Responding to the need for a new vision of evangelism for small towns and rural areas, Kevin Ruffcorn presents lively suggestions and new understandings gleaned from his workshops on rural evangelism and his own experience. He emphasizes that the vision of evangelism held by those in suburbia and other well-populated neighborhoods usually does not fit rural settings. The author looks at the possibilities and the problems typical of less densely populated areas, reviewing some concerns many of them experience: Small memberships, frequent turnover of pastors, decreasing population of surrounding communities and the challenge of facilitating needed changes.
Evangelism needs to emphasize faithfulness to God’s call to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, using the talents and resources available. A broader understanding can free congregations to dream big dreams and to see new possibilities. They do not need to feel compelled to evaluate their efforts in terms of large increases in membership. Rather, says Pastor Ruffcorn, such congregations can emphasize both inward and outward aspects of nurturing their own members and reaching out to their neighbors. This can be done by words and through actions in an intentional and relational manner.