Hinton Rural Life Center Resources

Resources for the Discipleship Journey

Hinton Rural Life Center retreat, mission outreach, and training ministries provide opportunities for churches, small groups, organizations, and individuals to grow in faith and in their discipleship, becoming more equipped to bring help, healing, and hope to others. Resources on this page include:

  • Theotokos Connections Confirmation Curriculum info and order form
  • Registration and other required forms, information for mission teams
  • Mission-related articles, books, and online activities
  • Digital learning resources for ministry in smaller membership churches

Theotokos Connections Confirmation Curriculum

In our ongoing efforts to support rural churches, Hinton has partnered with Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith and Rev. Shannon LeMaster-Smith to create a United Methodist Confirmation resource that is accessible, relevant, and affordable for smaller membership churches. Because it is designed to be flexible and adaptable for the needs and contexts of different Confirmation ministries, churches of all sizes and settings will find it to be easy to use, youth friendly, and theologically solid as a United Methodist resource.

This resource shares the Theotokos name with the Theotokos Confirmation Retreats ministry offered at Hinton, but it is not used at the retreats nor is it required to be used by groups that attend the retreats. It does share a focus on and highlights the connectional aspect of our Methodist polity and experience. (For information on the Theotokos Confirmation Retreats, visit http://www.hintontheotokos.org .)

Theotokos Connections is a digital resource consisting of 6 sessions. With the exception of the first session, the sessions can be used in any order. There are multiple options offered for openings, learning activities, and closings, and it includes an appendix full of ideas and resource links.


  • To receive a preview version of the introduction and first session, email karen@hintoncenter.org .
  • To order the resource, complete and submit the order form linked HERE, with payment, or complete the online form by clicking HERE. For churches in the Western North Carolina Conference (WNCC), complete the online order HERE , using the discount code “WNCC.”
  • The cost for this resource is $10/user, which includes numbers of confirmands and adult leaders. This is a one-time charge, but if you continue to use the resource in the future, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to Hinton Rural Life Center to help support our Theotokos Confirmation ministries.

Mission Resources

Mission Outreach at Hinton Rural Life Center

Digital Resources for Smaller Membership Churches

This resource page is available for you to access freely. You may use these resources with your congregation, district, or annual conference. If you have questions, please call Rev. Dawn Livingston at Hinton Center (828) 389-8336 or email dawn@hintoncenter.org.

Hinton Rural Life Center is the recognized leader in resources for smaller membership churches. We offer assistance for congregations that make a vital and measurable difference in the ministries of those churches. Among the services offered by Hinton Center are:

– Training and resources that are size- and setting-appropriate for congregations, cooperative ministries, districts, and annual conferences

– Workshops at your location tailored to your specific needs and schedule

– Consultations with local congregations and cooperative ministries

– Models of Ministry resources (See below for links)

– Training and networking events for pastors and for laity

– Guided programs in spiritual formation

Hinton Rural Life Center publishes Effective Ministry in the Smaller Membership Church, a guide with models and resources for congregations. We now offer this guide online for your use at no charge. Please click through the following links to find out what countless congregations, districts, and conferences have found to be invaluable.

  1. Contents
  2. Overview of the Smaller Membership Church
  3. Planning for Effective Ministry
  4. Financial Stewardship in the Small Membership Church
  5. Using the NOW Model for Effective Ministry in Smaller Congregations
  6. Cooperative Ministry
  7. Dynamics of the Small Membership Church
  8. Christian Education in the Small Membership Church
  9. Music in the Small Membership Church
  10. Spiritual Formation in the Local Church
  11. Pastor and Parishoner Health: Indicators for Effective Ministry
  12. If I Were the Pastor of a Small Membership Church
  13. Evangelism Information

To order this guide in printed version, please email your request to info@hintoncenter.org. Notebook copies are $20.00 each plus $6.00 shipping.

Practicing Vital Ministry in Small Congregations: When congregations are willing to become vulnerable to the prompting and leading of God, they can be guided and, ultimately, transformed by three questions.

First, who are we? A congregation must know itself well.

Second, who is our neighbor? A congregation must understand the surrounding community.

Third, what is our next step? A congregation must have a plan. These were originally used for a Vitality presentation in the Florida Conference.

  1. Who Are We?
  2. Who Is Our Neighbor?
  3. What Is Our Next Step?