Upcoming Offerings

NC Rural Center – Rural Summit

March 21-22nd, 2022 Raleigh, NC

Faithfull Resilient: How Churches Can Create Resilient Communities (Break Out Session)

Why should churches care about resilience? And how can churches build resilience in the communities they serve? This session will address those questions by sharing case studies of successful church-community partnerships and by reviewing best practices, opportunities, and locally based tools churches can access and leverage to create resilient communities.

Building Relevant Leadership Structures in Rural Congregations

Many denominations suggests leadership and committee structures for its churches but not all congregations thrive in the same type of organization. Rural congregations may need frameworks that take into consideration rural perspectives and ways of life. This three-week course offers laity and clergy the opportunity to explore their unique positions in rural leadership, how to discern how their church operates best, and how to rethink leadership for a new day. It acknowledges that clergy often are appointed to rural churches and feel as if they have to “fix” the structure, but end up causing harm. On the other hand, rural laity may have trouble explaining how they work to clergy not familiar with their lives and culture.

Geared less to leadership outlines and more toward stories, the class includes readings, lectures, meetings, and other resources. Students will engage with each other and the instructor in discussions and one–on–one meetings. The result is a leadership narrative for the local congregation that takes into consideration the Kingdom of God, the denominational tradition, and the local community.

Cost $60

Dates March 21st-April 8th

Meetings on Tuesdays at 6pm.

United Methodist Studies Courses – Catawba Valley District

I’ve offered these courses several times over the past few years and they have all been well received.

They are open to anyone who wants to learn, not just my district. Each time we all learn new things and engage in our denominational and local church history, beliefs, and practices in rich ways.

The dates, times, and locations for the course are in the image. Each course is $50, but if you are member of the Catawba Valley District, there is a discount (you must show you are member or clergy in the CV district).

Rural Clergy Day Apart

I’ve partnered with the Catawba Valley District to offer a Rural Clergy Day Apart. Any clergy in the Western North Carolina Conference who considers themselves rural is welcome to join me on Tuesday March 29th, 9am-4pm!

We’ll take time to celebrate our rural ministries, discusses our hopes for the rural church, and connect with one another across the conference.

There may also be some free gifts.

Cost: $10 for lunch
Date: March 29th, 2022
Time: 9am-4pm

Is that a long drive for you? Consider renting a room at Tekoa Foothills AirBnB options. Great rooms, affordable rates, and a beautiful setting!

Thank God He’s A Country Boy – Webinar Series

This webinar series explores the rural setting and realities of most of Jesus’ ministry and how we can apply that to our rural settings in the 21st Century. Country music will help us feel our way into the rural.  The series is taught by Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith,  a rural ministry resource and regular webinar teacher for Hinton over the last few years.

This series can serve as a live, small group study opportunity for local churches or as an educational opportunity for individuals. The recorded sessions and accompanying resources will also be available as a study resource.

Each session comes with an outline of the session, copy of the slideshow, and a playlist of songs grounded in theme.

  • Thurs, Mar 31 (Free Invitation Session) — “Out in the Boondocks: The Parable of the Friend at Night and Image of Rural Life”

The Main Series:

  • Wed, Apr 27 — “Where I Come from: Rural Life Then and Now”
  • Wed, May 4 — “Famous in A Small Town: Jesus’ Life and the Ministry of Relationships”
  • Wed, May 11 — “Coat of Many Colors: Teachings and Parables”
  • Wed, May 18 — “Do the Watermelon Crawl: Miracles”
  • Wed, May 25 — “We Are Seeds – Death, Resurrection, and the Kingdom”-

Teaching Methodism in the Rural Church

While we often see rural communities as forgotten by our city–focused society, these places still have a wealth of resources, creativity, and hope that create new life in these “disconnected” locations. Methodism is a movement designed to help in this creation. It reminds people they are made in the image of God, and are called to spread the gospel and change the world. In the face of shifting ways of life, the rural United Methodist Church can serve as a hub of grace and hope.

This three-week course is designed for rural church leaders who want to foster new life in their church and community by blending their Methodist heritage and their rural culture in God-filled ways. Readings, videos, and resources will focus on the many ways of embracing the Methodist heritage, and activities in this class will help churches find the pieces of Methodist tradition that make sense in their own communities. Participants will create a historical and spiritual biography of their community and design a potential project for their rural Methodist Church.

The course offers one-on-one meetings with the instructor as well as times to meet and discuss our communities.

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