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Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church

By Michael Beck

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DATE: Thursday, August 25, 2022
5:30 p.m. CDT

The people who find life and community within rural places often feel ignored.

Has the rural church been forgotten? Has urbanization made life outside the sprawl irrelevant? How has the COVID pandemic changed these realities? Can rural congregations struggling to survive find hope and new life? If so, can healthy rural churches actually catalyze a different future for their declining communities and, possibly, the world?

Circuit riders crisscrossed what was for them a new frontier, planting churches across the landscape of the United States. They shared the story of Jesus with whoever would listen, leaving in their wake a constellation of new Christian communities, many of those located in rural areas.

Those congregations became the centerpiece of rural life for a time. They were the places where people gathered not only on Sundays to hear a sermon, but at other times to help one another work the land, break bread, and form deep relationships. The rural church was the place where they found a community that could sustain them through the joys and struggles of life. In many ways, the rural church captured a core essence of the church’s mission: to be the guiding hand to the life of a place.

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Tyler Kleeberger

Tyler Kleeberger thinks so. Tyler is the pastor of Farmhouse Sabbath in Metamora, Ohio. He has discovered the potential and beauty of life and faith in the rural setting. In a declining rural community, he has found ways to cultivate a “fresh expression of church” with people who call rural simply . . . home.

Tyler is my coauthor of a new book being released in August, Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church. In the book, we collect stories from a diversity of rural contexts across the U.S. The book lays out a fresh theology for rural life and offers principles for harnessing the potential of what some consider the forgotten spaces. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn from Tyler in this month’s free webinar! Get your team registered here:

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