Hinton Rural Life Center came into existence in the early 1960's. Our primary purpose was to advocate for smaller membership congregations and to provide resources and training and consultation to these congregations to help them become as effective in ministry and in outreach to their local communities as possible. As we seek to focus on the assets and opportunities and problems of the town and country church, this issue is still of critical importance in the United Methodist Church today.
Each year Hinton staff travels across the United States to provide training and resources to help smaller membership congregations, both rural and urban, to become as effective as possible and to reach out to transform their world by serving the needs of their local communities. Due to the current economic climate, we are exploring the feasibility of more on-site time for our workshops as well as studying the options for virtual consultations and webinars.
Hinton Center also works in its local community in southern Appalachia to develop models for community outreach that can be examples for congregations and cooperative ministries in other places. These models include an extensive affordable housing program that has constructed over fifty homes in partnership with local families over the past 21 years. Hinton has also worked with local community and school leaders to develop a drug and substance abuse education program.
Goals & Objectives
1. Our Affordable Housing and Volunteer Missions Programs will continue to strengthen our local community by hosting 1000 volunteers, by repairing 50 homes, and by building five new houses each year.
2. Our models for community renewal, including affordable housing, economic development, and financial literacy training, will be shared this year with at least fifteen different districts or groups of church leaders who want to implement similar programs in their own communities.
3. By October 2012, oversee an assessment of our small membership church program and modules and begin the implementation of a new focused and creative method of consultation and outreach.
1. Continue to market our volunteer missions program to attract volunteers. Continue identifying home owners who qualify for our program. Work with local vendors to secure in-kind giving for our projects. Recruit families for the Affordable Housing Program.
2. Update our models. Craft a success story that can be shared with each group who comes to Hinton. Develop training materials. Create teach and take workshops.
3. Using SWOT analysis, conduct an assessment of our small membership church modules. Identify key church leaders who can create newer models. Identify format and structure for new models. Decide on "best practices" for consultation and visioning. Recruit board members to assist in implementing new models. Train board members and staff to use new models. Identify three churches to train using new models. Evaluate that training and revamp models as necessary.