As I mentioned yesterday, this week I’ve been hanging out in Morton, IL at the Rural Home Missionary Association (RHMA) conference. A few reflections on my experience…
- I’ve talked with folks from all over the country: Illinois and neighboring states, but also Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Colorado.
- There has been great interest in what we’re doing at Capital Seminary & Graduate School. I’ve had conversations about the M.A.M., M.Div., D.Min., Ph.D., about our blended approach, and about how to work for Capital as adjunct faculty.
- The smallest town represented here has only 12 people…and that pastor actually “commutes” from the country into the town.
- This conference has a very different feel from something like Catalyst or even Exponential, which is taking place right now in Orlando. Yet the folks here are doing ministry that is just as significant as the young, hip, high-tech über-leaders at the other conferences.
- I have definitely become a city person. I can no longer imagine living in a town the size of Morton (16,000). Maybe Peoria to the west (115,000) since it’s a college town, but there’s a whole lotta open country out here, and I’m already feeling a little disconnected.
- Still, there is a sense of familiarity here in the heart of the Midwest. I grew up in this context. I know the land, the towns, the churches, the people, the language, the culture.
- My friends and family joke that I know people everywhere. Well, I really don’t know anybody in Morton. But as soon as I posted that on Facebook, I ran into an old seminary classmate who is attending the conference. The next day I saw a guy from the church in Wisconsin where I grew up. I also discovered a lot of mutual connections between folks here and my friends around the country.
In all, it’s been a good experience but I’ll be glad to be home again!