Rural North America needs Jesus.
For many, particularly in the news media, Donald Trump has put a focus on rural America—specifically, white rural America. And, for many of us, our stereotypes prevail when we consider ‘rural America.’
Regardless, the fact is that we may be at a kairos moment in rural church North America. Rural churches are at a crossroads. They are facing a generational shift, which, if not navigated well and led by the Spirit, will lead to the dying of many churches.
Many denominations, networks, and pastors of large mission-sending churches today have taken rural America off their radar, choosing instead to focus on urban centers. Don’t misunderstand, it makes sense for denominations and networks to focus on cities, where the per capita population can produce the greater return for our investment of outreach and ministry resources. When we look at the Apostle Paul, he too seemed to have a strategy which centered on larger urban centers.
Yet, we can do more than just urban. However, by all outward appearances, many seemed to have left their strategy books for rural churches on a dusty shelf. But that’s not necessarily the case and, I would advise, should not be the case. The good news is that we can do both (and more). And Paul likely did minister to people in non-urban settings.
I, too, care deeply about the rural churches, and so should you.
According to a PBS article, 46.2 million people (roughly 15% of the U.S. population) reside in rural America. That is 46 million people who have been, or who can be, impacted by the gospel.
In most places of the world, there is a higher proportion of people who are Christian in rural areas than in urban centers. How are we caring for them and equipping them for their mission …