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Montana Herald • January 2022

A Note From the President

Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I pray that you and your loved ones are in good physical and spiritual health as the turn of the New Year has already come and gone. Despite all the challenges many of us are facing, I am so grateful for a God who loves us and is willing to hear our prayers for guidance during these difficult times. I encourage you to be faithful in your devotional life and allow God to use you to be a blessing to others continually. Jesus is coming soon, and the time to strengthen our faith and actively share Jesus with others is now.

On the topic of strengthening faith, this year’s theme for the Montana Conference is Renewing Faith and Restoring Hope. What does that mean practically? At the end of January, we will be launching an exciting Bible Study opportunity for every Montana church member. The Conference has just received a pallet of 36,400 Discover Bible guides from the Voice of Prophecy. Yes, that is correct, 36,400. We ordered 1,400 sets of the newly revised Discover Bible Study Guides, one set for every attending church member in our Conference. The goal is for every church member to start 2022 by renewing their faith through completing these well-done, freshly updated lessons. I will share the details in a video message to all the churches on how to sign up to receive the lessons and how to invite friends and neighbors to join you in this journey on taking your spiritual life to the next level.

There is one more important way that all of us who have children can be involved in renewing our faith and the faith of our young people. Beginning January 28, I will be hosting a Zoom prayer time on Friday mornings specifically to pray for our children. If you have concerns for the spiritual welfare of your children or grandchildren and want to join others who have the same desire, please join us from 6:30-7:00 am starting on the 28th. You will need to register for the event by clicking on the Zoom link below. I have set up the registration for the simple purpose of having the names of those we will be praying for before the prayer session begins. You will enter that information when you register. Please call the Conference office if you have any questions. I look forward to claiming God’s promises together with you for God to save our children. We will claim God’s promises together, such as Isa. 49:24-25: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty or the lawful captive delivered? But thus says the Lord: ‘Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible be delivered; For I will contend with him who contendeth with thee, and I will save your children.’”

I look forward to seeing what God will do in the lives of all our children through this prayer time together. Join us on the 28th at 6:30 am by registering here:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEscOCpqDIuGNAe2u267P9c275IVBltvOZX

May the peace and love of God fill your hearts as you faithfully serve Him.

Montana Conference News & Updates

Constituency Update

Constituency Meeting is less than three months away! With that in mind there are some important events and dates that we want to be aware of:

Organizing Committee Meetings

  • Western Region Meeting: Sunday, February 6, 10:00 AM at the Ronan SDA Church

  • Central Region Meeting: Sunday, February 6, 6:00 PM at the Bozeman SDA Church

  • Eastern Region Meeting: Sunday, February 6, 11:00 AM at the Billings SDA School


    More specific information is being sent directly to each of the committee members.

Town Hall Meetings

  • Saturday, February 26, 6:00 PM at the Kalispell SDA Church

  • Sunday, February 27, 11:00 AM at the Missoula SDA Church

  • Saturday, March 5, 6:00 PM at the Billings SDA Church

  • Saturday, March 12, 6:00 PM at the Great Falls SDA Church

  • Sunday, March 13, 2:00 PM at the Bozeman SDA Church

These meetings are for all church members, but Constituency Delegates in particular are encouraged to attend. Conference Administration and Directors, as well the Mount Ellis Academy Principal will be in attendance to give a report. These meetings will provide information regarding the Constituency Session and provide an opportunity for questions.

New Pastors across Montana

Pastor Jeff Metherell and his wife Tracie

Pictured above: Pastor Jeff Metherell and his wife, Tracie.

It is exciting to share that we have five new pastors on the ground and working in the Montana Conference as I am writing this. I pause here, thinking that when this edition of the Herald goes out, there will be a chorus of “Praise God” echoing across Montana.

These five new pastors cover our state from one end to the other. Donovan Kack is serving in the far reaches of Northwest Montana, in the Eureka, Libby, Trout Creek District. In the Far Eastern Division, there is Michael Black, in the Miles City, Glendive District. In the middle, there is Jeff Metherell in the Missoula, Superior District; Ney Khut is serving in the Butte, Dillon, Whitehall District; and Rene Marquez is in the Belgrade, Livingston, Big Timber District. Over the next several editions of the Montana Herald, we will be giving you a brief introduction to each of our new pastors. This month, we will begin with Pastor Jeff Metherell, who arrived in Montana in November of 2021.

Jeff comes to the Montana Conference from the Texico Conference, where he served for nearly eight years as the Association Secretary, Stewardship Director, Director of PARL, and Director of Estate Planning Services. Previously, he served in the Wisconsin Conference for over two years, where he was the Association Secretary, Stewardship Director, and Trust Services Director.

Before that? Here is the cool part! God dramatically called Jeff out of the business world, where he had worked all his life, and into the Lord’s work. It was this calling that he finally found true fulfillment. He was able to apply his education from the University of Denver and Walla Walla University, his experience in healthcare administration and the residential mortgage industry, as well as his God-given gifts for the expansion of God’s Kingdom.

Over the past year, Jeff began to feel an ever-stronger prompting to shift from conference work to pastoral ministry. The call to join the Montana Conference as pastor for the Missoula district felt like a definite answer to many prayers.

Jeff loves music, tennis, writing, and the mountains. Along with his wife, Tracie, he mostly loves ministering to promote healthy and spiritually vital churches filled with restored and God-serving individuals.

Jeff and Tracie’s thoughts on being in Montana, “Obviously, we love the scenic beauty of Montana — unrivaled! Also, the pace is more relaxed, and the people are very genuine! All in all, we absolutely love it here!”

We want to welcome Jeff and Tracie to our Montana Conference family and are anxious to see how God will work through them to further God’s work here in Montana.

Education News

The Conference education entities across the state recently broke into a collective celebration when they learned they had been awarded GEER II Grant funding for which they had applied.

The GEER II Grant was created to assist schools to, “…prevent, prepare for, or respond to COVID-19 as it relates to the delivery of education services. Governor Gianforte is committed to expanding learning opportunities for all Montana students by bridging technology divides. To that end, GEER II funds will be awarded to Pre-K-12 education-related entities whose proposals expand internet, technology, and/or remote learning access.” (https://governor.mt.gov/geer)

While previous sources of COVID-19 funding had contained too many obligations and potential concerns with oversight, this particular funding was created for private school institutions.

Nicole Johnson, a grant writer from Wayfinder Innovations, was enlisted to help write the grant due to the short amount of time given for submission. Ms. Johnson assisted with the two levels of the proposal writing that were required.

The total award for the Montana Conference exceeded $300K and will fund technological advances and goals specified by each school. Examples of requests were upgraded/expanded broadband service, increased number of Chromebooks, academic program subscriptions, to name a few.

The Conference will be the entity that does the purchasing on behalf of the schools and will inventory all of the items. If a particular school ceases to need their materials, they will be given to another school for use.

During a recent in-service held in Bozeman, teachers learned the details of how such a large purchase will be made and the process it will take. Teachers compared their requests with what other schools had applied for and showed excitement for the coming materials and supplies.

Camp Paxson Registration is Open!

Camp Paxson summer camp is an event operated by the Youth Department of the Montana Conference Office of Seventh-day Adventists. This one week summer camp is open to those between 9-14 years of age. Sign up now to reserve your spot for June 26-July 3, 2022!

We hope your child has a great experience, learns new skills, and sees Christ in new ways! To register, click on the button below. If you have questions, you may contact the Montana Conference Office at 406.587.3101.

Camp Paxson Registration

Mount Ellis Academy

Adventist Education is one of the most important arms of our church. Our schools evangelize for Christ both inside and outside of our denomination. At Mount Ellis Academy (MEA), we believe that our role goes beyond evangelism, for we have been called to prepare our students not only for the world to come but for this world as well.

To us, this means preparing students to be able to excel at whatever God has called them to do. We have students whose calling is to continue their educational career in college and even pursue their academics to the graduate level within our student body. Currently, we offer a robust college-preparatory course load and even an enriched diploma for those looking to get into colleges with more demanding admission requirements. All of this is right and good. The academic instruction our students get to prepare them for these next educational steps is second to none, but more needs to be done.

Over the last three years, the average percentage of MEA graduates that have gone on to college is between 20% & 30%. That means we have not been effectively preparing around 70% of our graduates for their future in this world. This needs to change.

Not all of our students have been called to pursue higher education. The world has changed from when I was a student in high school when the perceived path to stable and well-paying jobs went through college. In today’s world, technology has invaded the trades and changed the reality I once lived. A local business owner in the trades is getting no applications for an associate position advertised for $40-$50 an hour. I encountered an individual who worked as the head mechanic at a Ford dealership in Reno, NV, looking to transfer up to Bozeman. The salary he was looking for to transfer up here was in the range of $250,000-$300,000 a year.

At MEA, we are working toward establishing a Trades Program beginning next year. Historically, this has been a problem for Adventist academies because they have looked to monetize the labor of the students to help pay for their programs which have caused conflict with labor laws. The trades program we are looking to establish here at MEA will follow a different model.

I am currently working with a professional in the HVAC industry who is getting certified as an instructor, and we are looking toward beginning a program to certify those MEA students interested in going into the HVAC field after graduation. God willing, as we expand, the intention is to start programs in the fields of welding, coding, auto mechanics, electrical, carpentry, and other trades.

Creating new programs from scratch is a challenging process. Starting new programs takes money, personnel, planning, and materials. If you feel God speaking to your heart regarding this, please pray, and if He lays a burden on your heart to help us take this next step, reach out to me.

I want to thank you for your continued prayer for the staff and students of MEA as we continue to seek God’s will for our school and our ministry.

Inviting students from 7th-11th grade to join us for Ski the Summit! For more information and to register, click the button below.

Ski the Summit Registration
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The Montana Herald is the official communication publication of the Montana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. If you know of another member of the conference not receiving this email, share it with them so they don't miss out on what is happening across our conference.

President - Ken Norton
Vice President of Administration - Jim Jenkins
Treasurer - Erin Tungesvik
Education Superintendent & Youth Ministries - Renae Young

Communication Coordinator & Newsletter Editor - Stephen Carlile