Build a virtual ministry. Although you may be isolated geographically, you can use technology such as satellites, web streaming, and DVDs to broadcast your church's messages to people throughout the world. You can also work with sites like GlobalMediaOutreach.com to connect the people in your church with seekers around the world who want to e-mail Christians for conversations and prayer. Even if the number of people who physically attend your church's worship services is small, you can reach many more virtually and work with them - one person at a time - to help them grow.

Join other rural churches near you to work together. Share encouragement, wisdom, and resources with other churches in your rural community, since you can accomplish much more for God's kingdom together than you can separately. Pray against attitudes of competition and possessiveness, and ask God to help you see each other as He does - part of the same spiritual family - and to work together well.

Adapted from Transforming Church in Rural America, copyright 2010 by Shannon O'Dell. Published by New Leaf Publishing Group, a division of New Leaf Press, Green Forest, Ark. www.newleafpublishinggroup.com.
Shannon O'Dell passionately seeks to inspire his growing multi-campus church to give God only the very best. Committed to reaching out to struggling churches in rural areas around the country and the world, he has served as senior pastor for Brand New Church in the small community of Bergman, Arkansas for more than six years. He is a former youth pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, Oklahoma. He is married to wife Cindy, and the couple has four children.

Original publication date: July 16, 2010