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Small Town & Rural Church Initiatives

For anyone that has ever attended or served in a small town/rural church you know the experience of small intimate connections found in these awesome congregations.  Bill and I want to encourage that spirit so that God might multiply your fruitfulness in your community and beyond.  Our aim is to aid and encourage our smaller churches not so they can become a “big” church, but so they can make a BIG difference.

Expanding our community connections is critical if our churches are still going to be about Jesus’ mission to make disciples of all nations.  How we make those connections is where we can help.  With over 70 years of combined experience with small town/rural church ministry we can help your church thrive for Jesus.  Whether your church has 10 or 100 in attendance on Sunday you can make a big difference where God has planted you.

We know that your ministry reaches well beyond the sanctuary on Sunday morning.  It is lived out in the aisles of the local grocery store, the bleachers of the High School ball game, the hardware store and in Assisted Living facilities among the rolling hills of Southern Ohio.  There’s no place you can go in your community that a spiritual encounter doesn’t happen.  We want to partner with all of our Shawnee Valley congregations to help you make the most of those encounters.

There are a number of ways we can come alongside your church.  We provide practical advice and tools to help you discern your church’s signature mission.  By working with the clergy and key laity we help you assess those things you excel at.  We will help you determine the best ways to use those gifts and resources to maximize your impact to the community.

We are also making our way across the District with a Refocus Event for churches that are plateaued, declining or ready to grow but unsure of what to do next.  If your church would be interested in participating please get in touch with us so we can answer any questions you have.

We want to create an environment of continuous communication among our District churches.  To that end we have created a Facebook group for clergy, local and supply pastors.  The forum gives us a place to share with one another the successes, ideas, questions and struggles we all face.  You can also share the successes of your church and community and upcoming events in your church or community.  You can join that group by simply requesting to be added to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SHVClergy/

We know that bi-vocational pastors and volunteer servants have busy schedules.  You can’t always attend a District training event.  You’d like to be better trained and equipped to do the job God has called you to do.  We have plans of creating a digital library of tools and training that our smaller congregations can access at their convenience.  In that way many of you will be able to get the information you need in a way that works around your schedule.

Many of our smaller congregations struggle financially.  They would like to do more ministry, but there’s just not enough money to do it all.  We are also here to help your church with stewardship growth.  Using the New Consecration Sunday model, we can help move your church from “giving to the budget” to being generous givers demonstrating their trust in God by examining how God is calling them to give.

We know that our smaller congregations often feel ignored or unheard.  We want to change that perception.  We are your voice at the District level.  If you have concerns or want to discuss issues that affect your church we are here for that purpose.  Contact us for help.  We will listen and we will do our best to get answers to your questions and voice your concerns to the right people.

We truly believe that now is a great time to be a small town/rural church.  As families are migrating back to small towns to escape the craziness of the urban environment, the small church is perfectly planted to reach out to them and make them feel welcome in the way only a smaller congregation knows how to do.

 

Sam Peters currently serves as a Licensed Local Pastor at Christ UMC in South Webster, Ohio.  He has served in a variety of ministry positions since 1980.  He has served as a bi-vocational pastor with the United Methodist Church since 2001.  He owns a gourmet food company and is also a writer.  He is currently enrolled in Ohio Christian University pursuing his degree.  He is married to Joyce and they have five children and five grandchildren.

Sam Peters contact info:  (740) 352-2008 cell phone; samjoypet [at] roadrunner.com

 

William “Bill” Goodall – serves as an ordained Elder at Wesley UMC (Jackson Co.) 1989-Present.  His previous appointment was at Finley Chapel UMC(Lawrence Co.) 1973-1988.

He retired from Symmes Valley Schools after 40 years of teaching. A graduate of Rio Grande College, he received his Master of Education from Ohio University and his Master of Divinity from Methodist Theological School.

He is married to Connie and has two children.

Bill Goodall contact info:  (740) 978-0154 cell phone; wcjrgoodall [at] frontier.com