This book offered on Kindle for FREE by Minnesota Public Radio News begins with the grim statistics that show just how much our rural
communities have declined.  There are fewer people in rural America; they are older, less educated and poorer than their city cousins.  More than that, even
the culture of rural America is being threatened by the industrialization of
The book continues by reporting on entrepreneurs who have in big ways and small revitalized their communities with tourism, niche markets, investments etc. 
A part of our work as leaders in financial stewardship is not just deepening the faith our fellow Christians, not just expanding the ministry of Christ’s church but also to help strengthen our communities.  When
communities provide jobs and economic growth then education is better funded, services to the poor are more available and the whole town is a more nurturing place to live.  
Barnabas Uplift is an excellent example of how congregations can do “out of the box” ministry in their own community that is at the same time an important social ministry and excellent evangelism tool. 
Barnabas Uplift is a program that provides for congregations to offer CNA training to community members in need. Someone with a CNA license can enter the workforce almost guaranteed work because of the shortage of front line workers in the health care industry in Iowa. 
In the Large Catechism Martin Luther wrote in the explanation of the 5th commandment that “this commandment is violated not only when a person actually does evil, but also when he fails to do good to his neighbor.” 
And now a joke…The strongman at a circus sideshow demonstrated his power before a large audience. Toward the end, he squeezed the juice from a lemon between his hands. He then said to the audience, “I will offer $200 to anyone in the audience who can squeeze another drop from this lemon. A thin scholarly looking woman came forward, picked up the lemon, strained hard and managed to get a drop. The strongman was amazed. He paid the
woman and asked, “What is the secret of your strength?” 
“Practice,” the woman answered. “I was the treasurer of the [name your own] Church for thirty-two years!”
By Pastor Mark Anderson
Assistant to the Bishop


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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.