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.

Laborers for the Harvest

2018 RMCN SPRING MINISTRY RETREAT

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.

Cost:
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

Schedule:
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

Catalyst Denver One-Day

Catalyst Denver One-Day

March 8, 2018
$79 Tickets

Once again we have an opportunity to offer discounted tickets to the Catalyst One Day Training event in Denver.  Again this year it will be held at:

Cherry Hills Community Church
3900 Grace Boulevard
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

It is often said that change is the only constant and we know that our world is constantly advancing, shifting, and adapting, but how do we lead in these new realities?

Join Craig Groeschel, Lysa TerKeurst, and Levi Lusko as we examine how to anticipate coming change before it arrives, create a strategy for transition, and map a compelling vision for the future.

Bring the entire team! Together you’ll learn to:

  • Foresee problems and opportunities before they arise
  • Create and communicate a strategy for change
  • Understand organizational life cycles
  • Establish a different way of thinking
  • Foster a culture that embraces change and fuels progress

REGISTER HERE!