Re-imagining Rural Ministry Forum discussion

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At our Devon Churches Forum Meeting on 16th November 2017, our main item was a discussion on "Re-imagining Rural Ministry".

The following is a summary and you can download the full discussion here

If you would like to follow up any items, or have comments or ideas to add, please email and we will pass them on to the groups taking this work forward.

  • There is commonality in the new and emerging models of rural ministry and mission from our different denominations, in the UK and around the world, and all have at their heart the need for all God’s people to work together as one body to serve their communities and for everyone’s gifts to be recognised and enabled.
  • The shape of the local church will be in and of its local community and will hold within itself all the gifts it needs.
  • It is important to note that new models are not only necessary as a result of finite resources but are about being the church and using the resources, gifts and talents we have all been given, as we are called by the Holy Spirit.
  • This has implications for our ecclesiology including questions about the role of the ordained.
  • Rural ministry is exciting, cutting edge, different from other contexts and needs particular training. We don’t always advertise it as such!
  • In practical terms, centralising and sharing administrative functions at an appropriate level within the church structures would help immensely to release both clergy and congregations for mission and ministry.
  • Church structures will need to be changed to support new emerging models.
  • Locally based training and enabling is vital.
  • Working ecumenically and with other partners (church based and secular) is part of the new way forward in calling forth the gifts of the whole community.
  • New resources are emerging to support, and a welcome emphasis is being placed on, the ministry of all believers taking place in homes, workplaces and leisure activities.
  • It takes time for shared conversations to lead to local ownership of new models – working with churches well before clergy retire or are not replaced is essential.
  • Pilots and experiments in new models of ministry should be theologically resourced.
  • A DCRF conference on “Re-imagining models of rural ministry” will be planned for later in 2018.


Rev’d P J Dobbin, Secretary DCRF, December 2017