Bringing big church opportunities to small communities
“Honestly, I think you’re crazy.”
That was the conversation stopper offered by a friend and colleague. We had gone to seminary together in the Dallas – Fort Worth metro area, served on staff at the same church, and now lived halfway across the country from each other in two different worlds.
Matt chose a more urban ministry setting in northern California, and I had returned home to the wheat fields of Kansas. Even before this conversation, he had been giving me a hard time about moving back to rural with several statements beginning with, “Why would you…?”
Driving through the redwoods area of northern California where Matt had asked me to speak, the conversation in the car was about an idea I was working on back in the heartland.
We had grown substantially in the four years I had been back in Kansas. We even started a second location across town (a full 3.5 minutes away) in an abandoned Big A auto parts store to deal with overflow issues from our little neighborhood church. And now we were considering taking our ministry to other communities, reaching smaller and more distant parts of our state.
It was part of a growing passion for reaching rural places.
I was born in a suburb of Los Angeles and went to seminary in the large Bible Belt Buckle City of Fort Worth, but my heart is where I was raised: in the middle of nowhere.
I love knowing what it means to sing “amber waves of grain.” I love the fact that traffic jams only happen around the co-op during harvest time. I love the reality that rural junior high kids singing “dated” songs like Shout to the North turn and face the right direction because they know North.
God has been more than faithful in the 15 years I’ve ...