by Julie Keel
Associate Executive Director
I am confident in our mission.
2007. I can remember sitting in my house in Mississippi when Mom called. “Mountain T.O.P. is hiring and you should apply!” She thought this was the best idea ever. I just shrugged the suggestion off. I was unsure about living in Grundy County, TN. I didn’t know the new executive director. This big of a change wasn’t something I was willing to consider right now. I was in the midst of some big compassion fatigue, and I was looking for a job where I didn’t have to use my feelings as much.
Eight years later I’ve notice something I always knew. I’ve always had confidence in the mission of Mountain T.O.P. Always. It’s not that things have been done correctly for 40 years. It’s more like foundational things here are just right. Really right. For some reason this was apparent to me from the beginning, and I’m even more sure of it today.
Take for instance our partnership philosophy. Long, long, long ago, the people who set up this ministry made sure partnership was fundamental to how we do what we do. I’m not sure how that all happened, but it’s genius.
Let me tell you why I think so…
Partnership is this aspect of what we do that helps us show the value we see in everyone. Everyone has an asset. You might not have every asset you need for the vision of, say, your home or children, but you have some things of value. Mountain T.O.P. provides one very effective way to pool our assets to get the results we want.
Jesus says that he came so that all could have life and have it abundantly (John 10.10). I think that looks a lot like our partnership philosophy. Haven’t you been in a situation where you had to work as a part of a team to get a job done, and if someone didn’t do their part, the job would be somehow lacking? What about the last time you really, really cooperated with the Holy Spirit to use your gifts? That’s the way Mountain T.O.P. works with families, participants, and the community. We all have an asset to give, and with Jesus in the midst of it, the sum total is ABUNDANT.
Mountain T.O.P. doesn’t fix people’s lives or homes. We don’t magically take away the burden that was once there. We do join with families and children, come along side of them, and work with people to create healthier lives and homes. And this has the ability to transform us all in the mean time. We all walk away different, better because of the partnership.
Whenever someone asks me are we really making a difference, I always point them to partnership. Mountain T.O.P. is not a charity. We are a partnership ministry. We try not to do something for someone that they can do for themselves. Everyone has an asset to give, and sometimes our job is helping people uncover it. Because we come as ministers of the Gospel, the net effect of pooling our resources has supernatural, positive consequences. And this is exactly what helps change the underlying culture of entitlement or that this not a good place. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. This is why, yes, even one week in our Day Camp can change the trajectory of the life of a child! I could rattle off example after example.
Whether it’s because you have participated in Mountain T.O.P. or you believe in the same things we believe in, “we are drawn together by God, who is about to do a new thing through our collaboration” (Henri Nouwen). After 40 years of (literally) life changing ministry, we are looking for God to do a new thing. We are asking for a huge collaboration: raising $400k by the end of this year. Guess what? We are well on the way. I’m offering you the invitation to be a part of this. I can ask only because, like I said, I am confident in our mission.
Here are a few examples of what we’ve already seen your money do: put shoes on kids’ feet, build up teens spiritually, give a single mom a working kitchen, challenge adults in their faith, put roofs on homes, fund critical infrastructure, give local teens a summer job, proclaim the word of God, influence the career of a summer staffer, preserve the home of a elderly couple, open doors of greater funding, focus a family on God, help us maintain relationships with participants, and empower a father to work.
You can give two ways: online at https://www.razoo.com/story/400-000-In-The-40th. Or you can mail a check to: Mountain T.O.P., PO Box 128, Altamont, TN 37301.
As always, thanks for listening!