Reaching and Revitalizing Rural America: Overcoming Misconceptions, and Answering the Call (Part 3)

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I recently wrote an article for Influence magazine with Tena Stone. Tena is director of research and training at OneHope, serves as a primary researcher for the Rural Matters Task Force in North America, and is part of a church plant in rural Georgia. It’s worth sharing here. God is on the move in rural communities, and it’s past time we acknowledge it and celebrate the work so many in rural ministry are doing. In Part 1, we gave an overview of the realities and talk about cultural homogeneity. In Part 2, we talked about two more misconceptions about rural America. Today, we conclude with models of hope.

Multiple voices have articulated a burden for this area, and they are no longer distant and inaudible. Many of these leaders grew up in rural areas and have answered God’s call to return and minister there.

Centuries - Church - Body - Christ - Sheer

For centuries, the rural church has been isolated and insulated from the greater Body of Christ by the sheer realities of geography. Those days are gone. There’s absolutely no reason that we cannot be networking together as leaders — those who are resisting the urge to settle — by sharing resources, encouragement, wisdom, and vision. We do not have to do it alone anymore; together we can do so much more and do it so much better.

O’Dell pastors a church in Bergman, Arkansas, population 407. His church is now the hub of a rural church network spanning 13 facilities throughout Arkansas and Texas, with another campus in Russia.

Pastor - Jon - Sanders - Church - Planter

Pastor Jon Sanders is another church planter and pastor who’s waving the flag for rural ministry and church planting. In April 2009, he and his family left Peoria, Illinois, to launch a ministry in Flandreau, South Dakota. That year, Jon received a call from God to reproduce life-giving churches in rural...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer
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