An Inspiring Story from Rural Arkansas

    Lots of bad news in the world--so sometimes it is nice to hear an inspiring story. Let me tell you about my friend, Shannon O'Dell, who pastors in Bergman, Arkansas (population 407). They call it Brand New Church -- yep, that's the actual name of the church, and the story of that church is amazing. Some highlights...

  • Six years ago, Shannon was a youth pastor in a church of 3,000+ and took a $30,000 pay-cut to move to a church with 31 aging members in a town with 88 people in rural Arkansas.
  • He quickly changed the way the church was governed, from a deacon-led entity to one that was senior pastor led.
  • Next they changed the worship, from traditional organ music and hymns to a multimedia experience with upbeat music, a band, videos and innovative preaching. And the growth began.
  • They were considering a building campaign in 2005...but stopped when a congregation with six people in a nearby town (Bergman, Arkansas) asked for help. Instead of building, Shannon began preaching in both locations. By easter Sunday in 2006, the church topped 600 people.
  • They soon built in Bergman and now that site consistently averages more than 1,000 people (remember, they had 6 in 2005).
  • In 13 months, Brand New Church went from a single-campus site to four physical locations and a high-tech internet campus. They are averaging more than 2,000 each weekend!

An amazing story! And I want you to meet Shannon.

In fact, let's meet up at Brand New Church in March. That is the location of the next regional Sticks Conference.I'm going--and you should consider it as well. This conference is for anyone who is leading at a church in small- and medium-sized towns. If you want to be inspired--you have to make your way to Arkansas with me on March 17-18.

Get a taste of Shannon's energy and passion in this video short:

Tim Stevens11 Comments