tom & Judy Horton
rural church ministries
Reverend Tom Horton is a veteran youth leader with over 25 years experience as a Youth Minister at Boulevard Park Presbyterian Church in Seattle. During his many years of service, he developed fruitful relationships with several rural churches, gaining not only a sensitivity to their needs, but also a vision for ways in which God could use him to help them. He started ministry camps in 1971 and by using trained and maturing youth at his home church to minister to the youth of a rural community, an ideal missions experience unfolded. Tom’s vision and networking experience were instrumental in the development of Christ’s Church’s “Montana Mission Team”, which continues to impact the lives of our own youth, transforming ministry, and bearing fruit for the Kingdom.
Through the years, Tom has witnessed may youth commit their lives to the Lord. A scripture that has become a reality in Toms’ heart for youth is 2 Corinthians 12:15 – “I will most gladly be spent and be expended for your souls." Rural America and its churches are in the midst of an identity crisis. The rapidly changing rural environment, fueled by economic challenges, rural to urban migration, and technological development, is helping produce an un-churched generation of North American teens and struggling churches. Tom has noted, that very few people in youth work are even aware of the needs of rural churches, which while they desire to reach the young people of their communities, are often discouraged by their isolation and limited resources. As a result, young people being trained for youth work in our Christian colleges and seminaries rarely consider rural work as a possible calling. A greater sense of urgency regarding youth ministry is needed in the church today.
Since 1998, youth and adults from Christ’s Church have been involved yearly with short-term mission trips, coordinated with R.C.Y.M., in several rural town in Western Montana. Focus activities include projects to help local individuals, families, and even the town; holding community “pig roasts” in the park; and sharing the gospel to all they come in contact with.
R.C.Y.M. exists to assist and encourage rural churches in making successful youth ministry possible in their local setting.
Work within existing youth ministry systems seeking to develop stronger youth ministries.
Assist local churches in the development of student leadership ministry skills within the context of their youth programs.
To assist lay leaders and pastors in the rural church in building solid Biblical youth ministry programs. We do this by providing at least one of three customized menus:
Partnerships (ministry camps)
- Volunteer youth ministry training notebooks
- The placement of a full-time youth leader in a rural church setting (Youth Leader Cooperative)
To team up and oversee the partnership relationship between a youth pastor and a rural church volunteer (or pastor) for the purpose of encouragement, mentoring, the running of a ministry camp, providing training seminars, and sharing resources which will result in a more focused and effective youth ministry for the rural church and the development of student leaders in the sending church.
To provide youth ministry notebooks to enhance volunteer leaders in proven practical ways.
To place a full-time youth leader in a rural church partially supported as a home missionary. Thus, a youth director cooperative will realize the placement of full-time youth directors in rural churches in the northwest.
Ministry Camps – Utilizing the rural setting to develop student ministry skills.
Partnerships - Developing bridges between full-time youth workers and rural youth leaders.
Tool and Resource - Providing or connecting ministry resources, training tools, and curriculum.
Combined Events - Joining already existing youth programs and events.
Phone Consultation - Seeking to meet the needs of individual rural churches.
Youth retreats - Retreat concepts which work for the rural church.
Training Notebooks - Providing volunteer workers helpful training materials.
Placement - Placing full-time workers in a rural setting.
Training Seminars - Providing training for volunteer workers in the rural setting.
Connecting - Building bridges between churches, denominations and rural needs.
Sharing - Learning from others in order to work smarter, not harder.
Scholarships – Providing scholarships for college students preparing to be full-time youth leaders.
Updated: February 2015