Rural congregations represent more than half of the congregations in our Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA). This means the health and vitality of these congregations is of significant importance to the church as a whole. Rural congregations matter! They are the church!
Like individual raindrops that fall on the fields of North Dakota, each congregation has a unique context and place. Dozens of factors contribute to the look and feel of a particular congregation in a particular place. The age of the congregation; its history and ethnic background; the gifts of its present members; the community where it is planted; the focus of the community in terms of jobs and economy; the length of pastorates; and whether it's a single-point or multi-point parish are just some of the influences that gives a congregation its orientation and character. A key to fruitful ministry is acknowledging, celebrating, and using the gifts of a congregation's place and its people.
We value and celebrate rural ministry in our synod and seek ways to come along side to encourage and support the congregational vitality of all STaR (small town and rural) congregations in our synod.