I. The rural church is not a body that changes quickly. This is a good and right thing. The church should be slow to change: it should take its time to discern, with the patience of the ages, between what changes are of God and which are merely transient, passing fads. Part of the strength of the rural church is its ‘everlasting’ quality, its ability to hold onto the anchor of ancient truth and tradition amid the ebbs and flows of its surrounding culture. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
(The following piece was submitted by Rev. Duncan Martin, pastor at Antioch-Oak Grove UMC in King, NC. Duncan is a former Rural Ministry Fellow at Duke Divinity School.)
Earlier this week I led a United Methodist District Lay Leadership workshop on Small and Rural Church Ministries. To begin the session, I asked each person to introduce themselves and then tell me about something that their church struggled with, something that they hoped to learn about or take away from our time together.
Twenty-five times, this is what I heard: