While largely rural, there are three urban areas.

This entry is part 31 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

While largely rural, there are three urban areas. Two straddle the Mississippi river, the Quad Cities[1] to the north and the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis to the south. The third Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of five cities of 100,000 or more arranged in a  triangle in the center of the state (Peoria, Springfield, Decatur, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal). Population is increasing along the interstates that connect these cities due to commerce and commuting.[2] Towns flourished in a post civil war manufacturing boom. Many factories later closed or relocated as founding families gradually sold out to conglomerates. Large manufacturers such as Caterpillar Tractor in Peoria allow people to work urban and live rural, preserving small town population levels, schools and economies.[3] Labor intensive industries such as plant nursery and pork slaughtering draw a growing Hispanic immigration to rural areas to fill a need for labor.[4]






[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]The four historic “Quad” cities are Moline, East Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, plus Davenport, Iowa.

[2]A new interstate highway is being built in western Illinois in the U.S. 67 corridor linking the Quad Cities and St. Louis which will extend this trend into another isolated part of the state.

[3]Small towns around small cities are expanding as people seek a semi-rural living experience while commuting to an urban workplace. No urban area in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is so far from a rural area so as to create an isolated urban zone. Combining rural and urban living could be termed “rurban” as there is no complete dichotomy as might be found in other large urban centers. For a discussion of the term, see “Rurban: What’s Up Down On The Farm,” Rural Home Missionary Association, http://www.rhma.org/rurban.html (accessed 18 June 2007). There is serious poverty that is both rural and urban. I do not perceive a “Valhalla Syndrome” developing in this conference as described by Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Leadership In The Wesleyan Spirit (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999), 142-143.

[4]James D. Nowlan, “Who We Are by the Numbers,” Illinois Issues: A Publication of the University of Illinois at Springfield 24, no. 5, (May 1998),under http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/1998/ ii980521.html (accessed May 1, 2007).

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