February 27, 2014

Rural sociology Professor Dave Ruesink grew up in Michigan, and is now at College Station, TX, part of Presbyterian Church. He knows that more than half of seminary graduates go to rural areas for their first fulltime appointments, and there they often experience culture shock.

“One of the big differences is that in rural areas, people are more relational,” Ruesink said. He knew of one pastor who was having a very difficult time initially. He learned that much of what he was requiring contracts for could be done with a handshake. After a rocky start, his small town later named him citizen of the year.

Ruesink said that in the suburbs, people are known for one thing – the role they play, such as the doctor or librarian. In a rural area, people are known as the whole. You see the town dentist at the pool, with his kids at soccer practice, and at neighborhood events. People tend to know the all about each other’s lives, not just a narrow role that they play.

Rural Church Network:
www.ruralchurchnetwork.org

Texas Rural Leadership Program:
trlp.tamu.edu