By Michelle Ward
It was like “old home week” at the recent Nevada-Utah Conference (NUC) town hall meetings held at the Sparks church in Sparks, Nevada, and the Maranatha Spanish church in North Las Vegas, Nevada. In an effort to inform, inspire, and bring a sense of unity to its members, the NUC administration has plans to hold semi-annual meetings in all three of its large metropolitan areas—Reno, Nevada; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Executive Secretary Carlos Camacho shared his excitement about the meetings: “For years the NUC administrative team has dreamed of the possibility of bringing the office to the members. The town hall meetings are doing that and more. Two main things are being accomplished. One is to report to the members the exciting things that are happening around the conference, and the other is to provide a venue to respond to some of the concerns or questions members may have between constituency sessions. These meetings have been very well received.”
With a membership of more than 10,400 members spread over a territory of nearly 220,000 square miles, meeting with each church individually has become a daunting task for the NUC officers. These town hall meetings seem to offer a means of bringing members together to learn of the vision and initiatives for the promotion of the work of God’s kingdom throughout the vast expanse of the conference.
After registration and a light breakfast, meetings began with the introduction of officers, pastors, teachers, and support staff. It was fun for some of the members to meet the “voices” they had talked with on the phone, sometimes for years.
After sharing an encouraging devotional thought, NUC President Leon Brown presented thoughts on the NUC mission and vision through a thoughtful and beautiful video presentation. Throughout their presentations, the speakers reiterated the five-point NUC vision: transform churches into safe, welcoming places for the community; increase church member involvement in relevant community ministries by 20%; engage at least 50% of our youth in church leadership and ministry; mobilize an increase of 20% of church members in outreach efforts, planting two new congregations per area; and increase enrollment of new students in NUC schools by 25%—all by the 2022 NUC Constituency Session.
Camacho shared some interesting membership highlights, including ethnic distribution throughout the churches, as well as by employee presence. One interesting fact listed the third most prevalent language: Tagalog in Nevada and Chinese in Utah. To God’s glory, the membership has increased by over 20% in the last 10 years.
The presentations closed with a treasurer’s report from Karen Schneider. She shared the financial hurdles that have been overcome by the conference, but the emphasis was on the use of the finances to finish the work. Schneider is a visionary, and she didn’t hesitate to share her dreams and plans for the NUC.
The highlight of the morning seemed to be the question-and-answer sessions. Questions, which had been written and submitted to the team earlier, were read and responded to. As time ran out for the Q&A period, attendees were promised an answer to their questions directly from the office in the near future.
Fallon church member Denise Cole shared about the meeting: “I loved it. It was great getting to know the officers a little better. I’m convinced they do not get enough pay for the job they do and the sacrifices they make. I also learned a lot more about the jobs at the local church.”
In true Hispanic hospitality style, participants at the Las Vegas session were treated to a wonderful outdoor lunch under the trees, preceding the afternoon training session for local church officers. In spite of the sudden drop in temperature and light winds, this was a delightful time.
The group then separated for position-specific training for elders, church clerks, and church treasurers. Judging by the interest of the attendees, these training sessions have been helpful to those working in the local churches.