumna of Campion Academy and her parents reside in Monument, Colorado.

The Gottfrieds have two four-legged children, including a Great Dane named Berg and a German Wirehaired Pointer named Otto. Stephanie commented that “[we] have not been able to start a human family of our own, so our dogs are our kids.”

In his spare time, Darin enjoys photography, traveling, camping, and working on cars.  He is also expanding his vocabulary by learning the German language.

Gottfried’s hope at RMC is “that as treasurer, he is able to help maintain a healthy and financially-stable Conference and to use the money that has been entrusted with us in the most effective manner, so that the church can grow and share the love of Jesus with every person in our territory.”

He further expressed his interest in “getting to know the members and employees of the Rocky Mountain Conference, learning their stories, and finding ways of supporting the ministry in every area.”

“Getting to travel the beautiful territory of the Rocky Mountain Conference is an added bonus,” he added.

–RMCNews; photo by Stephanie Gottfried

01 Jul


By RMCNews – Montrose, Colorado … The Montrose Hispanic Company was accepted into the Seventh-day Adventist sisterhood of churches on Sabbath, June 26, with the young adults of the congregation rushing to the front to be first to sign the charter membership books.

One hundred gathered in the Montrose Adventist English church sanctuary for this special occasion marking five years since the group was formed.

Ruben Balaguer, pastor of the Grand Junction Hispanic district, recalls for those assembled the passion he and his family had for planting this Hispanic church.

“With the dream of starting a group or church, we arrived in Montrose in April 2010. We had the desire to know small towns because we no longer wanted to live in the city. Settling in Montrose, we saw a lot of potential to start a group. We proposed to our pastor the plan to start a branch in Montrose but he told us that it was not possible.”

That wasn’t the end of the story Balaguer adds, “He [the pastor] asked us to keep praying until finally, our dream came true. One Saturday, Pastor Mike Shannon encouraged us to begin to realize our wish. A few weeks later our prayers were beginning to be answered as gatherings were planned and held. The meetings began with Horacio Gomez, Marina Guillen, the Magaña family, the Espinoza Chavez family, the Espinoza Venzor family and my family.”

The afternoon inauguration included musical performances by various members and guests, enhancing the service.  One musical selection was performed by the youth choir of the church called “Generacion Escogida” which means “Chosen Generation”.

Ed Barnett, during what will most likely be the last time he attends a formal church inauguration as RMC president, was presented a plaque by the Hispanic area churches thanking him for his service.

Commenting on the event Barnett remarked, “It was a tremendous afternoon celebrating our Montrose Hispanic Company becoming a church. What a sweet spirit and talented church family they have. The musical selections were powerful.  I was impressed by how many young people are charter members.  I want to thank all of the pastors that made this possible. It is nice seeing our Rocky Mountain Conference adding another church to our ranks.”

Doug Inglish, vice president of administration presided over the signing of the charter membership book and reflected on that moment saying, “It is so impressive that the first people to step forward to sign the charter roll for the church were the youngest members. It is a sign of a healthy church whose young people take ownership.”

For the charter members, this was the moment they have been waiting for.

“This is a dream made true and what we have to value is the beautiful group of young people that we have,” Abimael Chavez, Montrose Hispanic elder commented. “They are the future leaders of our church and we have to support them always!”

Dennis Magaña, head elder of Montrose Hispanic also commented on being part of history, “Our commitment and duty to God remains the same: to go and make disciples by bringing them to the feet of Jesus. For this we need, today more than ever, the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our mission.”

Pastor Balaguer is excited to be part of this growing church. “It’s a big blessing for me to be a part of the history of the growing Hispanic church,” he said.

The charter roll of Montrose Hispanic includes 37 individuals and a few more who were unable to attend the special event, will sign the charter in next few Sabbaths.

Balaguer, addressing the participating congregation, expressed thanks to their parent church, Olathe Hispanic, for supporting them and providing prayers; the Montrose Adventist English Church for use of their space and unconditional support; and to the Rocky Mountain Conference for supporting the members in this project.

Balaguer concluded with a challenge to the members, “Today, as on that first day we gathered here, our commitment and duty to our God remains the same: to go and make disciples, bringing them to the feet of Christ and uniting them to the church through baptism. Maranatha! Christ is coming.”

–RMCNews; photos by Susan Inglish

01 Jul


By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Every Sabbath, my eleven-year-old son comes into the church service with a fresh Guide magazine in-hand. While not always an avid reader, he diligently peruses the content and happily reads several stories over the course of the day. And recently, he handed it over to me, excited to have found a familiar name of a Campion Academy alumnus as one of the contributing authors.

A tradition begun by Jenny Sigler, who previously taught Campion’s college writing course, the senior students in my class are tasked with submitting a story to a publication, not only Guide, but other options including Primary Treasure, and the Adventist Women’s Ministries annual devotional. After working to improve their writing techniques in class and creating multiple drafts, the students’ submissions are often met with success, with the publications purchasing the right to use their stories.

While getting paid for doing homework is a pretty cool bonus for students, having their stories published also gives them the opportunity to reach a wider audience with their personal testimonies, making an impact on the developing faith of young people. After receiving news that his story about a break-in would be published by Guide, Jayden Anggormas, class of 2021, shared, “I became confident in my testimony because my experience shows evidence that God works in our lives. The fact that it could potentially impact many young people motivated me to share it.”

Sami Hodges’ (class of 2021) story that reflected on spiritual lessons learned from plants, was also purchased. “I was thrilled when I got notified that Guide accepted my submission and wanted to publish it,” she reflected. “I grew up reading their magazines in church, and I mainly looked for the rescue stories and exciting adventures people would tell. It meant the world to me to have my story included in one of them. Even though my experience wasn’t a miraculous wonder with cliff-hanging suspense, I wanted to teach people of all ages the importance of patience and dependence on God in a relatable way.”

For the 2021 class, in addition to Anggormas and Hodges, Bentlee Barry will be published in Guide, and Tiffany Dien will be published in Primary Treasure.

So, the next time you see a Sabbath School student engrossed in the latest Guide or Primary Treasure magazine during the church service, take a peek over his or her shoulder; you never know if you might just find a familiar author.

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy communication director and teacher; photo supplied