Rural and Small Church (i)

Most of these articles below were written while at the Home Mission Board, but some since. Those related to the Wal-Marting of rural America have been widely reprinted and have had an impact on rural church work. I attempted to interpret changes in the rural context and suggested what the churches might do to respond.

10 Major Issues for Christian Folk in a Small Town : Small town ministry is challenging. It demands creative and committed persons. People who are both Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) and Great Command (Matt. 22:37-40) persons…

10 Successful Country Churches Revisited : In 1922 the Sunday School Board and the Home Mission Board did a major study of the 20,000 village and country Southern Baptist congregations. From these, ten were selected (as representative of the most effective rural churches) for a special in-depth survey. When I discovered this publication, I began wondering, “whatever happened to . . . ? With the help of directors of associational missions, I found out.

15 Steps for Leading a Stable Rural Church off the Plateau : Many ministers are ill-prepared to lead a small rural or village church. The new pastor comes to the pastorate with one set of expectations and understandings and finds a church with a different set. The stage is set for conflict and hurt. You do not want this. The church does not need it. May I suggest some steps you might take in discovering the inner life of the smaller membership church you serve?

20 Changes in Rural Baptist Churches Since 1945 : As observed by Gary Farley of the Center for Rural Church Leadership

Some Things They Forgot to Tell Me (or Maybe I Failed to Hear) in the Seminary about My Church : The material that follows is drawn from experiences and reflections upon more than a decade of experience as a bivocational pastor in rural and village settings, discussions and interviews with many who serve in this setting, and from reading and hearing the insights of close observers of small churches such as Carl Dudley, Lyle Schaller, and Garland Hendricks.

For Smaller-Membership Churches : Recently, I was privileged to attend a training offered by Lyle Schaller on doing consultations with congregations. What follows is my effort to summarize the points that he made as applied to smaller membership churches…

A Dozen or More Important Learnings about Rural Church Life : 1. There are two basic ecclesiologies: Western European Heritage. and Made In America…

Aliceville : Often I have been asked, “What is the difference between large suburban and small rural churches?” The answer came to me one Sunday about a year ago as I looked out over the congregation of Aliceville Baptist Church…

The Smaller Church and its ‘Annual Event’ : As the first fingers of light began to streak the eastern sky, from the vantage point of the top of the cemetery hill in the Shady Grove community, one could observe a steady stream of automobiles and farm trucks coming from both directions along state route 37. Soon the parking lot was filled and overflowed. Little knots of people carefully made their way to the brow of the hill, visiting in hushed tones.

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