Utah’s Mountain & Rural Opportunities

Shane Finley PicUtah is a widely unreached area.  Great strives forward have been made in recent years as churches continue to be planted within the state.  I believe God has given me a heart for an often overlooked area of the state.  The majority of the churches being planted within the state are along the 15 fwy.  This makes a lot of sense as this is where we find the most densely populated areas.   However, this means that very little is being done to reach roughly 500,000 of Utah’s 2.7 million people.  There are towns such as Vernal, Kamas, Ephraim and many others with a range of 1,000-10,000 people in them that have either no churches at all or for the most part older churches that for one reason or another have not been making much impact on the community.  Obviously this covers a large geographical area so it would be presumptuous of me to assume I am aware of all that is going on in these areas.  I am always looking for more information on growing ministries in the rural areas of Utah.

More specifically our focus area is the Heber Valley and the surrounding areas of Kamas, Francis, Coalville, Walsburg, Wanship and Park City.  This area has begun to see a few churches sprouting up.  The Heber Valley currently has 5 churches, three of them started since 2008.  Park City has had a couple churches planted in recent years as well on top of a handful of churches that are actively reaching people.

The key reason that I am interested in seeing the network grow is I believe it is necessary if we are going to be effective in reaching the rural areas.  In my research I have seen that many have tried to get works going in some of these areas but they have often times failed because they are simply under resourced and isolated.  A network can help that.  As churches work together in a network we can better assist each other in areas of weakness and help with resources.  Churches in the rural areas can count on some of the larger churches in the valley to help them in areas like camps, curriculum, media, worship leaders, etc.

Being in Heber we have found it is very easy to fall into isolation.  I have been very proactive in keeping outside relationships alive.  These relationships have been vital in our forward momentum in such a difficult soil.  I would love to see people get a passion for taking on ministry in the rural areas of Utah but I firmly believe for them to find success that are going to need a network of relationships.  My hope is that Loving Utah will be able to set up a system of networks that are easily accessible for Pastors and Planters through out the state and my focus will be on the rural areas.

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