Rural voices are often ignored, dismissed, or maligned. This has been true for decades, yet it feels acutely true now, in the wake of the 2016 election. But rural ministry is important and even heroic work, with unique challenges and opportunities. I’m involved in something right now that I’m really excited about. It’s the rural conversation I’ve been dreaming about for literally years, and I’m hoping you can be a part of it.
Let me explain.
As you may have heard me say before, Kate and I plan the month of April around the Inhabit Conference. It is our favorite conference, and 2017 will be our seventh time to attend. In fact, the conference feels more and more to us like a family reunion, as we re-connect with dear friends and kindred spirits from around the country.
This year the Inhabit organizers are doing something different. They have added one-day pre-conferences on a number of topics, including neighborhood economics, church planting, peacemaking, and more.
The pre-conference I’m most excited about — and that I’m honored to be co-presenting — is on faithful presence in rural communities. You’ll hear more from me about this in the next few days, including a blog post about why rural church presence is such an important topic, as well as more details on the other presenters.
In the meantime, could you do me a favor? Would you follow this link to learn more about Inhabit and the rural pre-conference? At minimum, the rural pre-conference will give rural practitioners a chance to meet, learn from, and share stories with each other. In my wildest hopes, though, it plants the early seeds of a nationwide community of pastors, laypeople, community advocates, teachers, farmers, and more, who are deeply committed to their neighbors and the rural places they call home.
I hope to see you there!
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