Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Reinemann, Martin W.||Stevens, George P.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Earth Science


Rural churches--Illinois--De Kalb County


The rural population of the United States has been steadily declining for the last few decades. This decline has caused, among other things, country schools and businesses to disappear from the rural scene. The only institution still to exist in large numbers in rural areas is the church. It is the purpose of this study to determine the role that geographic factors have had and continue to have in the existence of rural churches. The seven open country churches in DeKalb County, Illinois were chosen for the study. A description and analysis of each church congregation is made. Such items as location and site, facilities, membership and membership distribution, area of responsibility, finances, and pattern of roads are described and portrayed on maps and tables. The results from this study are summarized in the following way: (l) Most of the churches are existing with below-minimum standards for effective programs. This is particularly true for the churches organized most recently. (2) Better means and facilities of transportation have helped keep the membership level relatively high by enabling people to attend from more distant areas. Approximately half of the membership of the rural churches is coming from urban centers. In conclusion, a majority of the rural churches studied might better serve their purpose by merging or relocating. However, in each case there appears no other intention but to remain as a separate church at the same location. Thus, in spite of small membership and financial problems, it appears that the rural churches in this study may continue to exist at their present location for many years because of inertia and the traditional ties to the family church which are easily maintained because of the convenience afforded by automobile transportation.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations and maps.


xi, 97 pages




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