IN THE PASTORAL PASTORATE

The benefits of the rural church far outweigh its disadvantages.

A visitor from a large city shook my hand after the service. "Isn't it ridiculous," she said, "that this little church even stays open? The smartest thing would be to shut it down."

I suspect many people would agree with her.

I would not.

Rural churches offer great opportunities for witness and ministry. By their very nature, they have positive qualities that are difficult to develop in an urban setting.

But for some reason when the rural church is mentioned, more people think about problems than about potential. They have visions of infighting, minuscule budgets, and maligned, underpaid pastors. Perhaps from the vantage point of a large urban church, the small rural church seems far removed from the center of Christian mission. But in my years of rural ministry, I've seen the powerful witness and ministry of the country church. Many notions about the country church need adaptation.

Myths

Most people assume rural churches are small churches. But are they? Sometimes, but not always. I am pastor ...

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