I got out. That’s how it felt looking back at my rural hometown after I moved to Texas and then California. It was a weird way of thinking, because growing up I never imagined leaving. But once I was gone, especially after I settled in Southern California, I was able to see clearly the brokenness and hopelessness much of small-town America knows as normal. Like the Clampetts from The Beverly Hillbillies, I had made it to California, the land of movie stars and small-batch coffee shops—and I never wanted to go back. Continue reading “Is God Calling You to Go Home? by Donnie Griggs”
“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” – Matthew 13:31-32
Many of Us Leaders are the Microwave Generation
I can still remember our first microwave. I was born in 1981, but we were poor and didn’t finally get a microwave till the mid-eighties. I probably will eventually have side effects from staring for hours as it warmed food or cooked popcorn. It was so fast! There was so little effort before, during or after. THIS, I thought, is what life should be like! But, of course, this isn’t what real life is like.
Jim Quigley had been sober for four years and was one semester away from graduating from Bible college when his stopped car was rear-ended by someone going 50 miles an hour.
“I ended up having two artificial discs put into my spine,” he said. He also ended up with a prescription for opiate painkillers.
Interest for small town and rural ministry is on the rise. What are the reasons for this and what are the main areas of renewed interest? This is a thorough academic paper on this subject that I thought those in small town ministry would enjoy. Continue reading “Renewed Interest: A Fresh Look at the Rural Church”
by Scott Berg, US Field Director Of Small Towns for Young Life
I met Scott in 2017 at a Small Town Jesus conference in West Virginia. He’s a man who deeply loves the gospel, the local church, small towns and lost kids.
I’ve realized through the last almost nine years of church planting that missional churches, like the one I pastor, are giving in to a busyness that drives many of their pastors and leaders to the brink of burnout and beyond.
This has left me to consider that it may be that personality, ambition or just our western cultural worship of progress is driving our churches’ schedules more than Jesus’ mission. It’s at least worth considering.
I said in my book, Small Town Jesus, that good missionaries learn to identify what their small towns worship, they show the insufficiency of that idol, they call out the idol for failing to do what only God can do and they show how Jesus is better. I also said that a good missionary doesn’t worship the idols that the town worships.
Recently I wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition and in this article, I wrote about some of the challenges that I faced leading a church in a small town. My hope is that you’d be able to relate to and learn from our experiences whether you are planting a church or working to strengthen an existing church in a small town.
A few years after planting One Harbor Church, we ran out of seats for the fourth time even with multiple services. We also ran out of parking and kids’ ministry space. Even if God had sent us more people, we had nowhere to put them.
Trying to find another building in our small town, including all of the money, energy and time it takes to move to another building, made us step back and think about what we really should be doing.
I think many of us church planters and pastors have been rightly impacted by the necessity for us to see our town as a mission field just as significant as anywhere else. We are grateful to pastors and thinkers like Ed Stetzer, Tim Keller and others for this mindset. These faithful leaders have caused our eyes to see that mission isn’t just something that happens “over there,” it also happens “right here.”