In the 1970’s my favorite T-shirt was one that pictured a hiker with the caption, “Go Climb A Mountain”. (I also had “Go Climb A Rock” and “Go Hike A Canyon.”)


Hiking and climbing and mountains have been in my energy flow since I got off the coastal plains of South Georgia.   Living on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been one my blessed rewards through the years of my ministry. It is joy to be able to retreat into these mountains

Isaiah 40: 9-10 guides our Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries 2016 Annual Report.

Climb a high mountain, Zion.
You’re the preacher of good news.
Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem.
You’re the preacher of good news.
Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid!
Tell the cities of Judah,
“Look! Your God!”
Look at him! God, the Master, comes in power,
ready to go into action.

“Go Climb A High Mountain!”

Isaiah tells God’s people to make the effort; to do the work; to climb and to climb high.   Climbing high mountains does not just happen.   You must prepare; have the right clothing and gear; study the way; set out on the path; follow the guide; push your physical abilities; enter into the experience; open yourself to the summit; and make the descent. There is work involved in climbing mountains.


Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries is involved in all the aspects of climbing the mountains God has set before us.   We are on the journey. We have a professional staff and Board.   We continue to utilize the best of materials and equipment and programming. We seek God’s guidance in all we do.   We know the challenge.   We remain under-funded by approximately $1000 per month while we have accepted financial realities and limits. We are experiencing the blessings of a wide-open well received ministry that is accurate and valid in this community. We are open to all God sets before us.   We stay on the move –towards higher ground. 2016 and 2017 are the years of climbing higher with all the challenges.


“You’re the preacher of good news.

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries remains viable and valid in our setting.   This ministry has not slowed down in what we do. God has not closed any of our ministry programs. We have remained constant with our message of Good News. 2016 has seen great response to our work with over 40 people making professions of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Our people have preached, taught, served, counseled, loved, sung, and lived the Good News.   Our programs continue to work. God has brought new volunteers to us and opened new relationships for us.   2016 has been a great year of proclaiming the Good News.


“Raise your voice. Make it good and loud”

Our presence is strong.   One of the highlights for 2016 has been an emphasis on training and preparing volunteers and mission groups for service. This year has celebrated the growth of missional Christians with a message that “God has brought you here. You have said, ‘Yes, Lord’. What you have to say is important. Speak up. Live loud for God.” This preparation of intentional volunteers means that they must take seriously what they have to say and how they speak. A loud voice is only helpful if it is tuned to God’s message and to God’s tone of love.


“Tell the cities of Judah,
“Look! Your God!”

Revealing the presence of God in the Smokies has always been the theme of Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.   Getting people to “Look and to see their God” active in their lives remains our style.   We surprise people in theme parks, ski resorts, campgrounds, special events, and at work by showing them God’s presence. 2016 has been especially rewarding as we focused this effort in individual relationships. Our deep community presence has led to rewarding counseling where people responded to knowing God active in their lives.


“Look at him!”

This is not a season for us to take our eyes off God. Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries is especially vulnerable as we are an independent ministry tasked with generating our own support, finding our own volunteers, conducting our own programs without resources, maintaining healthy relationships with Sevier County Baptist Association and its wonderful churches, and meeting the demands of the ministry. As we climb the high mountains, we must keep our eyes on God as the guide for this ministry.


“God, the Master, comes in power,
ready to go into action.


Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries is healthy in its people and programs.   We are blessed in our love with God. We are strong in who we are and what we do.     We are challenged in terms of our financial demands. We are confident of God being the power and the action in this ministry. We are climbing the high mountains with God and we rely on his power.   2016 has been a year of action rewarded by God. We are climbing higher   —farther in and higher up— in the power of God.


And I was wondering my friends if you had been to the mountains

To look at the valley below?

Did you see all the roads tangled down in the valley?

Did you know which way to go?

Oh the mountain stream runs pure and clear

And I wish to my soul I could always be here.

But there is a reason for living

Way down in the valley

That only the mountain can know.

Paul Stookey, From the album “Paul And”