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We want to see a healthy church in every place with a Dollar General.

Let's face it. Chick-Fil-A is never coming to your town. As sad as that makes us, it's reasonable. Your town, like thousands of others, is too small to fit their business model.

But, do you know who likely has your region on their map?

Dollar General! They've unlocked the secret to finding the smallest population where their business can thrive.

If a discount department store can thrive in middle of nowhere, how much more should the church be invested in rural communities! 

Here, at The Brainerd Institute, we focus on helping Christians become interested in and equipped for rural ministry.

"Many rural residents feel overlooked and invisible."

—Stepehen Witmer, A Big Gospel in Small Places

Tell me more about churchin the middle of nowhere!

Thanks for reaching out! We're so glad you're interested in rural ministry and look forward to getting to know you!

Our Mission

How can we help?


Rural ministry is lonely work. Pastors and ministry leaders are often separated by many miles from their peers. Many also experience cultural isolation because they are perceived as an “outsider.”


The Brainerd Institute connects pastors and ministry leaders through “Equip” gatherings designed to encourage and sharpen those toiling to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).


“Equip” pastors are reminded that the church they serve in is not isolated but critically connected for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom in their region. They work together to reach the lost, pray for one another, and minister in their communities.


Pastors and churches are not meant to work alone. Brainerd Institute is committed to connect them for the glory of God. 


Our generation is blessed to have more training opportunities than ever. Still, there are few opportunities for training in rural places. The high cost of travel, a full schedule, and a desire to avoid urban areas often prevent rural church leaders from receiving the training they need. 


Many rural pastors have received little or no formal training. Others find it difficult to apply the concepts taught by leaders from more populated regions to their rural context.


The Brainerd Institute serves rural pastors by offering high-quality training in rural places from a rural perspective. We provide a residency program, weekly podcasts, regional training, and  conferences.


Few seminary graduates desire ministry in rural places. A modest population may make a region seem less significant. The lack of conveniences of urban and suburban life might seem less appealing.  The challenges of ministering to a rural population can feel overwhelming.


Yet, Christ has called us to the ends of the earth. Christ does the incredible work of building His church as we go, baptize, and teach!

Brainerd Institute exposes men entering the ministry to the significance of rural ministry and challenges them to consider the call to serve in rural places.  


Christ cares deeply for the men and women living in remote places, and He is surely calling His shepherds to do the same.        


Following his conversion to Christ in 1739, David Brainerd was enthusiastically constrained to the work of Gospel ministry. He pursued theological training at Yale University until a careless remark about one of his instructors (for which he later apologized and repented) led to his expulsion. Since Connecticut law required ministers to obtain a  degree from Harvard, Yale, or a European institution, Brainerd’s expulsion prevented him from becoming a pastor in his home state. In His sovereignty, God used this turn of events to lead Brainerd to accept the charge to become a minister to Native Americans living in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Under his tutelage, many Native Americans professed faith in Christ, received baptism, and established churches throughout the region.  Less than four years after his ministry began, David Brainerd died of tuberculosis. He left behind detailed journals (which Jonathan Edwards compiled and published) detailing his conversion, call to ministry, and service to Christ’s church in the rural Northeastern United States.


The work of Christ so moved David Brainerd in His own life that he was willing to serve His Savior no matter the cost. He did not require a large city, an established church, or any earthly comforts. His sole passion was to see the Kingdom of Christ expand to the most remote regions of his day. Though his ministry was short, the effects of his work are still felt. His life and ministry serve as the inspiration for the Brainerd Institute for Rural Ministry. We pray that many men, constrained by their love for Christ, will devote themselves to the spread of the Gospel and the advancement of the church in rural places around the world.     

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