5.67: Exploring Pastoral Leadership Models: Rural Church

Navigate challenges, rediscover hope, and learn effective leadership for rural churches in America with insights from Bishop Bill Tesch.

Leading a rural church in America today? In this video, we’ll look at the challenges and opportunities of discovering faithful, effective, collaborative, and sustainable models of leadership for rural churches.

How to rediscover hope and creativity amidst change and loss in Rural America? If you lead a rural church and want to be effective as rural life changes across America, then you’ll want to watch the entire video to learn from Bishop Bill Tesch of South Dakota who has been a church planter, mission developer, and Air Force Chaplain. Discover church future trends across rural churches in America today and rediscover your hope and energy as a church leader.

Show Notes:

Related Episodes:


Bill Tesch Headshot

Bill Tesch

Before his election to Bishop, Bill Tesch served as the Director for Evangelical Mission and Associate to the Bishop of the South Dakota Synod. Prior to that he pastored Messiah New Hope Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD first as Mission Developer and later as the congregation’s Senior Pastor. His first call was to a two-point rural and small-town congregation (St. Paul and St. Peter in Humboldt and Orland, SD).

Bishop Tesch is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Luther-Northwestern seminary, the USAF Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, the Air Force Basic Chaplain’s Course and Officer’s Training School.

The Bishop is also a retired Air Force Chaplain, having attained the rank of Colonel before his retirement in 2021. He was a member of the South Dakota Air National Guard and served in two overseas combat deployments.

Bishop Tesch is married to Chris Tesch, who teaches Nursing at the University of South Dakota. He and Chris enjoy time with their adult children and are grateful to be discovering the joys of grandparenting.

Meet Your Hosts

  • Alicia Granholm

    Alicia Granholm is senior director of Faith+Lead and a leadership and church consultant based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. She helps pastors and leaders engage culture to make a lasting impact. For nearly two decades, she has trained, equipped, and empowered followers of Jesus to engage their local communities by contextualizing the Gospel and its application. Alicia compassionately crosses cultural boundaries having lived, studied, traveled, and served in 25 countries on six continents. Alicia has a Doctor of Strategic Leadership, Global Consulting (Regent University), MDiv (Bethel Seminary), and MA in Teaching (University of St. Thomas).

  • Terri Elton

    Terri is a teacher who loves Jesus and God’s world. She currently is a Professor of Leadership and Dean of Academic Affairs at Luther Seminary, but has also served in congregations and non-profit settings. In her free time, Terri loves to bike and explore nature. She, along with her husband Eric, believes the world is interesting and together they travel to different cultures and places as often as they can.