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Rural Church Institute

Providing support, learning, and community for churches ministering in non-urban contexts.

0 + million

people, or one in five Americans, live in rural America.

A movement is emerging to plant, resource, and multiply life-giving, spirit-filled ministries in rural America.

As more people and resources move to urban settings, the rural heartland has gradually become under-resourced, overlooked, and often forgotten. Mainstream church-planting resources are often not helpful. Rural church-planting strategies are markedly different from strategies in any other context.

RMI is a community for pastors and Christian leaders serving in non-urban contexts that was created to provide support, learning, and community for those working in non-urban contexts in North America and around the world.


The term “rural” means different things to different people. For many, it evokes images of farmlands and pastoral landscapes. For our purposes, we define rural based on the official Census Bureau classification. What is urban and what is rural is defined after each decennial census using specific criteria related to population thresholds, density, distance and land use.

In general, rural areas are sparsely populated, have low housing density, and are far from urban centers. Urban areas make up only 3 percent of the entire land area of the country but are home to more than 80 percent of the population. Conversely, 97 percent of the country’s land mass is rural but only 19.3 percent of the population lives there.

Want to Learn More?

if you are a pastor or church leader in rural America, contact us today for more information on the Rural Matters Institute.

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