June was another busy month for DRN. God continues to open doors and refine the vision. The highlight of the month was our trip to Chicago for the Rural Matters Leadership Strategy Group planning session. Rural Matters Institute (RMI) is part of the Lausanne Movement and the Billy Graham Center. The RMI website states, “With over 48 million people in rural America, there is an emerging movement to plant, resource, and multiply life-giving, spirit-filled ministries in rural America.”
Dirt Roads Network is humbled to be a part of this national movement. We met with several other national leaders and mapped out a strategy for the next year. This will include one-day summits, a major conference in the spring, and the accumulation of several rural ministry resources in one place for easy access. I speak at the summits in Kansas and Wisconsin, and DRN will host a shoulder event at the national conference in the spring.
The Rural Matters Institute meeting was held in conjunction with Amplify, an international evangelism conference hosted by The Billy Graham Center. Andrew and Kara Hurburt and Doug Routledge from Crossroads Farm, joined us for this conference. It was truly inspiring as several national leaders shared the need for evangelical Christianity to re-embrace the call to love as we stand for truth.
While at the conference, I had the honor of being on a panel about marketplace multipliers in a workshop led by The Wesleyan Church. The original plan was for Julia Pyle and I to share the story of her ministry as an executive. Unfortunately, she became very ill right before we flew out of Kansas City, and I had to share the story myself. Click here to read that story.
The conference was informative and inspiring, but I once again was reminded of the need for rural pastors to be exposed to conferences like this. The conference and Wesleyan shoulder event took up three days and was held in Chicago. It is very hard for a co-vocational pastor to attend a three-day event or afford the costs of travel. The conference itself was reasonably priced and Wheaton College provided room and board on campus for a very good price. Our team is considering ways we can scholarship rural pastors to attend conferences like this. The plan would be to bring several pastors to the same event, and then meet throughout the conference to discuss ways to implement what we are learning in the rural ministry context.
As we head into summer we have a number of events on the calendar. Here is a quick look at the next few months.
I will be speaking at The Wesleyan Church’s Iowa/Minnesota District Conference on July 17 at Cedar Springs Camp in Iowa.
On August 14 I will be speaking to a group of Nazarene District Superintendents in Indianapolis.
August 21-23 will be a very important time for DRN. Several pastors from around the country will join us in Indianapolis for 48 hours of prayer and strategizing. (More on this meeting next month.)
In September I will be speaking at two Rural Matters Institute Summits. One is in Wisconsin and one is in Hutchinson, Kansas.
On October 4-5 DRN will host its first ever regional conference in Imperial, Nebraska.
Thank you again for your prayer and financial support. You are making it possible for us to make a difference in rural America.