Rocky Mountain Conference’s third Lay Pastor Program training event for Western Slope took place via Zoom May 1-3, where the participants were able to gain insight and understanding in a new way. “The training is very helpful to me. It makes me think on a much deeper level than ever before. I read the Word with added enthusiasm,” said Jean Coren from Grand Junction, who was one of 24 participants.

Social distancing did not stop the program, which began in the fall of 2019. Meeting by Zoom “allowed these trainings to continue in spite of not being able to meet in person,” said Pastor Nate Skaife, senior pastor of Grand Junction Church and principal trainer.

There are two training cohorts being offered, one on the Front Range and one on the Western Slope. The Lay Pastor Program, scheduled for April 24-26 and May 1-3, continued as planned but with a location change, and with 19 participants in the Front Range event and 24 in Grand Junction.

Participants gain knowledge and resources to minister to their community more effectively, assist in growing a healthy and active local church, and minister alongside their local pastor.

These training weekends always have practical and theological components. The practical focus this time was on how we relate to other people – focusing on personality types and how that applies to ministry.

The program began by reviewing the personality assessments that participants had previously completed. Personality types were explained, followed by breakout sessions where participants discussed how their personality type influences the way they interact and minister to others.

The presentations on Sabbath afternoons had several components, the first was understanding the difference between Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ). The importance of understanding the impact EQ has in everyday life in how we relate to others was emphasized. It affects those we are ministering with and those we are ministering to.

Presentations about “the personality types were good. I enjoyed it, but the deeper study was what really intrigued and challenged me,” Coren commented.

Sandy Carosella from Grand Junction commented that the training made her more aware about her personality and how she “can work better with others and be more understanding of them.”

The second focus of the afternoon included talking about the differences between devotional Bible reading and in-depth Bible study. Both are important, but the latter often has much less time devoted to it. To practice some in-depth Bible study, the participants studied 1 Tim. 2:8-12.

The third emphasis of the day was Giving Engaging Bible Studies. This included discussions about us as individuals, not just the content of the studies. How can we use the understanding of who we are, our personalities, and EQ to better engage with individuals?

Sunday morning was spent on the theological focus of the weekend–the godhead. Some of the discussions included questions on the “sonship of Jesus,” and “When was Jesus begotten and what does that actually mean?”

Although participants were not able to meet in person for these weekends, we are grateful that we could continue with the Lay Pastor Program, said Pastor Skaife.

The Lay Pastors Program is to continue with Denver Cohort scheduled for Sept. 11-13, 2020, and Grand Junction Cohort Sept. 18-20, 2020.