ABC’s of Rural Ministry

abc_blocksI get asked by some that have never lived in a Rural area what it is like to serve in Rural Youth Ministry. I love it. I also understand that not everyone is wired the way I am. Here is a short list of some of the things those of us in Rural Youth Ministry encounter on an everyday basis:

A- Alpacas that you feed for a church member in the hospital, and church members help to shear the wool off of, while that church member is recovering…

B- Buggies full of Amish people on the highway (our version of a traffic jam).

C- Covered Bridges are the #1 tourism draw for my area. (see

D- Deer Season Opening day may as well be a State Holiday, because your schools will be 1/3 of normal attendance

E- Eagles (the birds, not the band) visit our area in January and February, and it is kind of a big deal.

F- Festivals for anything you could imagine (and some things you can’t)

G- Gardens can be as big as you choose to deal with.

H- Help. There is just something about a small rural community that comes together to help one of their own.

I- Insurance is insanely expensive in my county due to super-high cancer rates (Agricultural and Industrial run-off into the river that is the main water source for the area).

J- Jails with “character”. I recently visited a community that was founded in the 1820’s that decided to build a jail in 1873. It was one room. The old jail in my community is now a bed and breakfast…

K- Keeping things how they “used to be” is a bigger deal in many rural communities than we can imagine.

L- Lovers lane. Every community has its own remote spot that teenagers gravitate to…

M-Mice WILL be in your house, if there are no cats around (feral or domesticated).

N- “New” is treated as a dirty word, in many situations.

O-Open spaces.

P- Pastor is used mostly as a term of respect around town.

Q- Quail is one of the many things you hunt and eat here…

R- Rattlesnake baby or king snake baby? They look alike, but make sure you make the right identification…

S- Sunrises and sunsets. I am aware that these happen everywhere. However, some of the most beautiful ones I have seen have been in rural areas.

T- Tires taller than your head are on many pickup trucks in your town…

U- Uppity. I hear this word used more often than I can count.
V- Verizon. Through a combination of buyouts and dumb luck, Verizon has managed to have coverage in a lot of rura areas in the US. Just not the county where I live.

W- Wealth is often defined in different terms than just money. It could be land, herd size, or something else.

X-X-rays that are at the nearest hospital…45 minutes away.

Y- Yellow-belly catfish freshly caught, breaded in a frying pan. (Don’t hate until you’ve tried it.)

Z- Zipper breaks on your favorite Carhartt Bibs? I know a guy that can get it fixed.

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