Launched in 2014, The Center for Rural Church Advancement (CRCA) is a partnership of NC and the Unstuck Group to serve rural churches across the Heartland.

we do three things

Help Rural Churches Advance

through teaching networks, regional gatherings & peer coaching

Resource Rural Church Leaders

with best practices and proven leadership principles

Fill the Future Leadership Pipeline

through awarding scholarships to graduates who are proving to be effective

2020 Vision

Our vision is to see two hundred churches and multi-sites engaged by the CRCA in the next five years. We expect five hundred leaders to be impacted through the strategy of regional gatherings, coaching networks, and peer to peer learning of best practices. 

Regional Gatherings. The CRCA hosts regional gatherings periodically across the heartland and upper midwest, bringing together church leaders for a day of encouragement, teaching, and inspiration. 

Coaching Sessions. From the regional gatherings, coaching networks are formed with Chad Hunt of the Unstuck Group for twelve months of follow-up coaching. This type of engagement is where the real fruit is born in the leadership and direction of rural churches.

Download the complete 2020 CRCA vision here

Jump In

Links to key documents and information (coming soon)
I'd like more information on Unstuck and Coaching
Schedule of upcoming events and how to register
I'd like to give to CRCA and/or the scholarship fund

What Leaders are Saying

Coming up with ideas isn't the problem; identifying the best ideas and implementing them is the problem. This is why I have enjoyed these coaching networks.
- Troy Reynolds Senior Pastor of Journey, Wayne, NE

CRCA, and Chad Hunt have helped me to lead better. Our attendance is up 25% over a year ago, and baptisms are up 100%. A 133 year-old church in a shrinking community can advance the Gospel.
- John Erickson, Senior Pastor of Sutherland Church of Christ, Sutherland, IA

CRCA Scholarship Fund

What is true in churches in all communities is also true in rural America: we must call the best we can find, equip them in a different way, and deploy them for ministry effectiveness.

In this spirit, the CRCA seeks to pay off student loans to those who enter a rural church ministry in a town of 10,000 or less. These scholarships are given as finances allow, and must be applied for through Nebraska Christian College. Look for more information soon.





Central Church of Christ
51 Harrison St.
Griswold, IA 51535



Saturday, March 11, 2017


9:00 am - 3:00 pm (registration begins at 8:15 am)




To provide tools for developing your ministry in Western Iowa small churches.


No Registration Fee. An offering will be received. 

Child Care

Nursery and Child Care through Grade 5 provided.

main speaker

Dr. Gary Johnson

Dr. Gary Johnson has served in the preaching ministry for over thirty years; with the majority as senior minister of Indian Creek Christian Church (Indianapolis, Indiana). He holds a Master of Arts degree in Church history from Lincoln Christian Seminary, Master of Ministry and Divinity degrees from Cincinnati Bible Seminary in practical ministries, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Grace Theological Seminary (Indiana). Gary also teaches as an adjunct professor of the faculties of Cincinnati Christian University and TCM Institute, a seminary serving Eastern Europe. Gary travels overseas for the purpose of teaching pastors and church leaders in cross-cultural settings. Gary and Leah have been married over 33 years, and have married sons; Jared and Aaron, who are both serving in the ministry. His pursuits outside of church life include running, mountain climbing, racquetball, cycling, and back-packing. Still, one of the greatest joys in life for Gary is being called “grandpa” by five little children.


8:15 - 9:00 am - Registration (coffee and donuts available) 

9:00 - 10:15 am - Opening Session – Welcome, Worship, and Message, Dr. Gary Johnson, speaker

10:30 – 11:30 am - Workshop Sessions 

11:30 am – 12:30 pm - Lunch provided by the Griswold Church 

12:30 – 1:30 pm - Workshop Sessions 

1:45 – 3:00 pm - Main Session - Worship, Prayer, Offering, and Message, Dr. Gary Johnson, speaker


For more information please contact Tony Brandt at or call (712) 778-2433. We ask that you contact Cindy Winter at to register if you plan to attend the event so we have an idea of how many will be in attendance.