Rev. Rob Spencer Launches Cultiv8 To Bless Rural Communities
One of the chief aims is be a catalyst for significant poverty alleviation work
The Center for Missional Outreach is beginning an exciting partnership with Cultiv8 – a new nonprofit organization formed and led by Rev. Rob Spencer. One of the chief aims of Cultiv8 is to be a resource to faith leaders in rural settings and thereby be a catalyst for significant poverty alleviation work in rural communities.
“I’m excited about my new extension ministry appointment to our recently formed non-profit organization called Cultiv8,” Rev. Spencer said. “One of our primary purposes is to share what we have learned about poverty alleviation here in Lamar County and our partnership with CitySquare. I believe the lessons we have learned in Paris will apply in other rural settings.”
Back in 2019, Rev Spencer – in partnership with CitySquare and the CMO – facilitated a cohort for six NTC pastors serving in rural contexts to strengthen their leadership. The idea was to leverage Spencer’s experience in Paris, where he has been successful at building relationships in the community and working with others to do poverty alleviation work in impactful ways. In 2019 and early 2020, he made periodic site visits to each pastor’s community, led day-long immersion and learning experiences at CitySquare and had regular coaching calls with each pastor. The initial feedback and fruit of this model was positive, and he planned to continue the cohort until the pandemic happened.
Now, Spencer and the CMO are excited and positioned to resume this work through Cultiv8. The wisdom and proven approaches for leadership in rural communities that Spencer has developed will be a real blessing to pastors, churches and communities in rural settings in the NTC. The plan is for Rev. Spencer to begin engaging with a dozen pastors and communities this summer.
“Since the launch of CitySquare Paris, Rev. Rob Spencer has been a champion and a strong voice for creatively addressing poverty alleviation, while also encouraging vital community development,” said Larry James, CEO emeritus of CitySquare. “We are excited about remaining connected to his next chapter of exciting ministry. I remain inspired by Rob's deep compassion for all the people of Lamar County and beyond.”
Two other areas of focus for Cultiv8 are Creation Care Day Camps for children and respite opportunities for leaders. Cultiv8 is blessed with two amazing sites in the Paris area: Graves Farm and the Methodist Camp on Pat Mayse Lake. Spencer has learned that children in poverty often have a void of uplifting life experiences; Cultiv8 will seek to provide multiple opportunities for God’s amazing creation to bring life to all who come to the farm or to the Methodist Camp.
Author and activist Brian McLaren is a friend of Spencer's.
“Cultiv8 will introduce kids, especially kids from underserved communities to the beauty and wonder of nature,” McLaren said. “That connection with creation will help them become lifelong stewards of this beautiful Earth, and it will also help them come in contact with the Creator. Whether kids or adults, we need the kind of experiences in creation that Rob is so uniquely gifted to cultivate.”
Spencer already has held several camps at the farm that have provided enriching outdoor experiences for children, many of whom live in poverty.
Published: Monday, May 2, 2022