Yellowstone Conference welcomes Rev. Dave Merkel as Worship Developer

Yellowstone Conference welcomes Rev. Dave Merkel as Worship Developer

Yellowstone Conference welcomes Rev. Dave Merkel as Worship Developer
4/5/2017

Submitted by Jeremy Scott 

Rev. Dave Merkel has begun a new position in the Yellowstone Conference as Worship Developer. Merkel is well known to anyone who has attended Annual Conference the last several years for his amazing talent for music and leading worship.  More recently he led worship for the United Methodist Women’s conference-wide event at Fairmont Hot Springs. Merkel is a talented musician and preacher and has served many local congregations in the Yellowstone Conference, most recently Shiloh UMC in Billings Montana where he will continue to serve through this fall.
 
Merkel’s new position is focused on providing high quality worship materials for small and rural congregations. It is no secret that many small and rural congregations are struggling to meet their financial obligations while maintaining a salary necessary to attract quality pastoral leadership.  Many churches have moved to less than full time for their appointed clergy which only makes things more difficult. Congregations are finding themselves in the new position of not having every week pastoral leadership.
 
Advancements in technology over the last few years makes things possible today that weren’t possible before. Merkel’s work will focus initially on providing recorded sermons, music, and other worship resources on a weekly basis to participating congregations. A wide range of preachers will be used to provide sermons and Merkel will be creating both his own musical content and also partnering with others to provide a wide variety of songs and styles. Through this work, Yellowstone Conference will be building whole new ways to support local congregations that will be unique in the denomination.
 
"This is such an important step for us to take in the Yellowstone Conference," said Bishop Karen Oliveto. "Excellence in worship helps grow us individually and communally. Utilizing the strength of our connection as United Methodists, Dave's ministry will enable our smaller congregations to have spirited, spirit-filled worship."
 
Dave will work closely with Rev. Jeremy Scott who is the Mountain Sky Area Vital Congregations Developer. When asked about Merkel, Scott shared, “I’m very excited to be working with Dave. He brings real talent and a passion for worship to this project.” The need to equip congregations for quality worship has been a longtime desire for Scott in his work to help congregations be more vital. “My first mentor in ministry taught me something very important; he said ‘you can’t grow a church that has bad worship.’” Scott said.
 
This new position represents a strong investment by the Yellowstone Conference into our local congregations in a way they have been asking for. Over the last few years experiments have been done in providing recorded worship content which have all been very successful. What those experiments also revealed was the need to have a designated coordinator who would assure congregations a regular supply of high quality content.
 
Merkel began his positon April 1st and it is expected regular weekly content will be available starting July 1st.  A demonstration of the content is also planned for Annual Conference in June. A small number of congregations have been invited to be part of the first group to use the material. Additional congregations interested in this process are welcome and should contact Jeremy Scott (jscott@mtnskyumc.org).
 
This is another example where the mission to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World is being taking seriously by the people of the Yellowstone Conference and the Mountain Sky Area. We continue to lead in bold, missional, and risk taking ways for the sake of the good news of the Kingdom of God!
 


comments powered by Disqus