Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Gary W. Waller


rural Baptist church, traditional church, bi-vocational


Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The rural Baptist Church has historically been a place of tradition, cultural importance, and refuge. It has been led by a wealth of great leaders who have served generations of faithful members. Over time, many rural Baptist Churches have seen a gradual decline, and some are on the verge of extinction. This decline may be a direct result of those churches attempting to continue unnecessary traditions and unproductive ministries. These churches also sacrifice future interests and prospects for institutional practices that do not fulfill the Great Commission and promote destructive practices. To initiate an intervention into the destructive practices of these churches, this author will develop a paradigm shift that may reduce those suicidal practices and slow the destruction. The potential value is in strengthening the Rural Baptist Church by highlighting value, developing effective ministry strategies, and refocusing vision. The research will be conducted within the four counties that make up the Northern Neck of Virginia. Members and visitors of the various Baptist churches in the Northern Neck will participate in this research. Research of published material on this subject will also be conducted.