By Jon Roberts – Colorado Springs, Colorado … Pastors, chaplains from local Centura/AdventHealth hospitals, and conference office employees gathered for the annual winter minister’s meetings in Colorado Springs on January 31.

The event, typically held in February, is a highlight for the pastors who can fellowship with their colleagues from around RMC and provides an opportunity to take home some practical learning and apply it in their home churches.

“Since we couldn’t meet face to face last winter due to the pandemic, it was great being able to meet together again. While thankful for virtual meetings, it is especially sweet when we can see each other face to face,” said Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director.

Reflecting on the meetings, John Davidson, lead pastor at the Canon City Adventist Church, said, “I really appreciate being able to get together with the other pastors from around the conference for fellowship. The pastors often don’t have that fellowship in their local church, and to be here and able to fellowship with other pastor–what a blessing that is.”

Steve Nelson, lead pastor in the Cody, Wyoming district, echoed Davidson’s sentiments. “I enjoyed reconnecting with fellow pastors and encouraging others in ministry.”

The gathering began with a devotion by Craig Carr, newly appointed Mid-America Union Conference ministerial director and former RMC ministerial director. Carr remarked that it was good to be back among friends and colleagues and explained how Jesus seeks us and wants to help us by healing and comforting us.

The morning continued with a powerful message of hope and restoration provided by Richie Halversen, Southern Union Conference church growth and revitalization director. Halverson shared his story of redemption and restoration from opioid addiction and how Jesus and his family never gave up hope on him. He appealed to the pastors to never give up hope on anyone.

Halversen continued the morning by giving practical advice on how to reconnect to the community. He explained that we need to make the first move by being involved in the community and meeting people where they are.  He went on to say that churches need to meet the needs of the area and provide a safe space for individuals to share and be accepted for who they are. Finally, he explained that churches need to give people the Gospel.

His presentations encouraged the gathering appeared to enjoy them thoroughly.

“I was blown away [by] how Richie shared solution after solution resolving all the many questions I’ve had over the years of how to reach our communities for Christ during our new inministry meeting on Sunday. And I would say that this sentiment was shared by many of us in that room,” remarked Shayne Vincent, lead pastor, Casper Church district, on the new in-ministry meeting on Sunday before the wider pastor meeting on Monday.

Davidson, reacting to Monday’s presentations, said, “Richie has a heart for evangelism and evangelism is what keeps our churches young. If we are involved in evangelism, the members who have been there for a long period of time can mentor someone who is new.”

Halversen remarked that he enjoyed spending the day with the pastors and hoped the presentations help build community.

“I hope the pastors feel encouraged, empowered, and equipped to share the good news of the Gospel in their local context,” said Halversen.

After lunch, the meetings reconvened with Mic Thurber, RMC president, addressing the crowd.  He remarked that this was an important meeting for him as he was able to see the pastors face-to-face and introduce himself to them. The gathering concluded with department leaders presenting and sharing information with the pastors and answering their questions.

Reflecting on the day, Mallory said, “With Pikes Peak appearing beautifully in the west, our pastors learned how to reach peak performance when it comes to helping people find spiritual rest in Christ. With Jesus leading, there is no mountain (obstacle/addiction) so big that cannot be overcome.”

Nelson was thankful for the meetings. “I am taking from these meetings the importance of doing what is working in your church.  Successful ministry is recognizing where God is at work and joining Him. I’m thankful for our wonderful leadership and God’s blessings that never cease in RMC.”

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