Walk-up registration will be accepted on event day.

Date: February 17, 2018
Location: NEMO Fairgrounds, Multi-Purpose Building, 2700 E. Illinois St., Kirksville, Missouri, 63501
Cost: $20 per individual. Registration includes lunch (with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options) and workshop resource materials

Rural churches are vital to their communities but sometimes struggle to know how to best engage and provide support for local needs. The Mark Twain District’s 2018 Rural Ministry Now conference seeks to:

  • Help participants identify strengths/assets they have within their congregation
  • Better understand the opportunities and challenges in their community
  • Determine ways to intertwine identified strengths in community outreach to build stronger communities with faith foundations
  • Explore collaboration opportunities that can enhance community efforts

 The Rural Ministry Now conference seeks to provide ideas and training for church members to help support thriving, hope-filled rural churches across the Mark Twain District and beyond.

Come join us as we draw together rural church members from across the Midwest for a day of learning and fellowship.



Ms. Rogers is a community and economic development practitioner.  She has extensive work experience in the public sector with applied research and empirical aspects of economic development and in the private sector as a business owner.  In November 2008, she joined the North Carolina Rural Center in Raleigh as the NC Small Towns Economic Prosperity (STEP) Senior Coach working in many small towns across the state and overseeing other STEP coaches.  In 2014, she became the Director of Community Engagement.

Prior to joining the Rural Center, she was the Deputy Director of the Appalachian Regional Development Institute at Appalachian State University focusing on community and economic development issues in northwest North Carolina.  The Appalachian Regional Development Institute was an applied research and public service program addressing economic, business, government, and social issues and problems related to regional community and economic development.

Ms. Rogers earned a J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and an M.A. from The George Washington University School of Public and International Affairs.  Her undergraduate degree is in journalism and political science from UNC-CH.  She attended Appalachian State University for her general college requirements in Watauga College.  She grew up on a dairy farm in the Low country of South Carolina and still maintains her rural roots - when not in Raleigh and traveling the state, she lives in the beautiful mountains of Ashe County near West Jefferson.



Jason Gray’s professional life has focused on thinking and doing on behalf of rural America. He has an array of rural economic development research, practice and policy experience that advances community development innovation. He is currently Senior Fellow for Research and Policy at the North Carolina Rural Center, where he has developed an integrated platform for research and policy to support of thriving, 21st Century rural communities.

Jason has been consultant to innovative community foundations across the nation seeking to better link community development to philanthropy.  As a grant maker, he oversaw the strategic development and implementation of nearly $9 million of economic innovation grants for reinvigorating North Carolina’s manufacturing sector, alternative energy development, and sustainable tourism. He holds a Masters degree in regional planning from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, and a B.A. from Emory & Henry College, a small Methodist school in Southwestern Virginia. 


8:30 – 10:00 a.m.           Welcome and Overview with Andrew Coon, Jason Gray and Chilton Rogers
10:00 – 10:15 a.m.        Break
10:15 a.m. – Noon         Thinking Strategically and Applying ABCD with Chilton Rogers
Noon – 12:45 p.m.         Lunch
12:45 – 2:45 p.m.           Applying ABCD with Chilton Rogers
2:45 – 3:00 p.m.              Break
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.              Peer Networks within the District, Ecumenical Partners and External Resources
4:00 p.m.                             Closing and Benediction