To the Rural Church

An open letter to an increasingly marginalized—and marginalizing—church

Each week this month, BuildingChurchLeaders.com is considering how different expressions of Christianity can more faithfully embody the calling God has placed on them. These letters are patterned off the words of Jesus in Revelation 2–3. While they lack the authority of Scripture, they contain many convicting insights brought in the spirit of humility and love for the church. This letter, written by Susan Wise Bauer, is addressed to the churches that she knows best: those in rural America.

I know where you live: in a nation ruled by the god of Business, where those who do not have the power to buy are shunted aside. The old and the very young are ignored. The few (who do not make up a critical mass, a niche market, a group worthy of attention) are dismissed.

Instead of a business, you rural churches have been a faithful family. You have refused to be professionalized; you have rejected the model of corporate effectiveness. Like me, you have chosen to be inefficient. You have lavished ...

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