Being a pastor in the woods of Maine, I was overjoyed to read this recent post from Tim Keller. With so much emphasis on urban church planting these days it’s quite rare to hear such encouraging words to consider pursuing ministry in a rural setting. After Keller’s litany of good reasons for being a ‘country parson’ he wisely cautions us to not view the pastorate of a small church as a mere stepping stone. This quote is worth a million Dunkin Donuts coffees.
Young pastors should not turn up their noses at such places, where they may learn the full spectrum of ministry tasks and skills as they will not in a large church. Nor should they go to small communities looking at them merely as stepping stones in a career. Why not? Your early ministry experience will only prepare you for ‘bigger things,’ if you don’t aspire for anything bigger than investment in the lives of the people around you. Wherever you serve, put your roots down, become a member of the community and do your ministry with all your heart and might. If God opens the door to go somewhere else, fine and good. But don’t go to such places looking at them only as training grounds for ‘real ministry.’
Thank you Tim Keller! May God raise up many men to serve Christ’s Church…even where there’s not a Starbucks within 20 miles!