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The Center for Rural Church Advancement (CRCA) is an initiative of Nebraska Christian to revitalize and resource rural churches across the Heartland through coaching networks, training, and scholarship opportunities for the next generation of leaders.

Upcoming Events:

FOCUS Regional Gathering

Saturday February 28th 10a - 3p

Hosted by John Erickson and Sutherland Church of Christ

203 South Oak Street, Sutherland, IA 51058

Come enjoy a day of fellowship, leadership breakouts, inspiring worship, and encouragement from speakers such as:

John Erickson of Sutherland Church of Christ, Liz Spray of First Christian Norfolk, Chris Smith of Sutherland Church of Christ

David Haynes of Nebraska Christian, Worship with Josh Weece of Whiting Christian Church

For more information:

CRCA quick links:

Questions? Contact CRCA

RSVP for Upcoming Events


Rural Churches are in desperate need of help. A visit to just about any small town on a Sunday morning will confirm that there are real problems: church buildings at 1/3 capacity, church nurseries with no babies, people attending sporting events and shopping like it was any other day of the week, and frustrated Pastors who wonder how to reach their communities with the gospel.


Both Barna and Pew research confirm that nearly 80% of rural churches are plateaued or declining in attendance. The same research indicates that less than 20% of most small towns are in church on any given Sunday. The vast majority of rural churches are losing ground and many have already closed their doors.

The temptation for rural church leaders is to assume that there is nothing that can be done about this decline and that the factors that led to it are outside of their control. While recognizing that the challenges and issues are many, we must not allow the changing social climate across the Heartland to shape the Church. The Church, instead, must take the lead for God in these communities.

CRCA will seek to partner rural churches with resources and peer-learning environments in order to transform declining churches into healthy and growing ones.


Our vision is to see rural churches across the Heartland double their Kingdom impact. With the changes and the coaching that we provide, CRCA plans for each partnering church to double its impact and size within the first five years. Imagine 20 rural churches per year for five years doubling in size. With the average church size in America at 85, that would mean in five years 100 rural churches would add around 8,500 souls to the Kingdom. That’s more people than live in Nebraska City, NE. 100 healthy and growing rural churches will make a huge impact.

When churches are healthy and growing they impact a community like no other organization. Families can find hope and healing. Children grow up understanding the timeless truths that lead them to God and His ways. Students find guidance and a community to lean upon during the turbulent times of middle and high school. A vibrant church will impact its surroundings and attract people to the God who forgives and inspires hope, joy and service. What if the number of disciples doubled in 100 of our rural churches in the next five years? Think of the impact and the possibilities.

Our vision is to see these churches become catalytic and to inspire the next generation of church leaders through scholarship and support.


CRCA is uniquely qualified to help rural churches because of a combination of these powerful factors:

  • CRCA is centrally located on the campus of Nebraska Christian College which allows for strategic access to church leaders both across the Heartland and the Nation who are proven innovators in rural communities.
  • CRCA’s Coaching Pastors from across the Heartland who will provide effective mentoring for churches desiring assistance.
  • Partners, such as Chad Hunt through the Unstuck Group, are currently in ministry in rural settings. They bring their real-world solutions to church leaders.

    The mission of CRCA is to create healthy and growing rural churches.

    We will:

  • help churches get “unstuck.”
  • help church leaders find experienced mentors and coaches.
  • resource rural churches with correct helps and proven leadership and equip the next generation of leaders for them
  • 2015 EVENTS:

    Lead Pastor Gatherings with Chad Hunt

    Click here to RSVP.

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