SMOKY MOUNTAIN RESORT MINISTRIES
2013 ANNUAL REPORT
Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries has a long tradition of training our summer volunteers with a sunset hike off to the side of Clingman’s Dome where the emphasis is seeing our ministry field from the top of the mountains. We follow that mountain top experience with a sensitivity walk in downtown Gatlinburg where we see our ministry field personally. Our hope is to see as God sees –from on high and from up close. We zoom out and zoom in with our vision so that we are inspired from on high and in relationship.
Zoom out. Zoom in. A Visioning of our year.
Zoom Out: International Employee Ministry
In one expression of our work with international employees, Mill Creek RV Park provided the location for us to host weekly dinners for 125 international college students all through the summer. Many of our local churches took responsibility for the meals and it was a joy to see these Christians sharing food, love, and the Gospel with students from about twelve countries each week. Every week at least one student made a profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. God blessed the food, our friends, and the all of us in these events.
Zoom In: Chinese Student Goodbye
Joey Buck and Bill Black were visiting in a Pigeon Forge parking lot on September 19 when Wolf came jogging by. Wolf is a Chinese student who attended our dinners each week. He stopped his run to visit and told us he was flying home to China on September 20. As we said goodbye, Wolf put his hands together in prayer and said, “Keep trusting in Jesus.” What a perfect goodbye blessing from a friend who put his trust in Jesus at a dinner!
Zoom Out: Ober Gatlinburg Ski Ministry
Our ski ministry at Ober Gatlinburg continued to provide intentional evangelism opportunities and demonstrated discipleship moments. Our donut devotionals and Sunday worship on the slopes were provided valuable structure for our work. Our presence and time combined to provide deep relationships that were celebrated through sharing God’s love.
Zoom In: Baptisms In The Snow
The last day of ski season brings fun, races, and games to Ober Gatlinburg –including the game of “pond skimming” where you attempt to ski or snowboard across a pool of water dug into the snow! After a season of intentional evangelism and demonstrated discipleship, two adult ski instructors requested to be baptized in this cold pool filled with floating ice. Their hope was to provide witness and testimony to family and friends at Ober Gatlinburg. With permission from the owners of Ober Gatlinburg, SMRM hosted a worship service gathered around the pool. Bill waded in and baptized these two new Christians! In her testimony, one stated, “…God is good, and bad things happen, but our Savior is always there, and all we have to do is look! So thank you for helping me proclaim my faith and love for Christ.”
Zoom Out: New ministry at Nascar Speed Park
God led as SMRM connected with Nascar Speed Park in a new ministry of outreach, witness, and discipleship. Ownership and management of this company desire a Christian presence in their properties and our new partnership is exciting and powerful. God has brought together strong volunteers and open needs with many blessings being exchanged. Openness to the “what next” questions and possibilities has made this new work a vital part of our year and honors the long tradition of creativity in SMRM.
Zoom In: Larry and Kaye Webb
Larry and Kaye Webb took central responsibility for our work at Nascar Speed Park through leading the “Donut Devotionals” each Sunday morning. Their Christian hospitality and their continued commitment led to deep relationships with employees. Individuals and families have responded to their love –and even more to the love of Christ gifted through them—with restored relationships and with Church involvement. Zooming in with Larry and Kaye reveals a beautiful work of God.
Zoom Out: Dollywood Ministry
Joey Buck continues to provide quality work with Dollywood and its properties and people. Joey has positioned himself as chaplain to grow as the company grows with its expansions into the resort hotel industry. Joey’s presence on park at Dollywood and at Splash Country results in constant conversation where God is revealed in people’s lives. He is thoroughly involved in company and park activities and life. Zooming out reveals a deep and holy relationship with a good company that utilizes its SMRM provided chaplain.
Zoom In: A Picture Of A Month
One of Joey’s monthly reports reveals the following activities:
Continued designing of event for Christian College (Discipleship) students who work for Dollywood during the summer season. Meetings, planning, coordinating, reserving facilities, etc.
Partnered with local church to create gift bags that were given to the Festival of Nation’s performers.
Organized National Day of Prayer event at Dollywood (for guest and hosts)
Visited Dollywood performers and entertainment crews as they prepared for new season of shows
Completed new design of Chapel bulletins, with help of DW marketing team
Researched and secured new piano for the Chapel- planning “Sunday Sing” on the first Sunday when piano is in place
Participated in Annual Updates and other training meetings for Dollywood; leading in prayer and other duties.
Attended pastoral ministry conference: “Religion, Spirituality, and Health”
These were his “Dollywood” activities for the month. Other SMRM, Associational, and family activities led to a full month!
Zoom Out: The Questions Of Denominational Support
The world of Southern Baptists continues to change in rapid movements. New leaders bring new visions that see the needs and opportunities very differently. SMRM has been blessed with denominational wide support from its beginnings some 35 years ago. Much of that support is gone and more is changing. Looking ahead is frightening and exciting. When we zoom out with our vision, we see great challenges and great possibilities.
Zoom In: God Is In Control
This past year has celebrated God being in control of this ministry. SMRM has also celebrated one of its most meaningful years ever as God has repeatedly blessed our intentional evangelism and demonstrated discipleship. This has been a truly blessed year. When we zoom in with our vision, we see God in our midst and loving who we are and guiding what we do and blessing it all. Thanks be to God!
SMOKY MOUNTAIN RESORT MINISTRIES
# Events Attendance
Employee Worship Handouts and Scripture Portions 13 1300
Skier Worship Services 13 273
Employee Bible Studies 9 97
Easter Sunrise Service 1 700
Worship Services 154 2172
Family Evening Programs 6 537
Day Camps (1 week each) 22 536
Theme Parks / Special Attractions Ministry
9:30 Worship Service 38 236
11:30 Worship Service 30 7428
Christmas Festival: Candlelight Worship Service 8 1121
Sunrise Worship Service 22 162
Breakfast Worship Service 22 121
Good Friday Service 1 72
Special Events Ministry
Gatlinburg Craftsmens’ Fair
Sunday Worship Services 5 147
International Employees Ministry
Special Events (Dinners, Picnics, Parties, Park Tours, etc) 28 1279
Bible Studies 14 64
Transportation 74 592
Partnership with Pigeon Forge FBC International Ministry Center 14 300
Other 45 488
Volunteers Utilized 362
Renewals of Faith: 26
Professions of Faith: 124