The Rural Church: Community and Relationships

with Tim Wray

In “The Way” of Christ, the ends are the means. In other words, how we go about fostering relationships, examining our intentions and seeking God’s wisdom should resemble the goal that we strive towards. There are no short cuts, silver bullets, or pre-packaged programs to save the day. Real community is formed by real relationships. Faith communities are just the same, but they are additionally flavoured by the expectation that God is actually a member of the community! Such a living faith seeks the promises of God in the everyday affairs and looks for their fruit. How do we lead others into this ancient way?

This course is intended as a gathering point for leaders serving in small, rural or remote settings. Each context is unique, but small places have some attributes that merit celebration. Often small communities are more obviously interwoven. Relationships that span across economic, recreational, and neighbourhood lines can be easily identified. These interconnections give us reason to pause and ask, “Is God doing something here?”

The work that we will undertake in this course will not require a fancy budget, staffing, or even a building. We will rely on the classic ingredients of people, resurrection power, and God’s mission. Guidance will come from the deep well of Scripture, the sacraments, and the oversight of the church. What will unfold from this core is totally up for grabs. It could be infinitely more than you can ask or imagine. God willing, we’ll all be changed!

What You’ll Learn

This course will help you to:

  • Practice the basics of Christian discernment among other willing believers
  • Name and honour the power of small, rural, and remote faith communities
  • Map the rich interconnections that comprise our public roles
  • Test the Spirit’s movement beyond the walls of the building
  • Reflect on your own calling in the moment and place that you find yourself
  • Invite others to join you in the missional journey

How It Works

Join our instructor, Tim Wray, and an engaged learning community of fellow leaders and missional practitioners live online and in online forums.

  • Participate in six, two-hour sessions with Tim and the learning community. 
    Meeting times will be announced soon!
  • Practice in your context. 
    During the course you will be encouraged to apply your learning in your context in order to deepen your understanding.
  • Reflect within the learning community.
    Your reflections on your experiences will become even more meaningful when shared with other learning practitioners like yourself. You will use the online forums between sessions and break-out sessions within learning community gatherings to further integrate your learning

Meet the Teacher-Practitioner

Tim Wray

Dr. Tim Wray is a bi-vocational minister. He serves as an ELCIC pastor in Airdrie, Alberta and lives and ranches in nearby Irricana. As a farmer, he tries to implement regenerative practices, is trained in Holistic Management, and participates in Alberta’s Regenerative Agriculture Lab through Rural Routes for Climate Change. Wearing a church hat, he is active on the board of Circle M, Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry, sits on his Synodical Ministry Team for Care of Creation, and is a contributor to the ELCIC sermon offerings for small and vacant congregations. The mission of God permeates both vocations. Tim is currently working through The LEAD Journey with his congregation and is enrolled in the Missional Network’s Leadership Project. Prior to seminary, he studied agriculture at the University of Alberta. His MDiv is from Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon. The focus of his DMin project was on the lives of young adults in rural communities.  Along with his wife, Joanne and their three children they manage a cattle herd and a small flock of sheep.

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