Forty-five pastors and their families from the Rocky Mountain Conference were among more than 5,500 attendees who gathered last summer for a four-day convention in Austin, Texas preceding the General Conference Session in nearby San Antonio.
In addition to participating in dozens of seminars sponsored by the North American Division Ministerial Department, the RMC ministers were invited by Ed Barnett, conference president, to a meeting introducing a plan to organize a special outreach event in 2016 in Denver, hosted by evangelist Mark Finley and his team.
“We are excited about this possibility, and we want to hear from him about the program he envisions for the Denver series,” Barnett said at the meeting.
The 2016 event will build on Finley’s earlier public evangelism in 2004, which resulted in nearly 500 baptisms. These meetings, however, will have a different approach to correspond with a growing interest in health in the United States. The eight-day series will be based on CREATION Health, a program developed by Florida Adventist Hospital.
The series will combine an exposé on principles of health, cooking and nutrition presented by Ernestine Finley and a biblically-based spiritual application—all aiming at reducing health risks that “have become a killer in our society,” Finley explained.
Meeting with the ministers offered Finley an opportunity to present a plan that would involve local churches becoming part of intensive preparation up to seven months in advance of the series. Finley stated that he wants to involve “pastors who are totally committed to supporting the meetings and doing a totally structured follow up. Our goal is to help Colorado become the healthiest state in the United States.”
Referring to recent research and media exposure of the Adventist lifestyle contributing to an increased longevity of seven or eight years, Finley is recommending Living to a Healthy 100 as a theme for the series, which will involve some 30 Adventist congregations in metropolitan Denver with perhaps 100 simultaneous satellite events throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Barnett said the Finley series also offers an opportunity to involve Adventist hospitals and their community presence in the program.
Responding to the plan, RMC health director Rick Mautz welcomed the program as a challenge and an opportunity to present the benefits of an Adventist lifestyle.
“We will want to be involved,” he stated. The Austin convention offered the RMC health ministry the opportunity to present an exhibit featuring Walking the Health Path Together program for congregations. He spoke with hundreds of ministers who expressed an interest in the RMC program. “When pastors stop here and we talk about the program we are offering, they say: ‘This is what we want to do also,’” Mautz said.
Though the exact date for the Denver series was not announced, Finley stated that one of his goals is to “see our churches become loving centers of God’s redeeming grace.”
Rajmund Dabrowski is communication director for the Rocky Mountain Conference.