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 of these churches information on how to minister effectively, encourage them to see their unique role in God's plan, and help them take the steps that can impact their world for all of eternity.



MARCH 11, 2017


205 CSAH 34






DR. LEITH ANDERSON  |  Keynote Speaker

Leith’s many interests have included pastoring, teaching, writing, speaking, and leadership.

Leith Anderson is Pastor Emeritus of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, MN where he was Senior Pastor for 35 years from 1977 through 2011.

Leith is the president of the National Association of Evangelicals headquartered in Washington, DC, holding this office from 2001 to 2002 and again from 2006 to the present. The NAE is a multi-faceted association of 40 denominations, many other evangelical organizations and a constituency in the tens of millions.

Leith speaks frequently at conferences, has traveled to all seven continents and has often been interviewed and quoted by publications and broadcasts including The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, TIME, Christianity Today, PBS, the BBC, NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, CNN and others. He served for two years under President Barack Obama on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

He is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois (BA in Sociology); Denver Seminary, Denver, Colorado (Master of Divinity); Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California (Doctor of Ministry); and holds honorary doctorates from Cornerstone University, Eastern University and the Moody Bible Institute.

Articles have been published in many periodicals and he has authored or co- authored over twenty books including Dying for Change, A Church For The Twenty-First Century, Winning The Values War, Praying To The God You Can Trust, and Leadership That Works.

Leith and Charleen have known each other all of their lives and have been married to each other most of their lives. They have four children and make their home in Eden Prairie, MN. 

DR. MARTIN GIESE  |  Leading Rural Churches

Pastor, consultant, conference speaker, leadership trainer, nationally recognized authority on organiza- tional and church leadership in town and country/rural contexts. Martin holds degrees in Biblical Studies (Oak Hills Christian College) and Pastoral Ministry (Moody Graduate School), and a Doctor of Ministry in Executive Leadership (Bethel University, St. Paul).

He served for 10 years as an adjunct faculty member of the Billy Graham Schools of Evangelism. He is founder of the Country Shepherds’ Workshop (a training seminar for rural church leaders), co-author of Leading Through Change (ChurchSmart, 2006) and has written for Leadership Journal. Hobbies include hunting, fishing, reading, and landscaping. Martin and his wife, Marcia, have four children and seven grandchildren.

CHAD HUNT  |  Creating a Discipleship Pathway and How to Keep Vision out of Death Valley

Chad served as a lead pastor in a rural church for over sixteen years and grew a church from 60 to 600. Chad now serves as a ministry consultant with the Unstuck Group leading churches through the StratOp Process. In addition to working with Unstuck, Chad serves as the executive pastor at Eagle Heights Church in Somerset, KY. He also leads coaching networks for rural pastors at the Center of Rural Church Advancement at the Nebraska Christian College in Omaha. 

DR. KEN POLLEY  |  Managing Conflict in the Local Church

Ken grew up in MN. After 17 years of pastoral service, God redirected his ministry and led him to the unique calling of working with churches struggling with internal conflict. Ken’s intervention ministry helps churches during times of transition, recovery, and renewal. He assists churches and church leadership with evaluation, development, training, and strategic planning. Ken actively invests in pastors, missionaries, and church leaders through mentoring and counseling. Ken’s ministry experience includes oversight of a mission agency, interim ministry, and mentoring ordination candidates. He and his wife, Lorelei, have been married for 30 years, have 3 children, and reside in Park Rapids, MN. 

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. 

JEFF GARLAND  |  Ministering to Rural Poverty

Prior to serving at Cornerstone Church in Litchfield, MN, Jeff served for 16 years with his wife Lorie and family as a missionary in Costa Rica, Venezuela and Ecuador, South America. Since 2004 he has served at Cornerstone. His primary roles have been Pastor of Pastoral Care, Hispanic Ministries, and Benevolent Care. He has also served as Chaplain for the Meeker County Sheriff and on the steering committee for the Meeker (County) Area Ministerial, which primarily focuses on the poverty and homelessness in the community. Through these ministries, Cornerstone Church has been able to make significant end roads into people’s lives, but more importantly, through which the Lord has used to transform lives. 

HEATHER JESERITZ  |  Ministering to Rural Poverty

Heather is a Program Coordinator/Outreach Worker at United Community Action Partnership (formerly Heart- land CAA). She has been in this position for 15 years working with families in need and those living in poverty in rural MN. Through assessments, she provides case management service, addresses housing needs, and assists with transportation barriers, supportive employment services, financial support with utility crises and many other needs that are identified as family barriers while living in poverty. She is also the Board Chair for Meeker Area Ministries, a non-profit that focuses on sheltering and working with the homeless population to increase their self-sufficiency and obtain stable housing. She studied Human Services at St. Cloud State, along with Ridgewater College. She is nationally trained for Social Security Disability application assistance along with family advocacy. Heather has resided in Meeker County for over 35 years. She is married to her best friend Michael and lives in Litchfield along with their 6 children and 2 dogs. 

JEFF HUSTON  |  Being an Effective Church Board

Jeff Huston is a 55 year old 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 36 years. They have two married children and four grandchildren. He enjoys traveling with Carol to their second home in Arizona. 



8:00 AM

Check - In | Registration

8:30 AM

Keynote  | Leith Anderson

9:15 AM

Breakout Session 1

Breakout Session 2

10:45 AM

60 min Lunch (included in price)

Breakout Session 3

1:15 PM

Leith Anderson

2:45 PM




Group rates are available at americinn.
Just mention the Grow conference or click here.

Knights Inn
1017 E Frontage Rd
Litchfield, MN 55355
(320) 693-2496

AmericInn Lodge & Suites
1525 US-12
Litchfield, MN 55355
(320) 693-1600




Prefer to register by phone? Call 320.593.7971

Price per Ticket: $ 39 per person


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