2012 Annual Report
OCTOBER 1, 2011 – SEPTEMBER 30, 2012
Jeremy Postal is a minister in the resort setting of Whistler / Blackcomb, Canada. He recently wrote an article entitled “Eight Skills Missional Leaders Need To Develop.*” Jeremy’s ministry approach parallels much of what we do in SMRM. His insights provide clear language for our active report for the past year. As missional people in Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries, we would do well to learn from him.
Jeremy: We have had many more opportunities to simply connect with people, cultivate
personal, spiritual, & communal development, and encourage people forward in life, leadership, and ministry. Because I spend less time programming and more time with people, I’ve had to sharpen my coaching, discipleship, and spiritual formation skills.
SMRM Response: People continue to be celebrated within SMRM. As we have always stated, people are more important than programs. You have to earn the right to be heard. You build relationships that enable the “hearing” of the Gospel. Our key words continue to be intentional relationships, initiative, and purpose in developing community. Further, the development of missional Christians is done through guidance into understanding their call, providing the resources they need for that call, trusting them with the SMRM ministry field, freeing them to ministry action, and structuring their interpretation of that call experience. This is coaching in spiritual formation. Our 2012 summer staff was outstanding in their response to this approach.
Our local volunteers, houseparents, and summer staff connected with themselves, with God, with each other, and with individuals and community.
Jeremy: I’ve always really enjoyed telling stories and now, more than ever, I’ve come to rely on story (and metaphor) to tell the Story. This is a critical communication skill today.
SMRM Response: When I ask staff to report on ministry action or time spent in intentional
relationship, I expect a story for an answer. Good ministry is told in how God’s hope was made real and in how a person responded. True mission is revealed not in “how many” but in “who, what, and how.” Thus, the report of five teenagers from Atlanta who became Christians while on a visit here becomes the story of purposeful relationships by our summer staff girls that celebrated birthdays that moved into sharing of heart and sharing of ministry and beyond into new life for these beautiful girls.
3. Boundary Shift
Jeremy: The transition from church-based to community-based mission meant our personal and family boundaries had to shift somewhat to better fit the context here. We haven’t quite figured this one out yet (because we really liked our old set of boundaries) but we’re working on it.
SMRM Response: SMRM utilizes programs as tools to become involved with others. Our
programming in 2012 remained strong (see attached report). The purpose of the programs is what matters. Our life shift into deep community involvement from program does not negate quality children’s day camps or meaningful worship on the ski slopes. Rather, it recognizes the holy both in and beyond the specific event moment; it searches out and reveals God’s action in something as common as booth sitting at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair.
4. Love for the Church
Jeremy: Because we’re not involved in the day-to-day operations of running a local church
we’ve been able to step back and remember why the Church is Jesus’ plan! More now than ever I have huge appreciation for and a love of local churches.
SMRM Response: The involvement of local churches into SMRM began with a discovery field day last fall with ministry site tours and meeting our volunteers. It continued with calling out and utilizing local volunteers. The local church moves in SMRM from the providing specific ministry action items (such as a church that provided Chinese / English Bibles) to assisting with general ministry supplies (helping us have a summer staff) and on into the encouraging of that staff in its mission and beyond into the life of a Chinese student who became a Christian and was baptized at a church before she returned home to China.
Jeremy: Missional leadership requires a slower approach and pace to ministry allowing for
attentiveness and intentional focus on other people. We listen with our ears, our hearts, and we listen by our actions and attitude towards others. I think the first skill of an effective missionary is to: Listen to Scripture, Listen to the Holy Spirit, and Listen to people & culture.
SMRM Response: In our volunteer orientation we spend time in an exercise that moves from hearing to active listening and into receiving others. Making space to receive others is key for SMRM’s ministers. We also do a prayer sensitivity exercise in Gatlinburg that teaches us to listen as God listens and to see as God sees our ministry field. In one such exercise this year, one of our participants found herself listening to the hope of a visitor praying for salvation and then seeking baptism. Her baptism celebration was a great moment in the story of Church and a happy celebration.
Jeremy: Celebrating and championing others’ achievements and victories (whether it’s one person, an organization, or an entire city) is one of the quickest routes towards building trust & credibility with the people you’re celebrating with. I think missional leaders need to budget time and resource for food, festivals, and celebrations. The capacity to celebrate with people is huge for a missional leader.
SMRM Response: You really should volunteer in one of our dinners for the international
students working in our area. We host these on a regular basis all through the year. They
become global celebrations of God’s love making our world smaller and more beautiful. They are filled with laughter and photos and serious discovery of friendship. They last for hours after the food is gone with conversation and joy. SMRM does know how to celebrate!
7. Balancing the Book
Jeremy: Speaking of budget, missional leaders likely won’t pull a salary from any one source. For us, this transition meant giving up a secure monthly paycheck for a monthly conversation about how hungry we are, how we’re going to make ends meet, and remembering God’s faithfulness. This has been the hardest part of the transition for us but, in that, we’ve had ample opportunity to see our faith grow and see first hand how God provides over and over. If you’d like to tangibly take part in being the hands and feet of God’s provision, please contact us.
SMRM Response: The cooperative agreements between the Sevier County Association of
Baptists, the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and the North American Mission Board have
provided the vehicle for SMRM to exist for over 35 years. Those agreements are closing as vision changes within NAMB. We are being upheld by the SCAB and TBC. It is for us to
know that the God who has provided for this to be a vital and relevant ministry through the years will lead us into the unknown future.
Jeremy: We pray more, listen more, and believe that when Jesus instructed us to ask for the Kingdom of God, he meant it. Prayer is at the base of every lasting missionary movement and, more than that, I don’t want to miss the dialogue with the God I serve.
SMRM Response: Thanks Be To God!
|Employee Worship Handouts and Scripture Portions||10||1000|
|Skier Worship Services||10||232|
|Employee Bible Studies||10||158|
|Easter Sunday Sunrise Service||1||900|
|Family Evening Programs||12||834|
|Day Camps (1 week each)||22||624|
|Theme Parks / Special Attraction Ministry|
|9:30 Worship Service||25||217|
|11:30 Worship Service||30||6015|
|Christmas Festival: Candlelight Worship Service||7||1050|
|Sunrise Worship Service||24||192|
|Breakfast Worship Service||24||216|
|Good Friday Service||1||69|
|Special Events Ministry|
|Gatlinburg Craftsmens’ Fair|
|Sunday Worship Services||4||136|
|July 4 Pre-Parade Ministries||9 Teams||80.000|
|International Employees Ministry|
|Special Events (Dinners, Picnics, Parties, Park Tours, etc)||36||742|
|Partnership with Pigeon Forge FBC International Ministry Center||14||300|
|Volunteers Utilized: 482|
|Professions of Faith: 78|
|Renewels of faith: 22|