Editor’s note: Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, provides an annual update on pastors, churches, and ministry happening in RMC.

By Mickey Mallory – October and November are the months I get the privilege of visiting with pastors from all over the Rocky Mountain Conference. Called the annual pastoral evaluation, it is a time to hear firsthand how pastors are doing, along with the church(es) they serve.

After meeting with several RMC ministers this month, the overwhelming sentiment is–despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic—that our pastors are living up to the challenge of ministry. God has blessed them abundantly. Below is an example of how some pastors are coping.

Tom Tupito, pastor of Aurora First, shared the following, “I have a wood carving with the inscription on the top of our front door with these words: LIVE WELL, LOVE MUCH, LAUGH OFTEN. Every morning, before leaving the house to do ministry, these phrases remind me of my vertical relationship [with God] and horizontal relationship [with fellowmen], and with our church’s mission statement:  Focusing on Jesus, we witness to the world!  I continue to press forward to LIVE WELL, LOVE MUCH AND LAUGH OFTEN, until The Parousia.”

Doing ministry during the pandemic has been different–unlike anything anyone has experienced. Despite Covid challenging the traditional ways of doing church, our pastors have learned to adapt. Embracing change was good to do even before the pandemic. But now, even more so. If you are not willing to change, you might miss out on opportunities to make a difference in the church and the community.  Jamey Houghton, Franktown church pastor, observed that, “The keys to ministry during a pandemic are flexibility and creativity. You have to think of new ways to do ministry and be ready for everything to change at the last minute.”

By far, the hardest part of the pandemic for pastors, in my opinion, has been seeing the pain and suffering it has caused some of their church members. When someone they love and serve with becomes ill and is not the same for many months afterward, that is tough on them. When they talk about it, you can hear the tears in their voice.

Jason Logan, Greeley District pastor shared that, “Covid has changed many things in our world and has brought many challenges along with it. A specific challenge we have faced in our district is seeing the lives of different individuals completely changed as a result of their bout with the virus. To see someone go from being one of your most active and vibrant members to being in constant healthcare for ten or eleven months and the greatest portion of their energy being expended on just trying to feed their body with enough oxygen is a very heart-wrenching thing to experience. We have constant reminders that many people’s lives have been changed drastically and that any life can change in but a moment.”

If it is possible to find a silver lining in the pandemic, it would be the renewed interest in spiritual things, Lester Bentley, Gillette, Wyoming district pastor, explains. People are searching for answers. Some of them have even shown up at church on Sabbath mornings, including those who used to attend. How exciting!

“The most significant impact on my ministry is that more than any time I can remember, people outside the church are searching the Scriptures, asking questions, and wanting answers. We have an opportunity to share the good news of the everlasting gospel in a Christ-like and loving manner.”

As we continue through this pandemic, please remember our pastors in your prayers in the following ways.

  1. That each pastor will have an attitude of gratitude. It is so easy to become cynical, so pray that our pastors will stay positive and upbeat.
  2. That each pastor will be able to find ways to adapt. Doing things differently can sometimes be very difficult. Pray that our pastors will have the strength to press on despite the challenges.
  3. That each pastor will be comforted in their loss. One of the hardest things in ministry is having to see someone they love suffer.
  4. Pray that each pastor will be able to take advantage of the increased spiritual interest. God can use this crisis to bring many back to Him.

I am a firm believer that when pastors do well, the churches do well also.  Thank you for supporting our pastors and the ministry they are providing.

–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director; photos supplied