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Connecting with Stakeholders

Florida churches establish relationships in communities, thanks to Rural Compassion.
Numerous churches in the Florida panhandle have been blessed since connecting with Rural Compassion.

A ministry of Convoy of Hope, Rural Compassion conducts seminars to teach pastors and church members to serve and impact their communities. Rural Compassion also provides supplies, including food, to participating congregations.

West Florida District Council Superintendent Tommy L. Moore says 80 congregations —half of those in the district — have benefited from a relationship with Rural Compassion.

“Rural Compassion is one of the greatest tools we have ever used,” Moore says. “It fulfills our vision statement to encourage, resource, and equip the ministers and churches in our district.”

Moore appreciates the spirit of Rural Compassion’s Kim and Laurel Harvey, who are appointed U.S. missionaries with Missionary Church Planters & Developers.

“They connected with our pastors and loved on them in very tangible ways,” Moore says. “The pastors returned home with not only a huge load of supplies, but also so many ideas to help them reach out to their community. The valuable training is based around the need for churches to connect with the stakeholders in their communities.”

Danny Carnley, pastor of Live Oak Assembly of God in Bonifay, Florida, says the congregation is learning creative ways to reach residents.

“We have been able to establish great relationships with our law enforcement and first responders in our community,” says Carnley. “It has been refreshing to see our congregation become so excited to serve their community.”

Live Oak distributes several cases of water and an energy sports drink every other month to law enforcement personnel and first responders, as well as holds an annual appreciation lunch for the groups. The church also recently distributed more than 750 pairs of shoes to all students of a local elementary school thanks to Rural Compassion.

Buddy Pennington, pastor of Westville Assembly of God, says the congregation has built relationships with local educational groups and ministered to struggling individuals. Rural Compassion also has helped create a positive reputation for the church in the eyes of employees of the town of 280. No other group had ever sponsored an appreciation luncheon for the overworked and underpaid public servants.

God also opened the door for Westville Assembly to be able to bless several families who have children at the local Head Start program through food backpack donations from Rural Compassion.

Like Live Oak, Westville Assembly has distributed shoes to area children thanks to Rural Compassion.

Eric Tiansay

Eric Tiansay has been a full-time journalist since 1993, writing articles for Christian media since 2000. He lives in central Florida, where he is an active member of an Assemblies of God church.