The greatest challenges in small town ministry. Part 5Continuing to look at the unique challenges of ministry in a small town:
#5 -- It can be very lonely trying to have BIG IMPACT in a SMALL TOWN.
If you are in a small town and you are trying to initiate change, if you are trying to do new things, be cutting-edge, you will be met with huge resistance. And then as I said earlier, these people who resist you also are a huge part of your life because small towns are one big, inter-connected family. That can make it really, really lonely. Even when things are going great.
We planted New Hope, so it was totally a cake walk compared to those of you called to TRANSITION a church. Wow...there is an extra special place in heaven for you guys. Two of the best people I have seen do this in a small town are DWIGHT MASON and SHANNON O'DELL. They will both be featured speakers at THE STICKS. Blessings to those saints and to those of you called to do that.
But even in a church plant, things like the decision to go multi-site or start a new service is twice as hard because you are the only one for MILES AND MILES talking such non-sense. As far as I know, we might have more multi-sites than any other church in OHIO. Not trying to impress, just saying...I don't know anyone else who is operating as many sites...so the talk of this stuff was major radical here. Some people still think that "Shout to the Lord" is a little too modern.
So when we bust out Coldplay, Seether, etc. that really causes some hearing aides to feed back. Which is one cool thing...and I mean that. When I see a ton of silver hair, I know we are onto something! More to come on that next week when I talk about the amazing things that being in a small town can bring to ministry.
Until then...be encouraged in your calling. It is tough all the way around when you are out on the leading edge for the cause of Christ. I just found out that 7 of the churches in the city where our multi-site in China is located were shut down and the leaders arrested. Sounds like the New Testament. And those of us sitting on our fat American a@%#$ will never understand that completely. I know I don't. It's so easy when compared to that story. Crap.
But that still doesn't always battle the loneliness bug and the feeling that we want to give up. There must be more...right? Yes. Let's connect. Let's form a community. Let's be there for one another. Let's make a statement. Let's love one another and press on even when we feel we don't have another ounce to give.
Live out your calling. Fight the good fight. Stop dreaming about bigger and better, and live out a life of obedience right where HE has you! You might never write a book or speak at a conference or have followers on a blog...but the LIVES CHANGED FOR ETERNITY IS ALL THAT MATTERS! Really...it is.
Blessings and peace!
Doing ministry in a small town? Check out the sticks conference coming in just 2 weeks!