CHRONOS AND KAIROS IN
SMOKY MOUNTAIN RESORT MINISTRIES
Chronos In SMRM
Chronological time is sequential time. It is that simple recognition of what has happened. As one who loves history, chronos provides for me a framework to understand story as when it happened and who was involved in it.
The chronological story of Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries (SMRM) makes for a story of God guided moments and people that is a joy to reflect upon. Chronos in SMRM is long and rich and filled with powerful people who appear in the story at the right time to move this ministry through time.
Chronos in SMRM is organizational in the 1970’s with active beginnings and creative and new mission expressions. It is names like Glenn Cardwell, W.A. Galyon, Melvin Carr, and all of Sevier County Association of Baptists working together to birth something new. The story of the 1970’s involves Randy Hurst and Stan and Joanie Albright and such things as campground ministries and The Fishnet Coffeehouse.
Bill and Cindy Black arrived in 1981 as SMRM was made a full time missionary position. The 1980’s became a time of program development and skill development as resort missions took its place in mission awareness. The ski ministry at Ober Gatlinburg was begun. As Pigeon Forge came into its own as a resort destination, SMRM expanded again with puppet shows at the first outlet malls and outreach into the water parks. Special event ministries were designed for such things as the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair. The chronology of the 1980’s reveals programs, people (summer staffs of 20 or more!), and numbers.
The 1990’s deepened the story SMRM through celebrating long relationships with churches such as Thomson, GA First Baptist or Lebanon, TN First Baptist who send mission teams each year (both began in the1980’s and continue to this day!). Those long relationships were celebrated and utilized through our house parent corps. The story deepened through the development of the Dollywood chaplain’s ministries through Eric Spivey and others. The death of Art Holloway through cancer and the death of Kelley Shelton through an accident made real the SMRM community with the Art Holloway Missions Endowment Fund and with a soul-searched and God-guided redefining of SMRM in terms of mission, vision, and character statement (how is “risk” at work in SMRM?).
The timeline of the 2000’s and this current decade is marked with relational ministries done by small staffs with deep community involvement. Scott and Jenn Capshaw, Lizzie Sessions Kirk, and many of our now-grown-up-former-summer-missionaries-who-come-back-to-serve have made real our key missional words of intention, initiative, purpose, and action. The presence of international workers in our resorts has led to SMRM becoming a global force for missions. SMRM is blessed by God in ministry action every day.
Kairos In SMRM
Understanding SMRM in the fullness of time provides for an even deeper appreciation of this ministry. Kairos is the Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. Kairos interprets the meaning of time and recognizes the qualitative nature of time. Kairos is the fullness of time.
Through time, SMRM has functioned (1) to allow creativity to become a key expression of missions; (2) to provide worship and Christian interpretation of life in outdoor and unexpected places and moments; (3) to express Christian care into the lives of those in need and in hope; (4) to share God’s love and invite others into that loving and saving presence through Jesus Christ; (5) to develop and set the standards of the language and action of resort missions; (6) to model the Church as it can be known in resort settings and to leisure lifestyle people; (7) to grow Christians in their understanding of mission; (8) to allow people to discover God’s will for their lives and to test the meaning of that will in a Christian community of acceptance; (9) to become a deep and connected missional community; (10) to reveal the presence of God active in peoples’ lives; (11) to move people out of their comfort zones and into God’s world on the edge; (12) to be a celebrative and joyful people connected all over our world as SMRM’ers; (13) to impact the world with God’s love as people with whom we minister go from this place; (14) to be the Church in this moment of time in this place!
(I wrote this list at 4:30 a.m. without hesitation or design. I would invite you to think of SMRM’s impact on you or God’s use of you through SMRM for more such phrases.)
The Chronos Of Now
The chronos of now, however, has become a key moment for SMRM. This is the new age where SMRM must stand on its own feet. Denominational support that has worked from its beginnings has been lost. Southern Baptists and Tennessee Baptists no longer support SMRM with any financial help. Sevier County Association of Baptists believe in resort missions and SMRM. They have affirmed Bill Black as Director.
Now, SMRM is an independent non-profit corporation with ministry guidance from the Sevier County Association of Baptists. Now, SMRM must raise its own money for both salary and program. Now, SMRM needs $168,000 a year to meet its budget. Now is the new and powerful moment for SMRM to secure its future and continue its powerful story. Now, SMRM needs you to give and to become involved in its funding and its future.
The Kairos Of Now
The kairos of now is also a key moment for SMRM. Our ministry model remains strong and God-blessed. Our business model is being developed new and fresh. We need you as God’s people to become involved in giving at present, funding for the future, and finding funding for the future.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, before the Divine Liturgy begins, the Deacon exclaims to the Priest, “Kairos tou poiesai to Kyrio” (“It is time [kairos] for the Lord to act”); indicating that the time of the Liturgy is an intersection with Eternity. How is that for putting pressure on the minister to speak what is Holy!
It is time (kairos) for the Lord to act.
It is time for the Lord to act in and through you.
Now SMRM needs you.
Now is the holy moment of making SMRM new and interpreting SMRM new.
Now the future is here.
Now the chronos and kairos come together for SMRM.
Now is our holy word!
Get involved Now!
Plan for giving Now!
Develop funding for SMRM
Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries
PO Box 114
Gatlinburg, TN 37738