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“Life in a Rural Church,” Part 3 by Pastor Ladena Bough

independencechurch5We’ve touched on a small part of the history of rural churches, but we will look at a little bit more before I regale you with thoughts about our own small facility. While we continue in our day-to-day efforts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, we also believe that a primary for us must be on forging new bonds, and/or strengthening the old ones. In addition, we believe that current and coming changes will call for still more “rechurching” in rural America.

What is meant by the unfamiliar term, “rechurching” is that most rural places have indeed changed over the past half century; that some will need to make changes soon if they are to continue; that many new churches have been born during this half century; and that denominational leaders need to be very intentional about strategizing for the church life of rural America.Let’s consider how all those thousands of rural churches came to be out here in rural America. While each congregation has its own unique story, it is also the product of larger historical forces. To understand their stories one must attend to the larger one. The story features the Christian believer, the local church, the church universal, the community and the nation.

A central issue is how they relate to one another. Here we will focus on church and community relationships.Our own small community at the Independence Church in Stockton, MO, only has about 10 full-time members at this time, but used to hold about 70 members each week. We sometimes have 30 to 60 people a week at times, but we continue even when attendance is only three people on a Sunday morning. We also consider ourselves more than a community. I proudly submit that everyone in attendance becomes family – ones we call by name and hug each and every week, in addition to praying for one another daily. Do you feel that your church and those in it are family? If not, maybe you should look into a rural church. It’s an experience that everyone should enjoy at least once in their walk with Christ. So, sit back and continue reading,and maybe you, too, will find a home with a rural church.

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