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Changing face of rural ministry

An honest look at troubling realities and hopeful signs in America’s heartland.

Alex Joyner is Superintendent of the Eastern Shore District of The United Methodist church in the Virginia Conference. Reflecting on the area in which he lives and ministers, he says that rural America is in “a season of change.”

Joyner observes, “Churches are also adapting to this changing landscape. Particularly in mainline Protestant churches, decreasing budgets and diminished worship attendance are pushing congregations to explore new models of rural ministry.”

While there is “no playbook” he finds pastors who are “equippers” are making a difference. Joyner concludes, “Those of us who live in and love rural places know how unique they are. God speaks through them still.”

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