What is rural?

This blog is dedicated to helping those involved in rural ministry, but what exactly do I mean by “rural”?  This word can mean different things to different people.  I don’t think anyone would argue that where I live and minister is rural.  Liberty Pennsylvania has a population of about 280 people and is 25 minutes from the closest stoplight.  Yep, there’s no doubt that I’m rural – but what about bigger towns?  How big does a town have to get before it is no longer considered rural?  I’m not so sure that “rural” is a certain size as much as it is a mindset.  If you think you are in a rural area, then you probably are.

To help you get the idea of “rural” here’s a list of indicators that you might be in a rural church – some I found online, some are my own

You know you’re in a Rural Church if:

  • The doors are never locked
  • There are more 4 wheel drive vehicles in the parking lot than cars
  • The Preacher says, “I’d like to ask Bubba to help take up the offering” — and five guys stand up
  • Opening day of deer season and trout season are recognized as official church holidays
  • Never in its entire 100-year history has one of its pastors had to buy any vegetables
  • There is always at least one person wearing camouflage every Sunday
  • If the pastor puts his car in a ditch 3 miles outside of town word gets back before he does
  • Prayers regarding the weather are a standard part of every worship service
  • The men’s ministry takes regular trips to the Bass Pro shop
  • The church directory doesn’t have last names
  • The pastor wears boots
  • More than one member has a “Skoal ring” on the back pocket of his jeans
  • Four generations of one family sit together in worship every Sunday
  • The only time people lock their cars in the parking lot is during the summer and then only so their neighbors can’t leave them a bag of squash
  • There is no such thing as a “secret” sin
  • Finding and returning lost sheep is not just a parable
  • You miss worship one Sunday morning and by 2 o’clock that afternoon you have had a dozen phone calls inquiring about your health
  • The premier men’s clothing store is Tractor Supply

Do you have anything to add to this list?  What does “rural” mean to you?  Leave a comment below

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One Comment on “What is rural?”

  1. Dan Rockwell Says:

    Love this post…you are hilarious!

    You know you are in a rural church if the leader of the ladies mission circle is the real leader at the church.

    Best,

    Dan


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