By Jon Roberts – Denver, Colorado … “It’s my intention to just throw a lot [of information] at everybody, to feed them with a fire hose,” Nathan Skaife, pastor of the Grand Junction church, commented on the Lay Pastor Training in Denver, April 23 – 25 at the Rocky Mountain Conference office.

The gathering, which was the first in-person class of the year for the Denver area, included 17 individuals, many representing the ethnically diverse churches in RMC. The topics covered included covenant theology and best practices for church growth.

For Skaife, the tri-annual meetings are developed out of a love for the Scriptures and a desire to equip individuals to better serve the church and the community.

Responding to what strengths he brings to the gathering, Skaife said, “I would say passion would be one of them. [Also] the love of the Scriptures and [the desire] to help people dig deeper and have the tools to do so and equip them to do what God is calling them to do.”

Elijah Lujan, member of Colorado Springs South church, explained his attendance by saying he enjoys being able to understand the Gospel better. “I’m definitely attending so I can learn more about the Gospel and more about Jesus. When I share with others about Jesus, I’m sharing new stuff that they can understand because [the training] really makes it easier to understand than just saying big words that others may not understand.”

Skaife hopes the training will be challenging to those in attendance. “I wanted it to not only be challenging to someone. I want to push them even further [but] help them to be able to grow in their walk with the Lord,” he said.

For Emmanuel Jean, member of the Agape Haitian church, the training has given him renewed confidence.  “[It] has made me read my Bible every day and it makes me feel comfortable talking and sharing with people.”

“Having individuals play a more significant role in the church and the community is the ultimate goal of the training,” commented Skaife

“The people are going to play an even more significant role in their local churches. Many of them are preaching more often than they ever did before.  People are engaged in doing Bible studies and are engaged in soul-winning,” Skaife added.

The techniques learned are helping individuals give better sermons and Bible studies according to Augustine Sheriff, Colorado Indonesian-American Adventist Church member.  “One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is the help I gain in structuring sermons, giving Bible studies and structuring my lessons as I go.”

Many are thankful that RMC is providing the training to fill the gap of needs in our churches. “I am thankful that the conference has created a program that both trains and assists leaders and helps pastors and congregations in need, that fills the gap that arises in many of our churches,” Bill Oxenford, True Life Community church ember said.”

The next trainings will be held in Grand Junction on May 21 and in Denver on June 11.  If you are interested in joining or learning more about the program, please email Nathan Skaife at [email protected].

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication / media assistant; photos by Jon Roberts