The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Pioneering on the prairie

North Dakota parish unites congregations without destroying their identity

"Our pastors move on after two or three years."

"Out here in the country I feel isolated from other pastors."

"Our pastor was good with older people, not so good with younger ones."

"Will we be able to afford a pastor?"

These comments are common in rural congregations. They are fueled by an aging and declining population. Dealing with these challenges requires innovation. One model of ministry that addresses these concerns is taking hold on the wind-beaten prairie of eastern North Dakota. It is Tri-County Ministry, a parish consisting of seven ELCA congregations and one Presbyterian church spread out over seven towns but joined by one staff and council.

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March issue

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