For some who may remember – and for many who do not know – I have been a member here at Heart of the Rockies for almost 25 years.
I don’t really want to talk about it. It makes me feel old. (And one of my students called me “middle-aged” this week. Though accurate, I’m still reconciling this fact.)
My first Sunday School teacher here was a woman named Janice. We memorized Psalm 23 together: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…
I remember getting picked up by Darlene after my 7th grade basketball practices to eat pizza and talk Jesus with a handful of other middle- and high-school youth in her living room.
With our pastor Jeff’s patient guidance and belief in me, I gave my first sermon from this very spot as a freshman in high school.
I moved to Montana for college where I was a Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM) Fellow for the Disciples of Christ Church. I attended Grand Avenue Christian Church and was mentored, loved on and well fed by Tom and late Arty Parac.
When I returned to finish my degree at Colorado State University, our pastor Scott Hardin-Nieri met with me monthly over burritos and good conversation.
Maybe you are picking up on a theme here…
For 25 years, people have continuously stepped into my life through Heart of the Rockies to offer support, mentorship, and guidance. I hope that I have returned that through my time as a youth group leader, Sunday School teacher, worship leader, and volunteer.
As an educator, I know – and research shows – that the #1 factor to kids making it in this world (and holy wow, is this a world to “make it” in!) is that they feel connected to one caring adult. It’s the ticket, the IT.
Turns out, it’s everything Jesus was about… RELATIONSHIPS. Our finances at Heart of the Rockies reflect that. That relationships matter. It’s what we mean when we say we’re Loving God. Serving others. Changing lives.
It’s what we mean when we make sure our kids have a caring adult that they feel connected to. It matters. And that adult very likely could be the Associate Pastor we’re about to call to our congregation.
The people I mentioned? They matter too. They molded me and inspired me to be an active part in shaping others.
I give generously to this church because I was inspired by that.
And I hope that every awkward seven year-old who walks through these doors has the same experience that I did. Powerful, kind, and generous adults who say “yes” – and not just for them, but for the many who will follow.
Please consider how you can give generously as we plan our budget for the coming year. Love this family; let’s make this happen.
(This story was shared in worship on Sunday, October 8 by Cassie Poncelow, long-time Heart of the Rockies member, local high school guidance counselor, and empower-er of young world-changers.)