Strong Rural Churches Strengthen Their Communities

Strong Rural Churches Strengthen Their Communities
Robb Webb, director of the Rural Church program area, discusses how The Duke Endowment is strengthening rural churches in the Carolinas.

United Methodist Churches have deep roots across North Carolina and play pivotal roles within rural districts. In addition to being centers of weekly worship, baptisms, weddings and funerals, these churches are home to community events, food pantries and child care centers.

By developing rural United Methodist churches and supporting their clergy and lay leaders, we aim to expand church outreach across North Carolina. We work collaboratively with the North Carolina and Western North Carolina conferences of the United Methodist Church and Duke Divinity School to help rural churches serve their neighbors.

Learn more about the strategies, lessons learned and resources behind specific efforts, both past and present, by filtering our work below.

To help low-income families access more than $2.6 billion in unclaimed work supports (such as tax credits, public benefits, and student financial aid), The Duke Endowment awarded more than...

In North Carolina and South Carolina, the number of people aged 65 and older is growing rapidly, and experts predict the upward trend will continue. The dramatic increase will present new...

Rural church ministers can sometimes find themselves “burned out” by the effects of social, philosophical and geographic isolation. To provide rural pastors with an opportunity for...

The Duke Endowment is investing $7.6 million over ten years to help rural pastors and churches take the lead in creating more viable communities. Among the 1,900 United Methodist churches...

Many rural residents in North Carolina have difficulty getting access to health information and services, and may therefore be less able to address health issues before they escalate. The...


Areas of Work

  • Prevention and early intervention for at-risk children

    To equip children and families with skills to ensure that children reach developmental milestones to lead successful lives.

  • Out-of-home care for youth

    To drive child welfare systems toward greater accountability for child well-being.

  • Quality and safety of health care

    Improving the quality and safety of health care delivery

  • Access to health care

    Improving health by increasing access to comprehensive care

  • Prevention

    Expanding programs to promote health and prevent disease

  • Academic excellence

    Enhancing academic excellence through program and campus development

  • Educational access and success

    Increasing educational access and supporting a learning environment that promotes achievement

  • Campus and community engagement

    Promoting a culture of service, collaboration and engagement among schools and communities

  • Rural church development

    Building the infrastructure and capacity of United Methodist churches to enhance ministry and mission

  • Clergy and lay leadership

    Strengthening United Methodist churches by improving the quality and effectiveness of church leadership

  • Congregational outreach

    Engaging United Methodist congregations in programs that serve their communities