Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry

Links to resources for faith-based rural ministry and community development

This page is updated regularly. Check for new links or send in suggestions of your own to us.  Let us know if you find a dead link (click here).

 

   Rural Church Networks | Rural Leadership Training | Aboriginal Resources | Community Development Resources | Rural Centres | Worship Resources | Food | Ecology and Environment | Rural Culture and Economics | Rural History | Denominational Rural Fellowships | International Rural News | Faith-based Rural Outreach| Schools

 

Rural Church Networks  

  • Canadian Rural Church Network (CRCN) - Associated with the International Rural Church Association, this ecumenical network seeks to use the internet to link rural churches, sharing stories, affirming the Church's role at the heart of small communities, supporting each other and advocating on behalf of rural perspectives.  Check out their newsletter!
  • Centre for Rural Mission. The United Kingdom's Rural Evangelism Network. It brings together the most experienced rural evangelists, researchers, writers and teachers on rural evangelism from across the Churches and mission agencies.
  • Faith-Based Regeneration Network.  This is an inter-faith network in the UK that helps faith groups learn from each other as they try to help their rural communities regenerate. 
  • International Rural Churches Association (IRCA). The IRCA is a network of people whose vision is to become a voice for the rural community worldwide and to encourage sustainable rural communities and practices.
  • Rural Church Pastors Network (RCPN). The RCPN, founded by the Christian & Missionary Alliance Western Canadian District, invites clergy to join this network to support and encourage rural clergy across Alberta.
  • Rural Shepherds Network.  Particularly focuses on support for rural mission work. 
  • Smaller Churches Network. A ministry among congregations that average 100 or fewer in weekly worship services. Their website provides discussion and links to various resources related to rural church issues.
  • Small Town and Rural (STaR) Ministry Alliance.  This is part of the Rural Ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  It helps rural churches to form clusters to communicate around a common issue.  Also holds rural ministry conferences.

  

Rural Ministry Resource Portals  

  

Rural Leadership Training  

  •  Center for Theology and Land.  This is an American Center located in a Lutheran seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.  It offers theological training for rural clergy and lay leaders as well as some worship and other ministry resources.
  • Glyndwr University Professional Doctorate in Religion and Education (DMin). This innovative professional doctorate programme is designed to enhance the skills of practitioners in faith-based and religion-related education. It is a research-based programme that takes into account the diverse professional development needs of religious educators in both faith-based and secular fields. It gives you opportunity to work towards a research-led qualification within a professional context.
  • Luther Seminary in St Paul MN educates leaders for Christian communities. The seminary has  a DMin program in Congregational Mission and Leadership that is specifically geared in part to denominational executives though not necessarily focused on rural ministry. The academic catalogue may be found at http://www.luthersem.edu/catalog/.
  • North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIIT). NAIIT exists to address topics of present concerns in Native North American ministry and mission. Through symposiums, publishing and dialogue, the Institute seeks to bring together men and women of varied experience and background in mission and ministry from within the mainstream of evangelical Christian faith, intentionally providing a forum for the development of biblical and theological thought from with Native North American points of view.
  • Queen's Theological College, Rural Ministry Program.  This program in Kingston, Ontario offers several courses in rural culture and ministry for seminarians, rural clergy and lay leaders.  Every two years they host the Alex Sim Rural Ministry Conference. 
  • Rural Justified. This website is all about honoring the human faces and personal dignity of the millions of people who have lived and worked in rural communities and cultures. Author and educator, Marvin Lee Anderson, offers an array of educational opportunities on congregational leadership and ministry.
  • Rural Ontario Institute is a nonprofit charity focused on developing and supporting leadership for a strong and vibrant rural Ontario. The institute offers a number of capacity-building opportunities for people and organizations in rural Ontario.
  • Thiriving Rural Communities is a partnership of Duke Divinity School. The Thriving Rural Communities Initiative works to foster thriving rural North Carolina communities by cultivating faithful rural Christian leadership and fruitful rural United Methodist congregations.
  • Town and Country Training (TACT). TACT is a training program of the Rural Home Missionary Association (RHMA) (Illinois USA). Its purpose is two-fold: to plant and to strengthen churches in small-town America (usually towns of 5,000 or less). Courses provide an overview of town and country ministry, examine how common pastoral tasks are shaped by the town and country context, and allow students to research in-depth and present other aspects of town and country ministry of special interest.
  • Town and Country Church Institute in Gettysburg PA is an institute of the Lutheran Theological Seminary that fosters effective ministry in small town and rural congregational settings. TCCI brings the best people and resources to bear on learning, reflection and field experience for persons preparing for ministry and those continuing their education and sharpening skills for ministry.
  • VantagePoint3. VantagePoint3 is an organization that provides churches with a unique approach to discipleship and leadership development. Their processes provide transformative and in-depth programs that help churches invest in the maturing of their adult believers and leaders.

Aboriginal Resources

  • Aboriginal Healing Foundation provides resources which promote reconciliation and encourage and support Aboriginal people and their communities in building and reinforcing sustainable healing processes. Resources include research reports, newsletters, speeches, press releases, residential school resources, etc.
  • First Nations Films presents award-winning educational Aboriginal documentary films and videos for, by and about First Nations people.
  • Kairos Canada - 'The Land Our Life' Resources: Resource materials on Indigenous rights and the impacts of resource extraction on Indegenous lands.
  • North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIIT): NAIIT exists to address topics of present concern in Native North American ministry and mission.
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has a mandate to learn the truth about what happened in Canada's residential schools and to inform all Canadians about what happened in the schools. The Commission is documenting the truth of what happened by relying on records held by those who operated and funded the schools, testimony from officials of the institutions that operated the schools, and experiences reported by survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience and its subsequent impacts.

Community Development Resources

  • Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN). The Alberta Rural Development Network uses the combined expertise of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions to support rural development in Alberta and help rural communities grow through learning.
  • Community Development Handbook and Facilitator's Guide from Human Resources Development Canada
  • Green Light Fundraising. Offers products and services to leaders of community nonprofits that need to raise $50,000 to $500,000 every year.
  •  Government of Alberta Community Development Officers and Resources
  • Interconnections: Sustaining Saskatchewan's Future. Saskatchewan Association for Rural Municipalities (SARM). This newsletter is the result of a joint effort of SUMA, SARM and the Municipal Capacity Development Program (MCDP).  It provides information on sustainable products and services, successful projects that have been implemented in other communities, upcoming workshops, as well as articles on various aspects of sustainability. 
  • Kairos Canada - Canadian churches working together for justice and peace.
  • My People. My People International (MPI) is a faith-based organization focused on developing the full capacity of Native North Americans. Though predominantly comprised of Native people, the staff and board of MPI reflect a strong commitment to Native leadership development in an intercultural setting. Their vision is to train and equip this generation of enterprising and industrious Indigenous leaders in tangible ways - ways that will allow for systemic change for Native North American peoples.
  • North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIIT). NAIIT exists to address topics of present concerns in Native North American ministry and mission. Through symposiums, publishing and dialogue, the Institute seeks to bring together men and women of varied experience and background in mission and ministry from within the mainstream of evangelical Christian faith, intentionally providing a forum for the development of biblical and theological thought from with Native North American points of view.
  • Rural Ontario Institute is a nonprofit charity focused on developing and supporting leadership for a strong and vibrant rural Ontario. The institute offers a number of capacity-building opportunities for people and organizations in rural Ontario.
  • U-Links Centre for Community-Based Research.  This centre helps connect rural communities with professors and students at Trent University in Ontario who can help them do research on their own community.  It assists community organizations, businesses and municipalities in finding out the practical information they need to develop their social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being.

 

Rural Centres 

  • The Arthur Rank Centre.  This is a British Centre that draws an assortment of rural health, development and church related agencies under one roof.  A wide range of on-line resources available!  For example, check out their innovative suggestions for ways of using under-used rural church buildings to help the community .  
  • Rural Development Institute, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba. This prairie centre does research on rural issues.
  • Whitworth Institute for Rural Ministry - This new initiative out of Whitworth University in Spokane aims to provide basic information regarding grant and training opportunities, research findings, schedules for conferences, meetings and events and networking links with other people, organizations, and institutions engaged in rural ministry. 
  • The Institute for Christian Formation and Leadership - Small Churches. This site offers support materials to small congregations in all denominations so that they can enhance and build vital ministries. It contains downloadable bibliographies, book reviews, commentaries, a link to a Facebook group to discuss commentaries, and videos of speakers and workshops. 
  • Rural Women New Zealand serves women of all ages who share an interest in rural life.  The group offers support and friendship for women with an interest in the land and rural issues.

     

Worship Resources 

  • Christian Reformed Church (CRC) "Kid Connection". Kid Connection is a K-6 curriculum designed to meet the unique needs of small Sunday schools and midweek programs.
  • Desperate Preacher's Site. An ecumenical site offering discussion forums and a wide variety of ministry tools (sermons, devotions, humour, etc).
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - Rural Resources, Liturgies and Prayers.
  • The Journal of Worship Resources. A quarterly publication designed to assist worship leaders in their weekly preparation of congregational worship. Each issue includes three sets of liturgical resources composed by different authors for each Sunday.
  • National Catholic Rural Life Conference.    Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the NCRLC offers a number of resources for rural churches, especially worship.  Some of these can be ordered from them, others are available to download (see for example their "Rural Life Prayerbook").  
  • Rural Ministries Worship Resources. Compelled by the Rural Ministries Committee of the Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska (2.58 MB pdf file). This 138 page document contains extensive materials submitted by denominations and persons having an interest in rural celebrations and rituals.
  • St James Music Press. St James makes available twice a year CD-Roms that contain dozens of choral anthems that may be reproduced legally on copy machines. By paying a $79 fee, the church is given permission to make as many copies as it wishes of any or all the titles in each issue. This is especially attractive for small parishes.

     

Food 

  • Augustana Faculty Food Colloquia.   Abstracts and information about colloquia on the subject of food, faith and farming put on this year by the faculty of Augustana College in Camrose, AB 
  • Canadian Foodgrains Bank - The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a Canadian-based Christian organization that helps provide food and development assistance to people in need, on behalf of its 15 Canadian church members. CFB ranks among the largest private food aid providers in the world.
  • FarmOn.com - FarmOn.com is a new site focused on under-35 producers and consumers.  It connects producers to the information, resources and planning they need to sustain the family farm and consumers to the information they need to actively understand where their food comes from and how it is grown. 
  • Food First  - has books, articles, videos and other resources from around the world, looking at the the root causes of hunger and the way in which our global agricultural economy affects producers and consumers on the ground.

 

Ecology and Environment

  • Caring for the Land.  Has some very useful resources for the non-agriculture person who wants to find out more about agriculture.  See especially "The Real Dirt on Farming" under the "Our Resources" section, and  "Farm Lingo" under the "Our Facts" section.
  •  "Eco-congregations" - a UK-based network of churches trying to "green" their buildings, finances, worship and communities.  There are a variety of practical and theological resources.
  • KAIROS Canada.KAIROS Canada promotes Canadian ecumenical justice initiatives and unites Canadian churches and religious organizations in a faithful ecumenical response to the call to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
  • Let All Creation Praise: Resources to celebrate creation-care worship throughout the year.
  • Lutherans Restoring Creation - LRC is a grassroots movement promoting care for creation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Rural Culture and Economics

  • Caring for the Land.  Has some very useful resources for the non-agriculture person who wants to find out more about agriculture.  See especially "The Real Dirt on Farming" under the "Our Resources" section, and  "Farm Lingo" under the "Our Facts" section.
  • Third World Farmer.  This is a wonderful simulation game that helps users to identify the hazards third world farmers face, and to figure out some of the strategies needed to survive and thrive.

 

Ecumenics and Shared Ministries 

  • Prairie Centre for Ecumenism. Located in Saskatoon, SK this centre has a large library of books on ecumenical and interfaith topics. They promote inter-church and interfaith dialogue and cooperation and offer a Summer Ecumenical Institute in June each year on a variety of topics.  Good resources for rural churches that want to work together!

 

Rural History

  • Visit "First Nations Films" website to find award-winning educational Aboriginal documentary films and videos for, by and about First Nations people.

INTERNATIONAL RURAL NEWS

  • Centre for Rural Mission. The United Kingdom's Rural Evangelism Network. It brings together the most experienced rural evangelists, researchers, writers and teachers on rural evangelism from across the Churches and mission agencies.

 

Denominational Rural Fellowships

 

Faith-based Rural Outreach

  • Cameron House.  A Fresh Expression of Church at Cameron House. Cameron House is a women's shelter in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada in partnership with the Rural Outreach Committee and Faithworks Diocese of Toronto.
  • Village Missions. Village Missions helps struggling rural churches in Canada by placing full-time missionary-pastors in rural communities to help build effective Bible churches that reach their communities for Christ. The missionary pastor becomes an integral part of community life, winning the friendship and confidence of the people.

Schools

  • Saskatoon Theological Union (STU). The STU is an association of three theological education colleges on the University of Saskatchewan campus, formed to facilitate a cooperative and ecumenical approach to the task of theological education. The three STU colleges are: College of Emmanuel and St. Chad (Anglican Church of Canada), St. Andrew's College (United Church of Canada), and Lutheran Theological Seminary (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada).
  • Virginia Theological Seminary. This seminary, located in Alexandria, Virgina, hosts an e-resource guide called Small Churches - Big Ideas. This monthly mailing and web page, www.vts.edu/smallchurches, are an attempt to reach the thousands of small-church clergy and lay leaders who are looking for resources to enhance the health of their congregations. They are not meant to be denominationally or theologically specific, nor are these resources only for clergy. They are meant to be useful to all who work with, pray for, and love the small church.