In October of 2018, a global Leadership Team of rural pastors was formed to work with two co-directors to launch Acts 29’s Rural Collective. Our global charge was to see more churches planting rural churches.
The Rural Collective initially focused on identifying the challenges to, models of, and leaders in rural church planting. Determining these has helped us start to formulate potential strategies to promote rural planting within our geographic Networks.
In western contexts, we are surfacing existing rural area leaders who will help develop support systems for future rural planters. We are also launching locally-sourced, one-day Rural Summits, with the goal of generating momentum and ownership among rurally minded leaders. In Africa we are exploring models for both pastoral training and sustainable financing, with the hopes of replicating these in the vast regions of Asia and Latin America. Throughout our network we are encouraged by supportive conversations about adaptations and innovations for rural planting. We are very hopeful that though this is a long-term challenge, more and more healthy rural churches will be planted.
The launch of the Rural Collective has brought great anticipation and hope for rural churches in Africa. This was evident at our vision conference in Lilongwe, where we had the joy of seeing over 80 people from 8 different countries in attendance. There were representatives from Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Canada, USA and Malawi. We have had the opportunity to interact with many rural church planters and pastors who have shown interest in applying for membership in Acts 29. We are collating data of these potential candidates while we finalise our recruitment & application process.
For the most part, rural church planters in Africa lack good theological training. So we are investigating ways to provide residential training, learning from the experiences of Church in Hard Places and the Pastoral Training Institute of Africa.
ALMOST HALF OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION LIVE IN RURAL AREAS
Defining rural is still a controversial topic and frequently quite personal. In the Rural Collective, we have chosen to define rural not by numbers but by the emotive terms of small, isolated and forgotten. Many people in “larger” places would still consider themselves part of a community that feels rural.
ACTS 29 CHURCHES
in communities of less than 10,000
ACTS 29 CHURCHES
in communities of less than 100,000
“We believe that hamlets and villages will come alive with the light of the gospel as churches are planted through sacrificial leaders. For the next 100 years, or until Jesus comes back, we will plan for more and more churches to be birthed in the beautiful, hidden corners of our world.”
DAVID PINCKNEY - CO-DIRECTOR, RURAL COLLECTIVE