Forty years ago if people said they wanted to go serve in Africa, others would slapping them on the back and telling them how great it was. They’d be offered generous prayer and financial support.
Today, if someone graduates from seminary and says they want to serve in rural America, they are pulled aside and told not to throw their life away. And if they try to raise money, they hear from others, “Why do you need money? Everything is fine out there!”
There are many assumptions about rural churches that are simply incorrect. Reality in rural areas is very different from the idyllic images a lot of us have. Typically when people think of rural areas they see a picture of people sitting on their front porch, never needing to lock their doors, always getting along, taking care of each other, and churches that are packed full every Sunday.
It is a beautiful myth, but that’s all it really ever was. The percentage of people attending church is actually slightly lower in rural than urban areas. These areas have now become a kind of an undiscovered country with poverty, addiction, loneliness and heartache.