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Close to the Heart of God: Small Town Vineyard

Small Town USA

Small Town USA

Our partnership exists to help church planters and churches effectively plant new churches in small towns. When we think about “doing the stuff,” we think about participating in kingdom work in rural America. Two of our goals are to (1) strategically work together to effectively plant healthy churches in small town USA and (2) equip, empower, and resource church planters heading into rural communities.
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“How did he find out we needed help?”

This question was raised recently at a meeting I attended with other local church leaders. We had been discussing a need for more volunteers for a project a group of our churches are working on together when a specific volunteer was brought up.

They were happy with the work he was doing. Quite thrilled actually. He worked hard and had high-quality craftsmanship. What puzzled everyone was how he just showed up to volunteer one day.

Small Town ScapeIt seems this individual is rough around the edges and has a colored history in our small town of 4600 people. The fact that someone like him would show up to help on a church project was remarkable. The group couldn’t figure out how he knew there was a volunteer need because we hadn’t announced a need to the general public.

As they further described him, a light bulb went off in my head and I said, “You mean Gary?” (Not his real name).

“Yeah, Gary. Do you know him?”

“Of course,” I said, “he’s a member of the Vineyard!”

This is just the kind of thing I live for as a small town Vineyard pastor! I love it when people with checkered pasts and notorious backgrounds come to know Jesus, because lives transformed by the power of God get noticed in a small town. And, when the religious establishment is shocked by who is coming to your church, you know you are close to the heart of God.

Let’s face it, the Vineyard is a different breed. We’re no better, just different. We have 12 other great churches here in Paxton, Illinois. But, the Vineyard – our values and practices – is well-suited to reach those on the fringe in Small Town USA. In fact, I believe the Vineyard is just what Small Town USA needs for such a time as this. Are you ready to fall in love with being a Small Town Vineyard pastor?

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About the author
Jimm Wood is passionate about the Kingdom of God, his family and rock ‘n’ roll. He and his wife DeDe pastor the Vineyard Church in Paxton, Illinois: a town of 4600 in the heart of the Midwest. Follow Jimm on Twitter @TheJimmWood.

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