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Where are we going? The Vision, Goal & Strategy For the Small Town Partnership (pt. 2)

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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Where are we going as a small town partnership? In the first post I shared how our vision is to simply plant Vineyard churches in small town USA. Our strategy is two-fold, one part for sending churches and one for the small town plants themselves. We’re utilizing church planting triads to produce more sending churches in the Vineyard while emphasizing disciple making disciples as a strategy for the actual small town plants.

So what is our big hairy goal? The Small Town Partnership’s goal for the Vineyard is to see a church planting triad in each of the 75 Areas in the Vineyard. There are 16 regions in the Vineyard comprised of a total of 75 +/- Areas. Areas are made up of 5-12 churches who gather for mutual encouragement and accountability. We want to leverage the built in relational and geographical proximity in order to plant churches. Imagine a church planting triad made up of churches within several hours of each other working together to plant a church in the middle of the triad. We don’t have to imagine. We’re seeing this happen already in Northern Wisconsin and SE Ohio. We believe it can work in any Area in the Vineyard.

How will we meet this goal and how will we implement these two strategies of church planting triads and equipping disciple making disciples? A variety of tools are at our disposal. In 2015 and 2016 we will be visiting Areas in the Vineyard who are in the beginning stages of doing this. The partnership will train folks on the basics of starting triads, the Vineyard Dimensions of Discipleship, and on how to plant in small towns. By early 2016 the partnership will have a “seminar in a box” where partner members could host their own seminar in their Area and Region. Teaching notes, syllabus, and resources would be included.

Other tools at our disposal are our every other month small town webinar. Each webinar features topics oriented towards the small town church and planter. Topics include triads, Barnabas coaching, contextualization for small towns, soul care for the small town planter, etc. Check out our partnership page for times and topics.

Speaking of our partnership page, the MultiplyVineyard.org website contains our blog. It is quickly becoming a top notch resource for all things small towns. Simply go to the blog page and choose the small town key word to see all current and past entries.

This whole thing started with an April 2012 conference. It is fitting that we propel the partnership into its next stage with another conference April 7-9, 2016 in Lancaster, OH. This is a great time to not only receive training for small town planting but it is a great relational experience. Several planters from places like Missouri to Wisconsin told us at our last conference that it was the first church planting conference where they felt understood. We hope to foster that same experience at our 2016 conference.

As a young boy I loved it when mom told me to hop in the car. “Where are we going?” I’d ask. Usually it was to the store or to a friend of mom’s place. But from time to time it was more exciting than that. She’d say, “We’re heading to Gran’s house and we’re having dinner at the Shake Shoppe”. What an answer to my where are we going question! I loved my Gran and as a husky young boy I liked the Shake Shoppe too! The change of plans and the hour drive were certainly worth it.

My prayer is that as you’ve read the last two blog posts the answer to the question where are we going has filled you with the same excitement. You know the destination of this partnership is right. And you know the journey getting there will be fun. Most of all you know when we’re talking about the souls and lives of people it’ll be worth whatever it costs us and however long it takes to get there. Let’s go where the humans are! Let’s go to small towns!

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About the author
Joel Seymour is beloved child of God, the husband of Kristi, the father of 3 great kids, and the lead pastor of the Lancaster Vineyard. Although Lancaster is a mid-sized town, his first church plant was in a town of 5,000. He serves on the team of the Small Town Vineyard Partnership and as an Area Leader for Vineyard USA. His particular Area is mainly comprised of villages, small towns, and rural areas. He can be reached through Twitter @JoelSeymour or via email [email protected]

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