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95Network Blog

Small Church Stories, Vol. 2: Pekin First UMC, Minier Christian Church, & Cornerstone Church

20 December, 2019

This week we're continuing our series of stories from churches we've been able to work with over the past couple years. It's been so fun to rediscover some of what God has done through this ministry! A couple of the churches we're highlighting this week are local to me, which makes these stories even more special.

We've been sharing these stories over on Facebook and Twitter, but we wanted to share them as a series here on our blog as well.

Our team has been blown away by the doors that God has opened to support His Church and encourage leaders. But the reality is that we can't walk this journey alone.

If you're captured by any of these stories, we would be honored if you would stand with us as we approach this new year. Even if it's a small amount each month, our ministry is completely funded by individuals and churches who believe in this mission to support the 95% of churches under 500 in average attendance.

How Pekin First UMC Found Renewed Vision & Clear Direction --


"From the first minute, I could tell that 95Network was exactly who they said they were. They were all about seeing churches flourish so the Kingdom of God could spread."

Meet Heather Robertson, Associate Pastor at Pekin First UMC in Pekin, IL. We had the opportunity to sponsor their church through our Healthy Steps Grant Initiative throughout 2019 and interact with their team at our one-day event in Davenport, IA.

As a result of the healthy steps they took to gain clarity for the future, they have literally seen hundreds of people connect at some level into the life of their church and Heather and her team have a refreshed excitement about what God is doing in their church and throughout their community. It was such an encouragement to us to hear her story!

How 95Network Provided an Opportunity for Local Pastors to Stand in Unity --


Meet Rusty Richards, Lead Pastor of Minier Christian Church in Minier, IL.

We've had the opportunity to partner with Rusty to host 2 one-day conferences for local pastors in Central IL and he now serves on our core team of pastors in 95Network Membership. Rusty is a great leader and it's been awesome to get to know him over the last couple years and hear his heart to impact their community for Jesus.

Rusty let us record our vision videos at his church earlier this year, so we appreciated his willingness to share about how 95Network has impacted his ministry and how our one-day event recently provided an opportunity for him to stand in unity with another minister in the area.

How Cornerstone Church Laid a Foundation for a Healthy Future --


"The unity that came out of that day... It was invaluable."

Meet Darren DePaul, Lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Clinton, CT. Darren actually knew Dale from ministering in South Carolina and got to reconnect with him recently when he hosted us for a one-day event for pastors in his area. Out of that, he brought us in for a VisionDay to gain clarity for what's ahead for their ministry.

It was a powerful experience for their church as their team brought their differing perspectives on where the church should be headed and came out of the day with a united purpose and mission to rally behind. We love seeing churches take healthy steps like this to ensure a strong future for their ministry.

When you bring positive change to a church, you change a community.

Our team is so encouraged by what God has allowed us to do these past couple years. But we simply can't do it alone.

If you're captured by any of these stories or this mission to resource churches, we would be honored if you would stand with us financially. Whether it's $10, $25, or $95 each month, we are only able to resource churches through the generosity of others.

You can make a difference for years to come. Will you stand with us?


Austin Savage

Austin is the Managing Director here at 95Network. From Normal, IL, Austin gets that ministry can sometimes feel anything but “normal.” He grew up leading in the small church his dad pastored, and has since served on the launch teams for two church plants. He holds a Communications degree from Moody Bible Institute and is passionate about seeing churches grow healthier and make a difference in their communities. Austin and his wife, Larisa, reside near Peoria, IL.