Kansas City, Here We Come!
As I go about my work with LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission, I often hear from both congregation members and church workers how important it is to prepare and equip our church workers and lay leaders to live and serve in the communities God has placed them. This preparation work allows the church workers, congregations and communities to build strong, healthy relationships that lead to many opportunities to share God’s Word.
The Rural & Small Town Mission National Conference offers an incredible opportunity to serve participants. This single event is the culmination of our work each year and allows us to share the biggest selection resources suited to town and country settings. Every year the conference offers area-specific support, training and networking to those called and living in these unique communities across the country. Often, it seems that many programs and resources available on the market are geared toward suburban church settings. RSTM recognizes that while the work to which God has called congregations is the same, the context in which that work is carried out can be very different —even in rural America. RSTM seeks and shares the expertise and experience of ministry leaders who know and understand rural and small-town ministry challenges. It is always a pleasure for me to see all these people gathered in one place, excited about rural and small-town congregations, sharing their knowledge and building relationships that will be used to support God’s kingdom.
Over the years, some of my favorite moments at the RSTM National Conference have included talking with people from all over the country and sharing ministry ideas that have worked, and sometimes haven’t worked, so that another congregation can learn. Nothing beats the joy and excitement of a heart on fire for the mission field out their own front door! I’ve had the opportunity to work with congregations that have seen their numbers go from 12 to 24, doubling their attendance! I’ve been privileged to watch new partnerships establish between congregations. The conference has also offered the chance to learn from incredible teachers; establish new skills in areas such as stewardship, outreach, witnessing, youth, family and older adult ministry; and the opportunities to make new friendships, all of which are rooted in the common ground of rural/small town congregations.
I’m often asked which resource RSTM offers that would be the most helpful. While there are many things, such as our webinars and Engaging Your Communities and Engaging the Wandering events, in my opinion, the RSTM National Conference offers the most “bang for your buck.” Over the course of three days, you have the chance to immerse yourself in all things rural and small town, explore both the blessings and challenges and perhaps most importantly, connect with others in similar situations. So, come and join us! Bring your pastor, your wife, your friend. We look forward to seeing you in November!
Amy Gerdts RSTM Coordinator
Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter by Amy Gerdts, RSTM Coordinator
LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small-town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. Learn more about RSTM at lcms.org/rstm or by calling 888-463-5127. “Like” us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/lcmsrstm
2018 National RSTM Conference
The 2018 National Rural & Small Town Mission Conference will be
held Nov. 8–10 in Kansas City, Mo., at the Hilton Kansas City Airport.
LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission hopes you’ll join in by registering now and reserving your spot! And did you know you can earn Continuing Education credits by attending the 2018 National RSTM Conference?
Keynote speakers will include:
- the Rev. Timothy Koch, pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Cresbard, S.D., and Immanuel Lutheran in Wecota, S.D.;
- the Rev. Dr. Robert H. Bennett of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind.;
- Rev. Tom Schlund, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Algona, Iowa; and
- Chaplain Craig Muehler, director of the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces.
The conference will address blessings and challenges facing rural and small town congregations today. Congregations will be encouraged in becoming healthy churches, eager to bear witness for Christ and able to show mercy to those in need in communities and develop a robust life together with fellow members. This conference is meant for anyone living, serving or interested in rural or small-town areas, with topics and resources specifically suited for this unique
mission field. Breakout topics include:
- ministry to inactive members,
- family ministry and outreach,
- hope during grief,
- opportunities with Recognized Service Organizations and
- many other topics affecting our rural and small-town congregations.
New this year will be a special track for LERT Disaster Training and one for Youth Ministry; these options will have a limited number of seats and require attendance in all six sessions. There is something planned for everyone, from lay person to pastor and from student to teacher!
RSTM is also making the snazzy Reaching Rural America for Christ logo shirts available for purchase! Wouldn’t you like to sport one of the stylish RSTM Reaching Rural America for Christ shirts? Order online when registering or by contacting our office by Oct. 15, and you can pick up your shirt at the RSTM National Conference. They are available in gray or white; men’s and women’s polos sizes S–XL are $19 each, and sizes 2XL–6XL are $21 each. (Other styles have
Registration and Lodging
Adult registration for the conference is $215 per person and includes all plenary and breakout sessions, materials, Thursday dinner, Friday lunch and dinner and more. Special rates are available for couples, meals only and groups. Contact our office with questions or bout group rates.
Hotel reservations must be made separately from conference registration. The Hilton Kansas City Airport is offering a rate of $106 for a single or $114 for a double (plus applicable taxes) for our group, including breakfast buffet per day per occupancy level, complimentary self-parking and complimentary airport transportation on request. More information and online registration are available at lcms.org/rstm/conference.