Tag Archives: rural

The Small-Town Texas Church with a Big Heart

Burkeville Church of God exercising down-home hospitality.

By Carl Stagner

Blink and you might miss Burkeville. The Texas town boasts a four-way stop, a bank, a few businesses, and a school. If you ever find yourself passing through, keep your eyes open—you don’t want to miss Burkeville Church of God. There you’ll find some of the most down-to-earth, welcoming people you could ever meet. They’ll treat you with hospitality fueled by their love for the Lord, the family of God, and those not yet adopted into the family. The oldest Church of God in Texas is certainly not the biggest, but they’ve got a heart that exceeds the size of the state. Recent upgrades and a deep desire to reach the youth and teens in their community warrant a closer look at the Christ-centered congregation. Continue reading

Outside City Limits: Muddy Ministry in Monterey, Louisiana

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Photo: Pastor Joey celebrates first baptism at the lake.

By Carl Stagner

When doing ministry in the sparsely populated countryside of Louisiana, one comes to an inescapable conclusion: life…happens…slooooowly. Not that everyone speaks at the rate of Mountain Man (fans of the state’s famed Duck Dynasty television show will understand); rather, the pace of everyday activities seems to take on a refreshing calm. Ask Joey Pepmiller, pastor of Eva Church of God in the unincorporated community known as Monterey. Joey knows the blessings and challenges posed by this relaxed atmosphere. While some readers might panic that the closest Walmart is forty minutes away, these down-to-earth folks take it all in stride. Though large churches often garner the most press, the smaller, rural churches are also making an indelible mark on the kingdom. Amid the cultural nuances, God is up to something big at Eva Church of God. Continue reading

Reclaiming Rural America for Christ: CrossRoads Harrison, Arkansas

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Photo: Pastor Johnny Walters preaches.

By Carl Stagner

“This is rural America, where one rite of passage is hunting. Here, you don’t miss opening day of deer, turkey, or duck season!” Pastor Johnny Walters tells it like it is when it comes to doing ministry down in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas. Once part of a family music show in tourist-hot-spot Branson, Missouri, Pastor Johnny’s primary focus is now providing a safe place for broken people to find refuge and restoration in Jesus’ name. Though comprised of just seven members when Johnny began caring for the CrossRoads Community Church of God flock, about one thousand now call the thriving Harrison, Arkansas, church their home. Continue reading