My Ministry Setting Is Rural

Your Question:

“How can I best serve in a rural ministry setting?”

The Issues:

Ministry in a rural setting may present possible communication and financial challenges due to the sparce population and the distance between houses and the church.

Scripture Foundation:

“Now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the churches of Macedonia. In the terrible ordeal they suffered, their abundant joy and deep poverty overflowed into rich generosity. For I testify that they gave according to their ability and even beyond it. Of their own accord, they earnestly pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And not only did they do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us, because it was the will of God.”  2 Corinthians 8: 1-5

Short Answer:

Ministry in a rural setting is typically slower and smaller. Rural ministry must be more focused on people than on programs. The needs of the people, the demands of the seasons, and the financial restrictions all demand that those who minister in a rural setting be on their knees about how to minister to those in their area.


As a CM leader, you will probably face more challenges in developing your CM team.  There may be fewer people who are able to commit to being a part of the team, and those who do commit may have more challenges that may prevent them from serving periodically. The wisdom from those who have served in rural settings is that you should “think small, care for the individual, and be patient.”


Since the number of children who enjoy the CM may be small and inconsistent, you would be wise to have “contingency plans” for groups that are too small or too large. A smaller rural CM may not be able to have graded classes for the children.  You might be wise to offer a nursery, a “toddler” area (young children who are just walking), a preschool area, and a large group area with all the other older children. The complications of this limited setting is that you might have first graders together with sixth graders.  This would probably be okay with the first graders, but the sixth graders may not like being together with little children. A great way to “fix” this demographic issue is to challenge the upper-grade children to “mentor” or be great examples for the younger ones.  Set the upper-grade children as “assistants,” or leaders within the mixed group.  If the upper-grade children understand the concept of “ministering to the little ones,” you will have fewer complaints from them. 


Ministry in rural settings is more open to family events or programs.  All-church “potluck” gatherings with a movie or a program are more popular within a rural community. Scheduling service projects at a nearby family farm or house is also something that works well in a rural setting.  Encouraging the families to join together in accomplishing a gardening or maintenance project for a local family is a wonderful way to let people be “busy with the gospel.”  Providing a meal and maybe even a fun program afterward is a great way to build community. 


There is a great article written by Daniel Stegeman about ministering in a rural setting.  Here is a link to the article on “The Gospel” page: “5 Things I Love About Rural Ministry.” If the link doesn’t work, download the article by clicking here.  For more help in understanding the setting of the children’s ministry, click on the APPENDIX link below.

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