THE RANCHER, THE PASTOR OF DISASTER & THE MORTICIAN
By Tierce Green
The Retreat at Jenness Park
I recently spoke for a men’s retreat in the Sierra Nevada Mountains between Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. Most of the men were from small unincorporated towns in that area, towns built in the hills first mined during the 1849 California Gold Rush. Most of the churches are relatively small, from forty to a couple hundred people. Several of the pastors are bi-vocational. It was a refreshing trip joining men who are simply hearing God’s Word and doing it.
The retreat at Jenness Park attracted a broad age-range of men in their twenties through their sixties. As I listened to their stories, I think I learned as much as I taught that weekend. One of those stories came from a semi-retired rancher who had a lot of miles on his body and his Bible. I jokingly asked how many times he had to drag his Bible around the parking lot to get it to look that rough and ragged. He quietly said, “That’s not from dragging, that’s from using. There’s lots of good stuff in there.” I could tell by the way he listened and the stories he told that God’s Word had equipped and mobilized him to impact his family and community. He loved God and practiced His Word. This man was a great example of authentic manhood.
The Pastor of Disaster
My ride from the Sacramento airport was provided by Rob Bline, co-pastor at Glory Bound Fellowship, a cowboy church in Burson, California. Wildfires are common in California. People seem to mark time by framing their stories with names like the Mokelumne Fire, the Butte Fire, and so on. Before Rob was officially on board with Glory Bound Fellowship, one of those fires had recently impacted the area. He was still in the interview process, but because of his experience with disaster relief Rob was recruited by the county to help organize their efforts. By the time he saddled up as co-pastor at GBF, God had given him connections and credibility just by locking arms with others in the community.
Transportation back to Sacramento was provided by Glenn Moore, the men’s director for the association. Glenn is a bi-vocational pastor in Angels Camp, one of the few incorporated towns in the area. Glenn is a mortician, a caterer, an inventor and a saxophone player. Needless to say, Glenn is well-connected in the community just like Rob is, just like the semi-retired rancher is, just like most of the men that I met at this retreat—men who are connected, serving and sharing the gospel.
Good news delivered with good deeds that glorify God and point people to Jesus ... sometimes the simplest things are the the most profound things.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
— Matthew 5:14-16