Rural Church Planting Prepared and presented by: Steve Nerger Manager, Strategic Places Church Planting Group North American Mission Board Portions taken from “No Little Places” by Klassen
Big Church Service “DREAM”
Little Church Service “REALITY”
Big Office “DREAM”
Office at Home “REALITY”
We will talk about: • The need for church planting in rural North America • The myths of church planting and how they affect rural church planting • Answer the question, “can small be significant?” • Current trends in rural America
We will talk about: • Bridging and building upon the small town culture • Leadership styles in rural America • Methods and strategies to reach rural communities
The Lostness of Rural America • A population of 2,500 to 50,000 will be labeled an urban cluster • Any population that is basically 2,500 or less is considered rural • Let’s look at the definitions:
Urban Clusters U.S. Census definition of Urban Cluster: “Consists of a geographic core of block groups or blocks must have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile, and adjacent block groups and blocks with at least 500 people per square mile that together encompass a population of at least 2,500 people, but fewer than 50,000 people.”
Rural U.S. Census definition of Rural: “All Territory, population, and housing units located outside of urbanized areas and urban clusters.”
Rural Population • In America today it is estimated that 53,000,000 people live in rural communities • In Canada today there are approximately 20,000,000 people living in rural communities. • The population growth in rural areas can be tied partially to recreation and tourism. • Rural areas are also growing in ethnic diversity.
Rural Population • There are currently 436 counties in America where there is no Southern Baptist church • There are thousands of places in North America without any evangelical work • Let’s look on the map
Churches in the United States • 8 churches close in the United States each day. • 6 churches are started in the United States each day. • 4.5 of those new church starts are Southern Baptist churches. • There are churches of many denominations which close each day all across rural North America. • Each closing leaves a group of people who are sensitive to God without a leader.
LOSTNESS United States Population: 301,339,050 (Source: U.S. Census as of 9:30am on Friday, March 9, 2007) God’s glory among all peoples.
LOSTNESS Canada Population: 32,730,213 (Source: Statistics Canada as of 9:30am on Friday, March 9, 2007) God’s glory among all peoples.
LOSTNESS Population of North America: 334,069,263 What percentage are lost? God’s glory among all peoples.
LOSTNESS Population of North America: 334,069,263 50% = 167,034,632 The SBC reported371,850 baptisms in 2005 God’s glory among all peoples.
LOSTNESS In North America 371,850 SBC baptisms estimated 167,034,632 lost people If 50% are lost … SBC baptisms represent 0.22% God’s glory among all peoples.
LOSTNESS In the United States there is: One birth every 8 seconds One death every 13 seconds One international immigrant (net) every 31 seconds Net gain of one person every 11 seconds(or 2,866,909 per year) Source: U.S. Census God’s glory among all peoples.
LOSTNESS United States and Canada combined 303 people die every hour 7,272 people die every day 2,656,098 people die every year God’s glory among all peoples.
LOSTNESS United States and Canada combined: 303 people die every hour 7,272 people die every day 2,656,098 people die every year Over 20,500 will die between nowand when you return to school on Monday. God’s glory among all peoples.
Reaching Rural America • Rural America represents 1/6 of our total population (about 53 million people). • Approximately 2/3 of Canada is rural (or 21 million people). • The population growth in rural areas can be tied partially to recreation and tourism. • Rural areas are also growing in ethnic diversity.
Reaching Rural America • Question: How many people do you know that are willing to invest their lives in a small community where there is no recognition? • How many would graduate from seminary and give their lives to a few who may never hear the gospel from a person?
Rural Ministry • Let’s look at the reasons that very few will ever consider the rural ministry. • Let’s look at the wheels at work that deny consideration for rural ministry.
Mythbusters Who Says? “That BIGGER is BETTER andBIGGEST is BEST” Answer: “We do!”
The “Numbers” Myth To be significant a ministry must be BIG! Or as we often see it: “With a large church, I will feel successful! “If a church is small, I’ll feel like I’m failing.”
The “Big Place” Myth To be significant a ministry must be in a BIG PLACE! Or as we often see it: “No matter where I go, if I choose rural ministry I will still have to eventually say to people that I have 30 people in a town of 1,000 somewhere out in the boondocks.”