Last year 300 pastors across Minnesota and 3 surrounding states joined together in fellowship and learning the strategic significance of their ministry in rural communities.

Join us March 3rd for the second annual Grow! Conference serving rural and small town church leaders.

God has strategically placed churches in rural areas and small towns in order to impact our culture for the kingdom of God. This conference will provide pastors and board members information on how to minister effectively, encourage them to see their unique role in God’s plan, and help them take steps to impact their world for all of eternity.




Saturday  |  March 3, 2018  |  8:30am - 4pm


3821 Abbott Dr, Willmar, MN 56201

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Questions? Contact Transform Minnesota




KEVIN KOMPELIEN  |  Keynote Speaker

Born in 1957 the oldest of three children, Kevin spent his entire growing up years in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. Privileged to have parents who love the Lord Jesus, they provided a loving home and modeled lives of commitment to the Lord and serving His church.

Kevin came to faith in Jesus as a young boy through the witness of his parents and grandparents. The influence of his home church was extremely significant in the early formation of his spiritual life. Kevin’s walk of faith took on a deeper dimension in high school and college where he served in leadership in various ministries.

Through a variety of ministry opportunities, Kevin felt the clear inner call of God to ministry which was confirmed through the wise counsel of godly men. Upon completion of university training, Kevin entered Trinity Evangelical Divinity School to prepare for pastoral ministry.

In June 2015, credentialed delegates at the EFCA One national conference elected Kevin as the sixth president of the Evangelical Free Church of America. His presidency began June 18, 2015. Married to wife Becky since 1981, Kevin and Becky have four grown, married children and seven grandchildren.

BENJAMIN WINCHESTER  |  Rewriting the Rural Narrative

Ben has a Masters of Science, Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri, Columbia and a B.A. Mathematics, Area of Concentration in Statistics from the U of M, Morris. Ben has been working both in and for small towns across the Midwest for over 20 years. He is trained as a Rural Sociologist and works as a Senior Research Fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality and conducts research on economic, social, and demographic topics surrounding a theme of “rewriting the rural narrative” that are vital to rural America. 

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JODI DEYOUNG MOORE  |  How to be a Good Local Missionary

Jodi Moore is the Rural Ministry Partner for our mission priority of Start and Strengthen Churches.  She is a resource and advocate for rural pastors and churches in the areas of leadership, governance change and congregational vitality.  Prior to this, she led the Evangelical Covenant Church in Ceresco, Nebraska through a ten year vitality journey.  Jodi lives in Lincoln, NE with her husband and two daughters (ages 4 and 7) where she makes her own caramel macchiato everyday.  In her free time, can be found playing Skip-Bo with her girls and wearing red as she pretends to be a Husker fan.


STEVE DONALDSON  |  Increasing the Influence and Effectiveness of the Rural Church

Steve’s family tragedy was the genesis for the beginning of Convoy of Hope and Rural Compassion. Steve loves rural America and believes the local church is God’s highest order designed to transform communities. Steve pioneered a rural church and was involved heavily in a ministry that provides leadership in the county to minister to the needs of the poor. For more than 30 years Steve’s passion and focus has been reaching out beyond the church doors. In the last year Rural Compassion has worked with over 1000 communities. RC is committed to resourcing rural churches.  Steve has been married to Rebecca, a life long Minnesotan, for 33 years. 


MARLAN MINCKS  |  Empowering your Congregation for Ministry

Marlan, Co-Director of the Converge Assessment center, is a church planter from Waukon, Iowa. The church he planted 14 years ago now owns a movie theater and pizza restaurant which ministers to the community in creative ways. These days he is kept busy leading a church as well as coaching Church planters and helping stuck churches move forward. He is married to his wife Terri and has two sons. 


DENNY CURAN  |  Developing Your Vision for the Rural Community

Denny is the pastor of River of Life Church in Cold Spring, Minnesota— a church he planted in 1993 when God gave him a vision for reaching central Minnesota with the gospel. Starting with just a 6 person prayer meeting, the church has grown steadily and is currently in the third phase of their building process with Denny still serving as Lead Pastor. Denny and his wife, Cheryl, reside in Cold Spring, Minnesota. They have four children and five grandchildren and have made church planting a family event

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CHAD HUNT  |  Leadership Development, Discipleship Pathway and Other Engines that Drive Vision

Chad is a ministry consultant with The Unstuck Group. He serves churches around the country through coaching and facilitating the Unstuck Strategic Planning Process. Chad served as a lead pastor for sixteen years in a small Kentucky town of 2500 people. He led a traditional 100 member church to a contemporary, gospel-intentional church that reached over 500 people each weekend. Chad also spent four years leading coaching networks for rural pastors at the Center of Rural Church Advancement at the Nebraska Christian College in Omaha.

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MICHAEL HOULE  |  Balancing Work and Ministry

Michael Houle is the pastor of the Valley Vineyard Church located in a small town in Northern Wisconsin for the past 11 years.  He and his wife, Trisha, and their 2 children, ages 17 and 20, planted the church in 2005. Until going full time with the church a few months ago, Michael had been bi-vocational working as a substitute teacher as well pastoring their church community.  He is an active team member of the National Vineyard Small Town Partnership.  Michael is also a certified coach with Multiply Vineyard and provides both coaching and consulting for leaders and churches across denominations.

JEFF HUSTON  |  Church Boards that Help Their Pastor Succeed

Jeff Huston is a Litchfield, MN native. He is retired from the financial services field where he built and sold a successful boutique firm that specialized in private equity. Jeff has won several national achievement awards and has been a sought-after speaker and presenter at numerous conventions. He currently manages a portfolio of real estate and business interests that he owns with his son-in-law. He has the unique ability of integrating sound leadership principles into the context of the local church. Jeff and his wife, Carol, have been married for 37 years. They have two married children and four grandchildren. He enjoys traveling with Carol to their second home in Arizona. 

AL NORTHQUEST  |  Church Boards that Help Their Pastor Succeed

Al Northquest lives in Litchfield, MN. He is a CPA and has 37 years of experience in manufacturing.  Throughout his career he has lived in three communities, each with its own unique culture.  He has been a Controller, Vice President of Finance, CFO, and President.  His time in manufacturing has been with five different companies as well as consulting work.   He has always viewed his work as God’s way of placing him where he is to serve in the local church.  He has been in church leadership on various boards among five different churches of four different denominations.  This variety gives Al a unique perspective on church boards and how they can function well.  Al has been married to his wife Sandy for 36 years.  They have three adult children and one grandchild. 

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DIANA LARIOS  |  Being Multi-cultural in Rural Communities

Diana Larios was born in Nayarit, Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her family at age 9. She graduated from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota with an International Business Management degree. Since 2014, she has served as an Office Manager and Spanish Ministry Assistant at Cornerstone Church in Litchfield, MN. Diana also serves as an interpreter for the Meeker County Public Health. Diana is a part of the leadership team launching in the new multi-cultural church site in Cokato.

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JEFF GARLAND  |  Being Multi-cultural in Rural Communities

Jeff Garland was raised as a Missionary Kid in Colombia and Ecuador, South America. He served as a missionary with his family in Costa Rica, Venezuela and Ecuador under the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He has served as a Pastor in the United States in Omaha, NE., and Litchfield, MN. Since 2004 Jeff has served as the Pastor of Counseling and Hispanic Ministries at Cornerstone Church in Litchfield, MN. The Spanish congregation in Litchfield currently consists of approximately 80 people. A Spanish speaking group has started in Cokato, MN, with the intent of becoming the core group for launching a Spanish speaking church in that community. Currently Jeff is working on starting a Spanish speaking group in Hutchinson, MN.

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JONATHAN LARSON  |  Being Multi-cultural in Rural Communities

Jonathan Larson was raised on a southern Minnesota farm in Martin County.  Growing up he attended church in Dunnell, Minnesota and Jackson, Minnesota. Following graduation from Bethel College & Seminary in St. Paul, he first pastored in Grove City, MN, and then moved to N. Isanti Baptist Church, MN.  In 2011 he became pastor of Indian Lake Baptist, a rural Nobles County church near the ethnically diverse city of Worthington, MN.  Over the past several years Indian Lake has become home to many Karen and Karenni refugee families from Burma (Myanmar) by way of camps in Thailand. Jonathan and his wife, Lois, have made several short-term missions trips to Asia, and are now delighting in ministry to Asians in rural Minnesota.




8:00 - 8:30 AM

Check - In | Registration

8:30 - 9:40 AM

Keynote  | Kevin Kompelien

10:00 - 11:00 AM

Breakout Session 1

Breakout Session 2

11:15 - 12:10 PM

 Lunch Break (included in price)

Breakout Session 3

1:30 - 2:30 PM

Keynote | Kevin Kompelien

2:45 - 3:45 PM



Registration for the Grow Leadership Conference has Closed

Any inquiries about potential additional registration, please call the number below.

Call 612.746.5648



Rates:  Individual = $49/person  |  Group Rate (2-4 people) = $29/person

Groups of 5 or more:  Flat rate $150 + $10 meal cost per person for each person over the 5th person