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June 2023 Newsletter

2023 Report on Rural Ministry: What Leaders and Stakeholders Should Know

Director, Dr. Trisha Wheelock








Research and evaluation are important components of Moses Project planning. Each Fall, a Grand View faculty member interviews all in-coming pastors and writes a preliminary report. At the May Celebration, final interviews are conducted. The following is a summary of data, pastoral strengths and areas of growth. The majority of Moses Pastors continue to experience a renewed sense of call and joy at serving in rural places. 

Highlights from Grand View’s evaluator:

  • ½ of pastors raised in urban or suburban areas

  • ½ raised in rural areas

  • 5 participants have spouses also serving in ministry

Strengths related to rural ministry:

  • Impact of rural roots

  • Conveying the worth of rural ministry

  • Connecting to people

  • Strong preaching and teaching skills

Challenges in rural ministry:

  • Resistance to change

  • Responding to difficult people

  • Being an outsider

  • Loneliness and isolation

  • Political views

  • Lingering effects of the pandemic

Expectations for involvement in the Moses Project:

  • Gain ideas

  • Experience collegiality

  • Focus on rural ministry

  • Gain clarity of call

  • Reinvigoration

New strengths as a pastor after completing the Moses Project:

  • Resilience

  • Improved confidence

  • Clarity of call and pastoral identity

  • Developing a deeper understanding of rural ministry and appreciation for

  • Sense of belonging

Areas for growth for the Moses Project:

  • pastors want resources to equip other people so they aren’t the only ones working

  • pastors struggle to find work-life balance and want to stop overworking


Burnout continues to be a concern for pastors, but time to reflect, relax, and experience support help pastors manage the stress and workload. Pastors are looking for opportunities for their congregations to engage in the ministry of the church. Here are a few final quotes from pastors.

The Moses Project is a “rare gift in the church world and in the continuing ed world.” Another pastor said, “It’s just an eye-opening experience because it’s practical learning.” 

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