Jacob and Rachel Baccus are a wonderful couple who served two summers as summer missionaries with SMRM and ACMNP in the Smokies. They also joined us from September, 2009 until late July, 2010. During this time period, Jacob was interim Chaplain at Dollywood and then served as LeConte Lodge Chaplain and general assistant. Rachel has provided worship and concert leadership with music and creativitiy. Their experience represents much of what SMRM hopes to be in terms of providing for ministry, training for future, and developing Christian character. The following article was written by Jacob as a summary of his journey in SMRM.

Jacob Baccus: Top Ten Things I Learned In SMRM

10. Adaptation
Ministry is ever changing and SMRM has shown me that while what I am doing may be important, I always need to allow for the movement of God in my day and my ministry. Whether it be a car wreck or someone I may pass by who needs a word of hope, I learned to remain open to whatever God may bring before me.

9. Variety of ministry experience
SMRM gives a place for all to serve no matter their skill level or education. I was privileged to serve as one ‘learning the ropes’. Others have found their calling in SMRM because they were able to find their niche for serving God. The variety allows others to explore and understand that there are many ways to serve God and others.

8. Recognition of service well done
SMRM always recognizes it’s volunteers and staff by reminding them that it is they who make SMRM a success. Sometimes servants are overlooked but SMRM does a good job of recognizing those who keep God’s work going through SMRM, through banquets, unique gifts, or personal letters and calls.

7. Intentionality
Conversations of weather and sports become much more when one listens intentionally to not only what a person is saying but what they are not saying with words spoken or maybe silence. Driving down the road, or buying groceries becomes a God given invitation to show God’s love when we look at all we do on purpose.

6. Professionalism
As a minister trying to learn what it takes to direct a ministry, I was taught professionalism and administration. It is difficult for some to see resort ministry as something more than having fun skiing or rafting. Those things happen but resort ministers share God’s grace with whomever they may encounter and I learned it is important for all to see us and that all know we are professionals working and living out God’s calling in this setting.

5. Allowing anyone to be a part of the ministry big or small
Some churches have requirements to participate in ministry, but SMRM allows all to minister the gospel without condition. Whether a person’s skills are playing piano, speaking, or cleaning, all are welcomed and given a place to minister the grace God has shown them.

4. Once a part of SMRM, always a part of SMRM
This statement has been true ever since my arrival to the Smokies. My first summer I had car trouble and didn’t arrive until two in the morning but the assistant director stayed at the dorm until my arrival, showing me he cared. The director and assistant director gave me guidance my first two years with SMRM and the director cared for me as a member of his family as I was interim in 2009-2010. I feel I will always be a part of SMRM and it will always have a piece of my heart.

3. Flexibility to be creative in my ministry
As I explored my calling I was able to be creative in my worship leading and my relationships with people. I felt the freedom to incorporate sometimes non-traditional methods of using God’s creation in worship. Also, I was able to hone particular skills and practice new ones.

2. Freedom to explore my calling
Before SMRM, all I ever knew was ministry within the church. SMRM opened doors to new ministry outside the church walls. I was allowed to have freedom to participate in ministry ranging from rafting ministry to Dollywood chaplaincy. I was able to be a chaplain, music minister, pastor, friend, co-worker, laborer, children’s director, and many more. SMRM has significantly advanced my ministry because I was able to find where God was calling me.

1. “Earning the right to be heard”
For me missions/evangelism was knocking on doors and ‘witnessing’. Before I came to SMRM I was trying to put words to intentional missions without being over the top. This simple yet time intensive phrase gave me the sense of direction and purpose I needed and continue to use in my approach to revealing Christ no matter the circumstance.