Sparse numbers, strong faith in North Dakota

Sparse numbers, strong faith in North Dakota

Small, isolated congregations face challenges in the state with the nation’s fewest Churches of Christ.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

BISMARCK, N.D. — Talk about a Sunday commute.

For 15 years, Rod and Rosalyn Genrich drove 100 miles each way to worship with the Minot Church of Christ.

The Genriches, who farmed 1,900 acres of wheat in the small North Dakota community of Fessenden, made that trip three Sundays a month.

“The fourth Sunday, we tried to invite people from around the neighborhood, kind of like a house church,” said Rod Genrich, now retired and living in this state capital of 69,000 souls, where he serves as an elder of the Bismarck Church of Christ.

For members of Churches of Christ in North Dakota, long commutes to services are not unusual.

Bismarck member Bernice Gullickson, for example, owns a farm 55 miles away and has made the weekly drive since 1962.

“No big deal,” she said as she made her way into worship. “We’ve got good roads.”

This mostly rural state stretches 335 miles wide from Montana east to Minnesota and 211 miles high from South Dakota north to Canada.

Yet North Dakota has just seven Churches of Christ, the fewest of any state, according to a directory published by Nashville, Tenn.-based 21st Century Christian.

Read the full story.

This story appears in the October 2016 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.