Thriving Rural Communities offers a variety of programs designed to help divinity students, pastors, laity, and districts and conferences share and strengthen the gifts found in rural North Carolina.

To learn more about these programs or to discuss an emerging need in your church, please contact us.

Convocation on the Rural Church

During this annual three-day gathering, rural clergy address the issues of rural ministry, strengthen one another through fellowship, and enjoy Sabbath time away.

Rural Ministry Fellowship Program

A scholarship and enrichment program for Duke Divinity students who exhibit the gifts, passion, and signs of a calling to ordained leadership in rural United Methodist churches in North Carolina.

Mustard Seed Movement

Groups of 12 rural clergy and laity meet for one half-day a month for nine months to reaffirm the goodness and significance of service to Christ in the rural church.  Members of each group support and empower each other for more fruitful servant leadership through the study of Scripture, shared discernment and listening, prayer, and fellowship. 

Rural Ministry Colloquia

Monthly lunch-time discussions at Duke Divinity School on issues related to rural life or ministry, led by guest pastors, scholars, laypeople, or practitioners.  


A  10-day journey undertaken in the summer by United Methodist students, faculty, staff, and pastors seeking to worship with members of another culture and broaden the relationship between the Divinity School and Mexico’s Methodist Church.

Workshops, Preaching, and Speaking Opportunities

Rev. Brad Thie, Director of Thriving Rural Communities, is available to share some of the insights gained from the initiative through preaching, Bible studies, workshops, seminars, and conferences.