Over the course of a lifetime, the one word question, “Why?” gets asked many, many, many times. Often times it is in the context of heartache, pain, sorrow or some deep troubling situation.
On a few occasions it might be said proactively, in the context of an entity figuring out, for instance, “Why do we do, what we do?” The question gets answered, sometimes with statements that begin with “We exist to…..”
One thing that has been burned into my heart since entering ministry in a district capacity nineteen years ago is this: we exist to serve the Lord and our churches: our congregations, leaders and pastors!
I haven’t spent much time over the past nearly nine years working on a new mission statement because that previous statement drives much of what Chris, Eric, Mary and I seek to do every day. Understanding the why gives direction to the “how.”
The district office is not a church. We’re church-related, most definitely, but we do not have a congregation of four people at 2545 Saint Johns Avenue in Billings, MT. We exist to serve the Lord and our churches: our congregations, leaders and pastors. Everything we do runs through this grid. It is why we seek to assist you in multiple ways. In the past seven days, I have participated in board meetings, been a listening ear to colleagues, given spiritual direction, prayed with and for colleagues/situations, worked with upcoming ordinations, connected with potential pastors, worked with pastoral search teams, developed relationships with lay leaders, connected with official workers casually and formally, coached pastors through difficult and demanding situations (some in an on-going fashion) — on and on and on it could go. Please do not misunderstand — I am not complaining in the least. I love what I get to do and who I get to do it with — YOU and our excellent district team! Chris, Eric and Mary also work tirelessly — in many and varied ways — to come alongside our goal to serve the Lord and you. If I was to add their work to my partial list, this column would be waaaaay too long! Suffice it to say, we exist to serve the Lord and you!
One such tangible way is through the Breaking The Barriers (BTB) Grant. Created 8 years ago, this grant, in the amount of $20,000 over two years, was designed to come alongside accredited churches in overcoming ministry, staff or facility barriers. It is not meant to accomplish the whole project, rather to assist with addressing any or all of those areas. Through the years churches that have received the BTB Grant has sought to address all three of those areas. Some have been in building programs, some have added new ministries altogether and still others have used the grant to assist in bringing on needed staff to lead/direct new or substantially changed ministries within the church or community. The recipient of this year’s BTB Grant is The Rock in Nampa, ID. They are adding a new children’s ministry wing to their facility.
Two other grant programs, through the district office and the District Advance Fund, this year have been the 2021 Council Grant and the Technology Grant.
While registration for Council has officially closed, IF you have registered for Council — either online or in-person — the RMD has a grant that can help with your expenses. If you registered for online participation, send an email with your receipt of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reimburse you for your registration fee. This is also the case for lay delegates who registered online. If you registered for in-person attendance, the RMD will reimburse $500 per official worker and $250 for lay delegates.
The $500 technology grant is available to any RMD Church that has had any tech related purchases in 2020 or 2021. This could include cameras, computers, lighting for livestream, microphones, other digital equipment that was purchased for church use during the pandemic and beyond. Email receipts for payment of up to $500 to email@example.com — it’s pretty simple!
We’ve answered the “why” question for the RMD Office. Perhaps you have too, for your ministry. We also exist to help you with the “how” even as we constantly seek ways to fulfill the “how” for the RMD Office. If we can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact myself, Chris, Eric or Mary.