One-on-One with Bryan Jarrett on Resourcing Rural America, Part 1

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We’ve not looked at rural as a mission field. We haven’t seen it through missiological lenses.

Ed: Talk to me about the Water Tower Network. Where does the name come from?

Bryan: It was born out of our passion to serve rural churches and the identifying trade in most small towns is the water tower. We decided to do rural pastors training, form cohorts of pastors and start the network so we bought a ranch and this has become our training ground.

Ed: Talk to me about your cohorts. What do you do if you’re in a cohort?

Bryan: Pastors come in to Dallas every 60 days. They come in on a Monday night and we just connect relationally and have fun. A lot of these guys are in assignments where they struggle financially, so we try to take them to do things they would never splurge on. We want to let them know they’re not alone. Tuesday is resourcing when we are focused on things that they need help with the most—budgeting, legal advice, preaching help.

Sometimes they can join us in person, and sometimes they attend via Skype. We give thousands of dollars worth of resources to them throughout the year—things like computer support and equipment, tech support, etc.

The first time we are together, we assess their needs and then we let the needs of each cohort be tailored so that we spend that year investing in what they need the most.

Ed: You’re in a part of Texas that’s slowly being eaten by Dallas, so it’s not rural anymore. So where did this passion come from?

Bryan: I grew up in a rural church and my cousins and I were in a family church in a rural area. There was probably a gap between me as a little kid and the next person who was about 60 years old. In some ways, I resented it. So growing up, my heart turned from God. I didn’t feel like I connected with church or understood the gospel fully.

So …

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