Community Engagement and the Rural Church

. 1 min read
Volunteers chopping wood
… This presents an amazing opportunity for the rural church
to engage and strengthen the wider community, which in turn strengthens the

One example I’ve encountered is Cullowhee United Methodist
Church, a partner church in the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative. It sits
on the side of a mountain in Jackson County, where 20 percent of the 40,000
people live in poverty. Though it likely will never be a megachurch, Cullowhee
UMC is viable, with two morning services and an average worship attendance of
just over 260.
The Rev. David Reeves, the senior pastor, is not one to dole
out leadership advice. In one of my earliest conversations with him, I asked
what made Cullowhee such a good church. With a grin, he said, “I don’t know.
You just sort of have to show up. Just be there and listen.”
So I did. And I’d like to share what I saw and heard that
make this congregation a model for leadership.