What’s Your Response?

Life and ministry often seem complex. We juggle decisions, conversations, and responsibilities at a rate that can seem overwhelming. In Mark 4, Jesus brings clarity to the jumble of our lives by highlighting two responses to being changed by the truth of God’s Word.

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Mark 4:21-25 ESV).

The first response that Jesus highlights is “Be Intentional.” You were created for a purpose, and you received the truth of God’s Word for a purpose. When we forget that the core of everything that we do should be God’s glory, the distractions can overwhelm us. By being intentional in our actions, decisions, attitudes, and words, we give meaning to everything we do and order to the chaos around us.

The second response that Jesus highlights is “Be Generous.” Generosity means much more than the way we use financial resources, although God calls us to be generous with what he has given to us. We should also be generous with our time, being willing to be interrupted for the Kingdom’s sake; many of Jesus’ miracles were interruptions to what seemed to be his agenda for the day. We should be generous with our grace; imagine where we would be if God were not generous with his grace toward us. We should be generous with our forgiveness; in forgiving we express our image-of-God-bearing the most.

These responses apply to people who are following Jesus and to ministries who are pointing others to him. How can you be more intentional? How can you be more generous?

A New Year!

John Craft, the new Regional Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Church Network, shares about his new role, a new year, and seeing God in “the land of the living.”

We continue to pray for those impacted by the Marshall Fire. We are starting to make contacts to see who is on the ground and who would be good to partner with as Louisville and Superior start the recovery process.

In the meantime, you can contribute to fire recovery efforts through the ACTS Fund, which is managed by our national partner, Venture Church Network. Visit https://venturechurches.org/venture-church-network-ways…/ to give. Simply choose the ACTS Fund in the drop-down menu and write “Colorado Fire Relief” in the memo.

Are you playing Football or Golf?

When I was the mayor of a small town in Wyoming, I had become an officer in the state-wide association of elected officials. I once approached the leader of the organization to talk about our relationship in the organization. I stated that I hoped we could work together as a team.

His response was to say that we had to define what kind of team we would be. I remember thinking that it was simple. Being a Colorado native and life-long supporter of the Bronco’s, of course, my mind went to the offensive side of a football team. I had in mind imagery of the quarterback as a leader and all the supporting roles of team members working together to score more points than the opposition to win. I wanted him to know that I understood my position and gifting of being a lineman, wanting not only to make sure that the organization succeeded but that he succeeded in his role.

His response was not what I expected. He stated that he was all in favor of being a team; the team model he had in mind was a golf team. I understood that to mean that his team model is the sum of the individual player’s independent game. If you think about it, they are two radically different concepts of team, albeit two different kinds of sports.

If I may, let me extend the metaphor to the church. To put it simply, church is a team sport, and though many may perceive it as a golf team, I see it more as a football team. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 makes it very clear that there is a connectedness between the individual members of the body of Christ, the church. This body has one Head, Jesus, and all the individuals serve their unique and interrelated roles or parts as members of that body. I see this as the difference between an incarnational team and a team of individuals.

So here is my question for you, “How much of a sense of team is embodied within your church?” Another way of asking this is, “What is the team culture of your church in general, and specifically within your governing board and ministry leaders?” 

(For clarity’s sake, let me remind you that ministry leaders are church staff, whether they are compensated or not, so the team principle is not dependent on church size.)

My observation is that many pastors, board members, ministry leaders, and church members are playing a team sport much more like golf than football.

Let me offer a few suggestions on your congregation’s team culture.

  1. Leaders need to do some soul searching to determine what kind of team and team player they are or want to be. I find it hard to avoid an incarnational team model picture when reading passages like 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Ephesians 1:23, 4:11-17, Colossians 1:24-29. There is a danger for pastors to become enamored by our ability to communicate or lead and to become a team of one in which everyone else in the church is there to support and advance our game.

A question I have been recently pondering as I work with churches is, “How much of a Sunday morning, sermon-centric church is this?”

  1. Leaders must steward an incarnational team culture. I like the word steward or stewardship. I understand the term is somewhat archaic to our current culture, but stewardship speaks to intentionality, responsibility, and accountability. If you do not intentionally build an incarnational team culture there will be a high price to be paid (accountability) in the dissension, division, and discord of missional dispersion. I believe it is the pastor’s responsibility to develop a body equipping ministry (Eph.4:11-12).

How much time and effort of intentionality are you investing in an incarnational team culture?

  1. Use the Ministry Leader Summit to build your team culture. We have heard many a pastor declare the benefit of bringing board members and ministry leaders to the summit. Time together at the conference or even during the commute builds relationships. A shared experience is a good tool for build camaraderie, cohesiveness, and clarity of identity. This year, one goal I have for our time together is to create space for dialogue, the proverbial “iron sharpens iron” (27:17) idea.

Who could you bring with you to build a greater sense of team?

I still do not think golf is a team sport.

A Week of Blessing

During the week of June 13, 2021, Redding Christian Fellowship (RCF) from Redding, California sent a group of 25 youth and adults to Church on the Hill in Montrose, Colorado for a week of blessing.  They were led by their youth pastor Caleb Little.  The connection between the churches is with their lead pastor John Craft who was the youth pastor of Church on the Hill back in the mid 1990s.  Also, John was on the board of RMCN while he served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Sheridan, Wyoming.

Redding Christian Fellowship (RCF)

The crew served in several locations throughout Montrose as well as at the church.  They were served meals each day by Shepherd’s Hand, our local homeless ministry that provides food and other essential services to less fortunate individuals.  They performed several projects at Shepherd’s Hand.  They painted at WAGEES, a ministry designed to help new parolees fit back into society by giving them training and spiritual guidance.  Tammy (pictured) spoke to the youth about her experiences as a former addict and current parolee at the meal RCF prepared for them.   

The crew spent several days at 180 ministries, a Teen Challenge ministry serving women who have been abused, trafficked, and have struggled with drugs.  180 helps them to make significant changes to experience physical, emotional and most importantly spiritual healing in their lives. 

RCF did heavy landscape work there as shown in the pictures. At the meal RCF planned for 180, the clients poured into the RCF kids with their testimonies.

Several families from Church on the Hill were blessed by the group performing all kinds of tasks at their homes.  One evening at the meal RCF prepared for our church, three of our families shared what the Lord was doing through them in our Montrose community.  One of these was from a longtime leader in our church, Wayne Schieldt, who new John Craft as our youth pastor.  Another family shared their foster care experiences, and the other testimony was from our children’s director, Ken Kiehlbauch. 

The blessings poured both ways, therefore, between RCF and the Montrose Community.  It was a refreshing example of cooperative kingdom work between faith-based organizations and churches. We are stronger and more effective together as we cooperate and encourage one another. 

Personally, I am deeply grateful for pastor Caleb for bringing the group and Pastor John for initially making the connection.  As one of our moms, Julie Hines (Cooper) with teenagers said, “I was hoping John and Lori would be here. I was in his youth group.”  When we invest in ministry and serve one another, the blessings continue to flow both ways generationally.  To God be the glory.

Pastor Mike Lundberg
Church on the Hill
Montrose, Colorado

RMCN Welcomes Smoky Hill Church of Centennial, CO

We are excited to welcome Smoky Hill Baptist Church of Centennial, CO to the Rocky Mountain Church Network. Smoky Hill Baptist Church recently voted to become part of the RMCN.

Vision Statement

“To touch the world with the Word of God, motivated by a passion for God and compassion for people.”

Mission Statement 

Smoky Hill Baptist Church is dedicated to sharing the love of Christ through evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship, and worship. We seek to be compassionate and theologically conservative, as liberal as the love of God and as inclusive as the great invitation of God to man …“Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

Pastor Dan Dilley

Pastor Dan Dilley was born and raised in Canon City, Colorado, where he enjoyed family, sports, and outdoor activities. After graduation from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, Dan began teaching Physical Education, Health, and Fitness in the public schools in Canon City. He also coached several sports, including head basketball coach at Canon City High School. God began to tug on Dan’s heart to answer the call to ministry. This new direction began when Dan became the pastor at United for Christ Community Church in Blanca, Colorado, where he served for 10 years. Dan then moved to Denver, Colorado, where he was a chaplain for 8 years in the New Life Program at the Denver Rescue Mission, and has been blessed to disciple men who are looking for a new life in Christ. Dan loves the Word of God and considers it an honor and privilege to repeat His Word! Dan and his wife, Liz, continue to enjoy family and outdoor activities, and are enjoying the loving, fun, committed folks at Smoky Hill Baptist Church. 

A Devastating Blow: The Plight of Ireland’s Spiritual Condition

“It’s a devastating blow to my country.”

Chris and Joi Copeland, World Venture Missionary Appointees

My wife works at Old Navy part-time while we raise support to live and serve in Ireland as missionaries. One day, an Irish woman came to my wife’s cash register at Old Navy. My wife asked her where she was from and she said that she was originally from somewhere between Belfast and Dublin. My wife then asked her how she felt about the recent vote to overturn a referendum that protected unborn children, which made abortion legal for the first time in the country’s history. She said that it was a “devastating blow to my country.” This Irish woman knows just how quickly Ireland is abandoning the shackles of Roman Catholicism and running as fast as they can toward secularism.

Ireland is a beautiful, green, and lush countryside. It’s on most people’s bucket list to visit someday. The people are warm and hospitable. It’s a prime vacation spot. What people don’t realize is the vast spiritual darkness that is covering the island. Ireland is abandoning religion faster than every country on earth except communist Vietnam. Atheism has grown 600% in the last two decades. Ireland has legalized gay marriage in 2016 and repealed a referendum protecting unborn children last May making abortion legal. Ireland has some of the highest suicide rates in the entire world. The Irish struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse, as they try to fill the hole left behind when they walked away from God. What was once “the land of saints and scholars” is quickly becoming a land of people with no religion, no moral foundation, no spiritual compass, and no hope.

Ireland is not on the radar for most churches when they are contemplating their missions budget for the year. However, Ireland, which was once a bastion of the Christian faith, is now quickly decaying. Ireland is leaving Catholicism in droves and the new generations are being raised without knowledge of God. There are now 72 towns in Ireland with a population of 5000 people or above which do not have a Gospel presence at all. No church. No Bible study. Nothing. Here in America, where there often a church on every corner, this is unfathomable to us.

This is why my family and I have been called to live and serve among the Irish. God called us back in 2014 and we were appointed by WorldVenture. He made it very clear that we were to live and serve in Ireland. We will be joining a church planting team already in place in Ireland. I have a Masters Degree in Leadership Development from Azusa Pacific University and plan to use that knowledge and my passion for building up leaders to help raise up local leaders who will take over the churches planted by our missions team. My wife is a Christian author who writes women’s fiction with stories of hope and redemption. She will use that gift to write Irish stories that will minister to the hearts of the Irish, who are a story telling people.

We also have an exciting opportunity to be a part of establishing a Compassion Centre in Galway City, which will provide services to all the young Irish women who would otherwise be forced to have an abortion. The government will likely encourage women to proceed with abortions because it is cheaper in the long run than providing social services for the mother and her child. The Compassion Centre, which will be church-run, will provide counseling, after school care, tutoring, and support for these desperate young women. Also, it will provide suicide intervention and prevention counseling for these women who are often on the brink of taking their own lives because they have no hope and no support system. I have had the opportunity to take several suicide intervention courses over the last four years and I will be training the team to identify and intervene when someone is in a suicidal pattern. We will provide services and direction for people who have lost hope and desperately need a reason to live. Most importantly, we will be discipling and meeting with people who need to hear the good news about Jesus. We will be hosting Bible studies in our home, meeting with individuals for discipleship, and working in the church to help lead others to Christ. The Irish need the hope that Christ gives and we have been called to share that hope.

If you are interested in hearing more about our ministry, we would love to connect with you. Also, if you are in a place to partner with us financially, please prayerfully consider joining us. We are currently at 74% of our monthly support. We are very close to going but we need a few more individuals and churches to join us. You can reach us via email at cjcopeland@worldventure.net. You can also visit our webpage at www.worldventure.com/cjcopeland or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/copelandclantoireland for more information. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Ireland needs your help.

Corporate Worship: Ideas for Engaging your Congregation

In my roles with the RMCN and CBAmerica, I am exposed to a spectrum of styles of Sunday services. This continuum ranges from traditional services, that have an organ and hymnals (these are definitely fewer in number, thank goodness because those books are heavy), to rock concert like productions with laser lights and fog machines and often times, thank goodness, optional ear plugs. Oops, tipped my hat there a bit, didn’t I?
When I am in a Sunday morning service (as one pastor of a very large church told me, it is not a worship service), I often mentally pose the unspoken query for the pastor and worship leader, “What are you trying to do with this service?” Another way to put it is, “What is your philosophy worship (sorry, I am old)?”  or “What are you wanting me to do in this 1-hour experience?”
Do you want me to worship God? … be entertained? … gain more bible information? …commune with other believers? My hope is that if I knew what we were trying to do, that I could either relax and enjoy or perhaps join you in fulfilling your purpose. But to be honest, most times I do not have a clue what we are trying to do.
So I have asked a few “Worship Leaders,” that from my subjective perspective “get it,” to share some of their insights. The first to come to mind was my good friend Sam Hoffman. Sam is the volunteer worship leader at First Baptist Church of Sheridan, WY. I have known Sam for over 15 years. Vocationally, Sam is an optometrist. He and his wife Robin are the parents of three wonderful daughters.
First Baptist Church of Sheridan, WY is a church of 500 multi-generational attendees. The church recently called Chad Cowan to be their pastor.

Knowing Sam’s musical talent and leadership gifting, I knew that he would share some very practical observations about worship. He did not disappoint me.

From Sam:

I strongly recommend the book “Worship Matters” as a point where I learned much of the following.

In corporate worship, I try to gently lead people to worship God by singing songs that they already know and having them do so in keys that are singable, with the mind and heart fully engaged.

This means:

  1. We introduce a new song once every two weeks maximum, usually only once per month. We do not retire “old” songs very often: if they were good enough for worship 5 years ago, they’re probably still good. I look over old songs and try to do them a maximum of once every three months. For most people who are worship leaders or music-people, learning new music is easy and fun, so I think a major mistake that a lot of worship teams make is too much new music too fast (in fact, this is the primary problem in most churches in America today). YOU may like it, but the average congregant is likely struggling to follow along if you do too many new songs too fast. Also, pay attention to the demographics of your congregation: if it’s mostly older people, you’ll want more hymns. If it’s mostly younger people, you’ll want more contemporary songs.
  2. When we introduce a new song, I play the melody loud and clear on the piano in order to help people pick it up as we sing it the first couple times.
  3. Typically, we start with one or two upbeat songs, and move into more slow/worshipful songs at the end. We do four or five a week, but that’s not a magic number.
  4. All songs must have good theology. There are a lot of songs out there. No sense using one that has bad or even questionable lyrics. If you’re not sure, run it by the senior pastor or the elders. “What a Beautiful Name it Is” is a nice song, but some of the theology is suspect (or flat out wrong), so we haven’t done it.
  5. Key is very important. The average singer can sing from a “low” A (or G in a stretch), to a high C (or D in a stretch). Comfortable for most people is an even narrower range, perhaps a “low” C to a high A (less than one octave!). This may require transposing a song into a difficult-to-play key, but it is worth it to allow people to sing. “Songselect” is worth every penny for performing these transpositions. Guitar players can capo, and piano players (keyboarders) can grow by doing these in strange keys. Remember though that a lot of songs on the radio span an octave and a half or even two octaves (!). Don’t try to do these songs corporately!!! It won’t work!
  6. I sometimes change words in songs to make them fit more appropriately. I do not let this trouble me in the least. Most often it is changing “I” “me” and “my” to “We” “us” and “ours,” making individual songs into corporate songs.
  7. Follow the music and sing the notes as written. Leading worship is not a time to improvise or try something fancy. Keep it simple so people can follow. If your worship team can’t sing it perfectly in 2-3 times through, then leave it. (For instance, I really wanted to do “Jesus Friend of Sinners” recently, but after trying it twice, my worship team was struggling, so we scrapped it.)
  8. Sing songs with appropriate feeling and accompaniment. If you are singing “I Surrender All,” it will be more quiet and subdued than the upbeat song “Trading My Sorrows.” Certain verses of certain songs (see “How Great Thou Art”) call for quiet contemplative minimal accompaniment, and other verses of the same song call for HUGE sound. Play and sing appropriately. In a quiet restaurant, you will whisper “I love you!” to your wife, you don’t stand on your chair and scream it. Apply the same rule to your worship: make sure the volume, tone and presentation fit the words you are singing.
  9. As much as possible, the worship leader(s) should disappear. No stories about “how my week went,” or “You know, I’ve been thinking…” Let the pastor preach. My job is to lead worship, period. Brief exhortations are ok, but anything longer than about 30 seconds is too long (with very rare exceptions). 
  10. Remember it is never, ever, ever about YOU. This is not American Idol. It is about God.
  11. Point people to God, and get out of the way. Bad notes call attention away from God and towards the instrumentalist or vocalist. But a fancy guitar solo does the same. Don’t interrupt the flow. Even long song introductions are rarely worth it: four measures at most for an intro then get the show on the road! If you want a contemplative part in the middle of a song to give people time to pray, you must TELL them that this is what you’re doing… don’t expect them to know. 
  12. At the same time, there will be times when a certain song requires some kind of story or anecdote or thought to get into it gracefully. I do NOT invent these on the fly. I thoughtfully consider what I am going to say and often type it up (at least the keywords) so that I don’t ramble.
  13. Often before singing a song, one simple thing to do is to restate the main theme of the song in different words. Then sing the song. Easy to do but engages the mind. For instance, before “Amazing Grace,” you could say, “If you do not know that you were a wretch at one time, perhaps you do not understand the position from which you were saved.” or “God’s grace is so amazing it will cover every one of your sins,” or something. This needn’t be profound, lengthy, nor poetic. Keep it simple and grounded and relevant.
  14. Avoid 7-11 songs. There are many great worship songs out there. Too much repetition is awesome for about 3% of the congregation, the rest hate it. Trust that people get the message in 2 or at most 4 cycles through. “Jesus lead me where my faith is without borders…” can be grasped in 1 or 2 times around.
  15. Hymns are good, especially ones that are widely known. I do at least one per week, and I try to do them as people remember them. If you jazz them up too much or change them, people will be frustrated because “I wanted to sing it like I know it!”
  16. Don’t be too loud, or people can’t hear themselves sing. Don’t be too quiet so it feels like no one is singing. There’s a balance there, and your sound guy should know it (and will have a meter to find it). 
  17. Every so often, on songs the congregation knows well, have all vocalists back away from the microphone, stop the accompaniment, and let the congregation hear themselves sing.
  18. Don’t worry about the technical components of the sound. Let the sound guys worry about that. Trust your sound person.
  19. Remember there is a difference between leading (taking people where they WANT to go) and manipulation (taking people where they do NOT want to go). In leading worship, we do the former. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to take people out of their comfort zones if it will get them closer to true worship of the living God.
  20. Every so often, intersperse Scripture, a reading, or a responsive reading. If you can get the words on the screen, all the better (some people will not grasp it unless they read it). Make sure it is appropriate and meaningful to your audience.
  21. During powerful worship songs, people will have a hard time sitting. Let them stand.
  22. Don’t make them stand for the whole set, it can be a long time. Give them breaks at times to let them sit.
  23. Respect people’s time. Remember that many of the people on your worship team have 40+ hour per week jobs, spouses, kids, and other hobbies. If you call a meeting from 6-7 PM, make sure it is over at 7 PM… even if this means abruptly interrupting Suzie’s story about her son’s kindergarten class. (Even better, aim to get done at 6:50 so you have a 10 minute buffer). Also, you as the leader need to be ready to go at 6 PM: get there early to make sure things are in place so that others don’t have to pick up your slack.

21 Hour Power Retreat – Canoeing the Mountains

Monday, September 17, 2018 at 5:00 PM – Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM (MDT)

Pastors and Ministry Leaders of churches in Wyoming and Montana are invited to attend a 21-Hour Power Retreat at Camp Bethel in the beautiful surroundings of the Big Horn Mountains.

Camp Bethel | 6103 US-14 | Dayton, WY 82836

Although explorers Lewis and Clark were prepared to find a waterway to the Pacific Ocean, instead they found themselves facing the Rocky Mountains.  You too may feel that you are leading in a context you were not expecting. You may even feel that your training holds you back more often then it carries you along. As leaders, how do you navigate through the uncharted territory of a rapidly changing world? If you’re going to scale the mountains of ministry, you need to leave behind canoes and find new navigational tools. 

Rocky Mountain Church Network Director, Stan Rieb will use the ideas from Tod Bolsinger’s book CANOEING THE MOUNTAINS to set the stage for a study and discussion on how you can lead with confidence and courage in the face of a shifting post-Christian culture.

We are an network of missional churches.  We believe that the local church is God’s primary instrument for Gospel communication, restoration, transformation, and penetration.

We strive to mobilize, assist, motivate, network and encourage congregations and their leadership in the discovery, implementation and accomplishment of their God given mission.


Laborers for the Harvest


A Missional Call to Kingdom Ministry

April 16-17, 2018
at the YMCA of the Rockies

2515 Tunnel Road,  Estes Park, CO 80511

Eventbrite - 2018 RMCN SPRING MINISTRY RETREAT: Laborers For the Harvest

In a world that continues to distance itself from the acknowledgement that there is a God, let alone submit themselves to His rule and reign, Jesus calls His followers to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest.

Pastor Nick Lillo and Dr. Marshall Shelley will help us explore the context of Matthew 9:35-38 to understand the critical application of this passage to the missional challenge and opportunity of the local church.

Pastor Nick Lillo 

Pastor Nick Lillo

Nick Lillo is the Lead Pastor of Waterstone Community Church, Littleton, CO.  Waterstone exists to advance the Kingdom of God – His rule and reign in His creation. They strive to catalyze and experience the transformation of God’s Kingdom in our own lives, the lives of others in our community, and the lives of those around the world.

Nick has been a adjunct member of the faculty at Denver Seminary teaching in the areas of theology and homiletics.

Dr. Marshall Shelley

Dr. Marshall Shelley

Marshall Shelley is director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Denver Seminary and is contributing editor of Christianity Today’s CTpastors.com

He is the author of Well-Intentioned Dragons, Ministering to Problem People in Your Church, the general editor of The Quest Study Bible, co-author with Harold Myra of The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham, and co-author with his father, church historian Bruce Shelley, of The Consumer Church: Can Evangelicals Win the World Without Losing Their Soul?

Raised in Colorado gazing at mountains, he lived for 34 years in “topographically challenged” Chicagoland while editing Leadership Journal before returning to the land of peaks, aspen, and Broncos.

Monday Night – Per Person $105.00
Monday Night – Spouse      $20.00
Tuesday Night (Commuting greater than 3 Hours)      Free!
Tuesday Night – Spouse (Commuting greater than 3 Hours)   Free!
Tuesday Night (Commuting less than 3 Hours)  $105.00 *
Tuesday Night – Spouse (Commuting less than 3 Hours)        $20.00 *

Eventbrite - 2018 RMCN SPRING MINISTRY RETREAT: Laborers For the Harvest

Monday Evening

Dinner from 5-6:30 PM

Session 1 – – Nick Lillo 7 PM to 8:30 PM

Tuesday Morning

Breakfast 7 – 9 AM

Session 2 – Nick Lillo – 9 -10:15 AM

Break 10:15 am to 10:45

Breakout Sessions – 10:45 – 11:45 AM

Tuesday Afternoon

Lunch Noon – 1:30 PM

Session 3 – Marshall Shelley – 1:30-3:00 PM

Developing A Spirit of Generosity – Live Streaming