Since I have started this blog, I have been amazed at the outpouring of interest in the topics I’m writing about. The top two goals for the Small Town Churches Network are to:
- Create a relational network of small town clergy and lay leaders who explore new possibilities for rural ministry in the 21st Century.
- Partner with organizations in rural and emergence Christianity to create new dialogue about emergent rural culture, and the impact post-modernity is having on rural congregations.
Things are about to hit hyper-speed!
I was recently invited to take part in an event that has the potential to change the course of my life, and will no doubt jump-start my final doctoral writing project. I have been invited to serve as an Initiator with The Convergence Movement, which until recently (like, TODAY) was know as the CANA Initiative . The Convergence Movement is a nation-wide network of influential Christian leaders and thinkers. The impact of the Convergence and her partners (Initiators) is changing the face of Christianity in America.
Other Initiators include many people I have read/quoted for my doctoral studies at Logsdon Seminary but never had the pleasure of interacting with face to face; people like Brian McLaren, Phyllis Tickle, Tony Jones, Philip Clayton, Dianna Butler Bass, Shane Claiborne, Tripp Fuller, Doug Paggit, and Cameron Tremble.
After expressing interest in the Convergence Movement, the organizers of Convergence have read some of my research about emerging Christianity in rural America, and have extended an invitation for me to join them for a gathering of Convergence Initiators in south Florida this March.
In order to attend the Convergence Movement Gathering (March 16-20) I need to raise funds for travel. All the money raised in this fundraiser will help pay for travel, lodging, and meals to attend the Convergence 2015 national gathering (which will likely be less than 100 people). I have never asked anything from you all, my readers, but if you value the writing and resources on this webpage, I would ask you to prayerfully consider making a donation to help send me to the Convergence Movement gathering. Every bit helps! I really cannot overstate it – this is an incredible opportunity for my doctoral work, and for me personally, to connect with such high-caliber Christian leaders from around the country and dream about how to collaborate for ministry in the 21st Century.
More About Me
I pastor a small-town church in eastern Virginia, right on a river opening into the Chesapeake Bay. Every day I see the trends in the larger culture affecting my church and my congregants.
Two years ago I began the Doctor of Ministry program with Logdson Seminary, and immediately felt led to concentrate my research and writing on emerging trends in Christianity and culture. This Januray (2015) I begin working on my final project/disssertation, which will focus on helping small-town churches everywhere navigate cultural change.
I have made my doctoral research available here at smalltownchurches.org, and since starting the blog others have taken an interest in my writing. I now regularly contribute to two nationally read religious news outlets- Baptist News Global and the Baptist Standard.
More About Convergence
The Convergence Movement is a growing but still intimate network of key leaders in the field of my doctoral research (emerging Christianity in America) and their influence has been huge in my work at Urbanna Baptist Church, in my writing at smalltownchurches.org and for my opinion columns.
“The Convergence Movement is bringing together forward-thinking Catholics, Evangelicals, and mainline Protestants, along with ethnic and peace churches and other willing colleagues, in a growing movement-building collaborative. This movement connects people and organizations to solve great problems and participate in new opportunities, especially to heal the human spirit, to foster abundant life in community, to seek the common good, and to promote responsible living with the earth.” -From ConvergenceUS.org
3 Ways to Support Jonathan
1) Prayer. Please pray that the Lord provides for me to be able to benefit from this opportunity. Pray that this wouldn’t just be a networking opportunity, but that the experience of attending the Convergence gathering will impact the heart and soul of my ministry in Urbanna and through the Small Town Churches Network.
2) Finacial Support. Every bit helps! If we don’t raise the funds, I’m not going to be able to go.
3) Support Audrey (my wife) and the boys while I’m away. If I’m able to go on the trip, Audrey would love a little help from anyone