Despite declining rural population, 30.6 percent of congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are located in rural areas. Of these 24.1 percent are in rural farming areas. The ELCA’s Rural Ministry Resources and Networking Desk helps develop ministries and advocates for this constituency.
Today less than a quarter of rural counties in the U.S. depend upon farming as their primary source of income. Farming-dependent counties are home to only nine percent of the rural population. Non-metropolitan areas have grown in recent years through immigration, presenting another challenge for the rural congregation.