Date of Award

Spring 6-10-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Geri Mason

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Randy Beavers


Churches, Rural America, Economic Development, Religion


Economic development efforts in the modern world are primarily focused on underdeveloped nations across the globe. When done in developed nations, like America, urban poor are often the focus. However, rural American communities are one area which show a deep need for development that they sometimes do not receive. While some government and private endeavors have done well in reaching these communities, they often face issues with integration, funding, and specialization. Other institutions should be explored as potential vehicles for development. One such institution is the church. This paper will examine the ways in which rural American communities have been underserved and investigate the ability of churches to address these issues. This was done through a case study conducted through a series of interviews of a rural American church, Carbonado Community Church. Interview responses identify distinct needs in the community which are similar to those suggested in the literature. Interviews also identified multiple ways that the church takes an active role in addressing these issues. Among the church's activities are a food bank, community building programs, and a significant number of outreaches specifically aligned to community members. Ultimately, it is shown that faith-based organizations like the church have a very impactful role in their communities and should be considered a valuable tool in the development of rural America.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.