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Phillip Blackburn

Phillip Blackburn is the director of the Thriving in Rural Ministry Program at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas. In addition, he and his wife Tasha co-pastor First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Phil would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and stories about rural life and ministry. He can be reached at

More Stories from this Author

Teamwork of multi-ethnic and multicultural people working together. Concept of community of different people. Unity and solidarity between people of different cultures. Concept of activist and protest movement. Friendship, solidarity, tolerance and brotherhood among peoples. International and multicultural society and population. Cooperation between communities. Anti-racism protest. Volunteer concept. Collaboration and teamwork between colleagues. People who are active for peace, for a clean environment and for social justice

How can we care for ruling elders?

In the PC(USA), there’s a lot of focus on pastor burnout — and rightly so. But lay leaders are also facing exhaustion, and we need to care for them, writes Phillip Blackburn.

Don’t forget rural residents

Phillip Blackburn encourages the PC(USA) to remember the vulnerable outside of the city — and for Presbyterians in rural areas to utilize the gift of community.

Why you should study the rural church

When Phillip Blackburn began as the director of the University of the Ozarks’ Thriving in Rural Ministry Program, he expected to serve small, dying churches. Instead, he has found livelihood and wisdom.