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Fresh Thinking for Rural Outreach Rev. Dr. Kevin Wilson

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Presentation on theme: "Fresh Thinking for Rural Outreach Rev. Dr. Kevin Wilson"— Presentation transcript:

1 Fresh Thinking for Rural Outreach Rev. Dr. Kevin Wilson

2 Rural Roots + Grew up in western Kansas + Serving Appalachian WV, KY and Ohio + Working with LCMS Rural/Small Town Mission

3 Share with Us Your name Your name The name of your church The name of your church The location of your church The location of your church

4 The Trail + The Challenges in Rural America + LCMS Churches Meeting the Challenge + Questions and Discussions

5 The Challenges in Rural America

6 Rural Challenge: Historic Values Inde pendence Inde pendence Self-sufficieny Self-sufficieny Resilience Resilience

7 Meeting the Rural Challenge: Emerging Values Inter dependence Inter dependence Partnership Partnership Resilience Resilience

8 Rural Challenge: Historic Church Assumptions “We know where everyone from this town worships or at least is a member.” “We know where everyone from this town worships or at least is a member.” “Our mission is to care for one another and maintain sound doctrine” “Our mission is to care for one another and maintain sound doctrine” “We are autonomous, self-sufficient and fully intend to stay this way.” “We are autonomous, self-sufficient and fully intend to stay this way.”

9 Meeting the Rural Challenge: Emerging Church Assumptions “At least half the people in this town are really unchurched and a lot of those are not Christians” “At least half the people in this town are really unchurched and a lot of those are not Christians” “Our mission is to care for our neighbor and maintain sound doctrine” “Our mission is to care for our neighbor and maintain sound doctrine” “We are autonomous, self-sufficient but will consider partnership” “We are autonomous, self-sufficient but will consider partnership”

10 Shared Practices in Growing Rural Churches Pastor and members are intentionally representing the church in the community. Pastor and members are intentionally representing the church in the community. Members of the congregation want to see new faces, expect new faces or embrace new faces. Members of the congregation want to see new faces, expect new faces or embrace new faces. There is a sense of hopefulness in the church, that “God is not done with us yet.” There is a sense of hopefulness in the church, that “God is not done with us yet.” These are flowing from biblical teaching, preaching and modeling the Gospel. These are flowing from biblical teaching, preaching and modeling the Gospel.

11 LCMS Churches Meeting the Challenge

12 Regional Partnerships Multiple rural churches forming partnership in order to express the Gospel in a region. Multiple rural churches forming partnership in order to express the Gospel in a region. Several churches can support one ministry, staff members, etc. Several churches can support one ministry, staff members, etc. Help each church more and more look outward. Help each church more and more look outward. Cole Camp, Missouri - Pastor Todd Kollbaum. or Pastor Dean Hartley “Highway 200 Lutherans” in ND Cole Camp, Missouri - Pastor Todd Kollbaum. or Pastor Dean Hartley “Highway 200 Lutherans” in ND

13 Building a Ministry Bridge to the Community Example: Pray for the community during Lent. Example: Pray for the community during Lent. Members given prayer cards for friends and family, local businesses asked by members for prayer requests, a special prayer request box in Narthex. Members given prayer cards for friends and family, local businesses asked by members for prayer requests, a special prayer request box in Narthex. Vital: Prayer were offered on Wednesday/Sunday and members went back out to ask for follow up stories or prayer requests. Vital: Prayer were offered on Wednesday/Sunday and members went back out to ask for follow up stories or prayer requests. Lutheran Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamler, OH; Pastor Doug DeWitt, Lutheran Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamler, OH; Pastor Doug DeWitt,

14 Consolidating Churches Choices: Two churches closing or a new congregation continuing. Choices: Two churches closing or a new congregation continuing. By not moving into an existing building the new congregation becomes a new church. By not moving into an existing building the new congregation becomes a new church. New congregations have a greater opportunity to connect with un churched people. New congregations have a greater opportunity to connect with un churched people. Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church – Callaway, MN; Pastor Del Stohs Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church – Callaway, MN; Pastor Del Stohs

15 Para Church Organizations + Find people passionate about a rural region + Organize to provide resources, training and encouragement + appmission.net, Twitter.com/App alachianMP

16 Appalachian Mission Partnership Identify Lutherans who desire a congregation in their community/region Identify Lutherans who desire a congregation in their community/region AMP provides specialized training and resources to organize the local Lutherans in to groups (Bible study, service, prayer, etc.) that can develop into congregations. AMP provides specialized training and resources to organize the local Lutherans in to groups (Bible study, service, prayer, etc.) that can develop into congregations. AMP finds churches to partner with the local Lutherans, participating in prayer walks, servant events, rehearsals, etc. AMP finds churches to partner with the local Lutherans, participating in prayer walks, servant events, rehearsals, etc.

17 Questions and Discussion

18 National Resources Rural & Small Town Mission. LCMS national ministry. Rural & Small Town Mission. LCMS national ministry. The Sticks Network. New cross denominational network that is focused especially on ministry in small towns. The Sticks Network. New cross denominational network that is focused especially on ministry in small towns. Rural Home Missionary Association. Established cross denominational organization focused on planting and strengthening churches in small town America. Rural Home Missionary Association. Established cross denominational organization focused on planting and strengthening churches in small town America.

19 Thank You! To you all, you’re attendance is truly an encouragement. To you all, you’re attendance is truly an encouragement. To Lutheran Hour Ministries, for gathering us together today for the Cause of Christ. To Lutheran Hour Ministries, for gathering us together today for the Cause of Christ. Most of all, to God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for including us in His Mission in our communities. Most of all, to God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for including us in His Mission in our communities.


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