Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


The church has been and still is one of the most important social institutions of our society. Although church membership is growing throughout the nation as a whole, there are areas where the rate of growth is decreasing or where there is a decline in membership. These areas are predominantly rural and are characterized by a decrease in rural population, a high rate of out-migration, and an increase in the size of farms, South Dakota is one of these areas. While the membership of the churches of South Dakota is increasing, this increase is taking place largely in the urban areas. The rural church has had to face the problems of loss of trained leadership and productive population with little or no help from outside sources. With these problems in mind, concerned clergymen and laymen of Aberdeen, South Dakota, and the surrounding area formed, during the winter of 196.5-1966, an inter-denominational organization which became known as the Aberdeen Area Ministry. This organization gained the financial support of the national boards of missions of the participating .denominations and engaged the services of a resident director. In April 1966, the Planning Committee of the Aberdeen Area Ministry (AAM) met in Aberdeen. At this meeting Professor Howard M. Sauor and Dr. Robert M. Demit of the Rural Sociology Department, South Dakota State University, suggested that a study of member’s attitudes toward their church might assist the AAM in its task of helping the rural churches help themselves. The present study was developed as a result of this suggestion and seeks to identify soma of the attitudes church members of the Aberdeen area hold concerning their churches as they now exist and as they may develop in the future.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Church buildings -- South Dakota -- Aberdeen



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University