Kansas author talks about future of rural churches
MOUNDRIDGE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas pastor has written a book that focuses on what rural churches can and must do to stay alive.
The Hutchinson News reports that Brad Roth is a pastor at West Zion Mennonite Church in Moundridge. He says his experiences in rural settings and his career in ministry led him to write his first book, “God’s Country: Faith, Hope and the Future of the Rural Church.”
“I do like being a rural pastor,” Roth said. “I love ministry in general; getting to dive into the scriptures each week and teaching, getting to be with people at such sacred places in their lives — birth and death, but also all these moments in between that we experience.”
Roth said the way for rural churches to thrive is to make sure the community surrounding it thrives too. He said this is the case because rural churches are located in areas without a continual influx of new residents.
“The role of church has to be one of looking out for the well-being of the whole community,” he said.
Roth emphasized church involvement in the community, including through nonprofits. He said it’s vital for churches to involve themselves into the lives of communities.
“This is true in urban and suburban churches, but I think it’s more pronounced in the rural church because there is less of a population,” Roth said. “If you are not really involved in Kansas City, in some ways, they’re not going to notice that as much. In a town of 0 people, there’s one church in town; so if that pastor is not out and about, that’s obvious.”
Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com