In our day, God is stirring a renewed awareness of the importance of small town and rural ministry. Small Town Summits is one part of that larger movement.

There are many joys, and also numerous challenges, in ministering a great big gospel in small and forgotten places. Small Town Summits provide New England pastors and lay leaders opportunities to consider together how God means for the gospel to form our ministry in small places. Talks and breakout sessions from small-town/rural New England pastors and ministry leaders spur our thinking. Generous time for discussion, eating together, fellowship, and prayer allow us to encourage one another.

What are Small Town Summits?

Small Town Summits is a new initiative, partnering with The Gospel Coalition New England to serve and connect pastors in small places across New England, hosting events in each of the six New England states. Come share with us your needs, hopes, aspirations, and challenges as you minister in rural areas and small towns.

Why focus on ministry in small places?

For a flavor of why we believe it's so important to serve in small places (and encourage those who do), read Stephen Witmer's articles 'Ministry in Small Towns: Worth a Lifetime Investment,' 'Small Town Summits,' 'To the Next Generation of Church Leaders,' 'To Faithful Pastors in Forgotten Places' and ‘The Secret Small Churches Know Best’ on the Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition websites.

How many Small Town Summits are you aiming to host?

We’re designing these Summits to be small, affordable, and reproducible, because we want to multiply them. We plan to begin with one in each of the six New England states.  As our team grows, we hope to host numerous Summits throughout New England so that you’re more likely to find one close to you.

Are women invited to participate in the Summits?

Yes! We’re eager to learn from, encourage, and equip gospel-centered women from small places throughout New England. We’d love to have many women attend and participate in our Summits. As close partners with The Gospel Coalition New England, we’re complementarian in our theology, and believe that the Bible teaches primary male leadership in the home and church. We also believe that it’s crucial for the life of the church for women to use their gifting in a wide variety of fruitful church ministries. We’re eager to encourage and spur you on, and learn from your ministry experience at our Summits.

I’d like to host a Small Town Summit where I live. How do I do that?

If you’re interested in hosting, a good place to start is reading the TGC Confessional Statement, which describes our doctrinal convictions. If you’re in agreement with the TGC Confessional Statement and are interested in hosting a Summit, please let us know through the Contact Us page of this website.

What’s the relationship between Small Town Summits and The Gospel Coalition New England?

Small Town Summits is an independent ministry that collaborates closely with The Gospel Coalition New England to reach the small places of New England. 

What is The Gospel Coalition New England?

The Gospel Coalition New England is a regional chapter of The Gospel Coalition, a network of Reformed, gospel-centered, complementarian churches founded in 2005 by Don Carson and Tim Keller. TGC-NE exists to resource and encourage churches and pastors throughout New England. The following pastors form the TGC-NE Steering Committee:

How can I support the work of Small Town Summits?

Thank you for your desire to support what we’re doing! We’d love you to pray for rich and lasting fruit from these Summits. Please spread the word by letting your friends and colleagues know about an upcoming Summit in their state, by liking and linking to our Facebook page, and by directing small town New England pastors you know to this website. If you’d like to support us financially, please let us know through the Contact Us section of this website and we’ll follow up with you.

If I don’t minister in the state where you’re hosting a Small Town Summit, can I still come?

We’ll never turn anyone away from these Summits (there will be no bouncers at the door!). Our goal in making the Summits state- and region-specific is to promote ongoing connection and gospel partnership among the participants long after the Summit is over. We believe there’s local knowledge that can be most fruitfully discussed when those who participate are from the same area. But perhaps you’re from just over the border, or in need of encouragement. If so, we’d love to have you.


Stephen Witmer

Stephen Witmer is the lead pastor of Pepperell Christian Fellowship in Pepperell, MA. He's a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the University of Cambridge, and serves on the steering committee of the Gospel Coalition New England. He is the author of “A Big Gospel in Small Places” which will be released November 5th. He and his wife Emma have two sons and one daughter.


David Pinckney

David Pinckney is the lead pastor of River of Grace in Concord, NH, an Acts 29 church and the co-director of the new Acts 29 Rural Collective. He's a graduate of Bethel Seminary, a long-time New England pastor, and he and his wife Sharon have four sons and one daughter. He enjoys traveling, people, and history.


Ben Whittinghill

Ben Whittinghill is the lead pastor of Rivertown Church in Brattleboro, VT. He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and serves on the leadership team of Vermont Church Planting. He and his wife Kayla have five sons and one daughter.


Tim Counts

Tim Counts is the pastor of Northshire Baptist Church in Manchester Center, VT. He's a graduate of The Master's Seminary and serves on the Board of Directors for The Baptist Convention of New England. He and his wife Melanie have two sons and one daughter. Tim writes regularly at He Must Become Greater.


Ben Ruhl

Ben Ruhl is the lead pastor of BeFree Community Church in Alton, NH. He's a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Moody Bible Institute. He is husband to Olivia and father to Davie.