“This is the first conference we’ve been to where we’ve felt understood” the couple standing in front of me said with tears in their eyes. I stood dumbfounded at first. Sure I’d helped put on the conference and I liked to think it was good but in reality I’d wondered if it had really made any significant impact. After all it was only attended by 55 people. But then I realized why God had called Ross Nelson and myself to do the 2012 Small Town conference – for the people standing right in front of me. It was at that point that I knew God indeed could use a small start to make a big impact.
What I found out from many of the other people in attendance was that they too were impacted. These folks had ventured from 11 states – as far as Missouri to Minnesota, Colorado to Wisconsin – to attend. Several came up and shared how this was some of the first useable material for their small town context. Whether we talked about outreach, church planting, doing church, or starting a multi-site all the talks were from a small town context. And for all this was the first event they’d been to where the other pastors and planters knew exactly the unique challenges and rewards that come from doing church in rural America.
Since then we’ve watched 3 conference attendees go on to plant in small towns, done several workshops, hosted 9 webinars, started two church planting triads, hosted two church planting residencies, wrote a ton of blogs, and interacted with several hundred people all with the goal of making a big impact in small places. What small place is God calling you to make a big impact?
The Small Town USA Partnership would like to invite you to our 2016 Small Town USA Conference May 19-21. It is for those who are doing church, planting churches, or who would like to send churches to small town America. The theme is EDLD (Evangelism, Discipleship, Leadership development, Diversity) in the context of small town. We’re blessed to have Vineyard USA Phil Strout as our opening speaker followed by a host of real world practitioners who have planted and are pastoring in towns of 2,600 to 13,000. We’ve tried to make it affordable ($75) and that includes Friday meals and Saturday breakfast. We even have a limited number of host homes.
Who knows maybe as something as small as a Small Town USA Conference will make a big impact in your life and ministry too! Come to think of it that kind of talk is strung throughout the Kingdom message – mustard seeds, a kernel of wheat, a light in the darkness, a voice in the wilderness – just to name a few. So join us May 19-21 and see how God will use a small start to make a big impact in you!