Thriving Rural Communities, in cooperation with Mt. Olive College and several local ecumenical organizations, is sponsoring a gathering of clergy and laity in North Carolina to explore the shape of Christian community and the nature of Christian mission in our small-town, rural context.
If you are like me, odds are you’ve never heard of Cowboy Church. Just linking those two words bring to mind all sorts of images. What are you imagining?
I first learned about Cowboy Church from a family in my congregation, one that has been a source of incredible support for me as I have transitioned to Davidson County and Shiloh UMC. I can’t recall how many invitations I politely declined before I finally attended, but I can tell you that my Thursday nights with High Rock Cowboy Church has been an unexpected source of joy and fellowship over the past months.
Some might think that the term "vital congregations" applies only to large churches. But interestingly, about 64 percent of United Methodist churches have 175 or fewer members, and many of these congregations are thriving.
In an article in the United Methodist Reporter, Mallory McCall discusses the factors that enable small-membership churches to be just as effective as their megachurch counterparts. Be sure to check it out.
An audio recording of this month’s Rural Ministry Colloquium, Evangelism for the Rural Church, is now available for download via iTunes U.
Hear Tim Reaves, a Duke Divinity School graduate and lead pastor of the thriving, three-point Bladen United Methodist Charge in rural eastern North Carolina, speak about practical, faithful, and fruitful ways for small churches to share Christ with their communities.
Her first response to the gift of new life was to burst into tears.
Moments before, the heavens had been ripped open for her. Light flooded in. She found herself transported into a whole new world: the dark, comfortable existence of the past was left behind in an instant. Everything, everything was suddenly unfamiliar.
She started to cry – a mixed wail of anger and fear. Little rivulets of tears tumbled down her cheeks. She gasped and struggled to breathe.
“For though I am free with respect to all,I have made myself a servant to all,so that I might win more of them.To those under the law I became as one under the law . . . so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law . . .I became as one outside the law so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak,so that I might win the weak.I have become all things to all people,that I might by all means save some.I do it all for the sake of the gospel,so that I may share in its blessings.” — I Corinthians 9: 20-23