It doesn’t matter how grand your vision is if it doesn’t flow with the culture of your community.
I recently attended my high school class reunion. It was a backyard barbecue with a couple dozen in attendance. As I’m sure most reunions go, the time was spent reminiscing of the glory football days and Saturday night shenanigans. Not a lot has changed, but we are all different. The majority of my class was born and raised in that tiny town (population: 1,500), so being back together just felt like home. We took turns trying to remember each other’s home phone numbers and joked about landlines, party-lines, and how quickly news could travel. There is a unique camaraderie among us. Something that only develops from small town living.
It’s because of this upbringing that I know I’m wired for rural ministry. A little over a decade ago, I felt the Lord’s prompting to plant a church in western Nebraska. We didn’t have a ‘sending’ church that we could pull volunteers from to partner with us. It was just me, my wife, and our two small children. We raised our own financial support through family and friends. I went to a “Church Planters Intensive” bootcamp where the Holy Spirit began to download a clear vision into my heart for the community.
I knew it would be a lot of hard work, but there was a fire in my belly and excitement in my bones! I was going to turn this town upside down for Christ! My vision was clear and my mission was established.
I noticed that the majority of churches in our area had stayed the same over the decades. Nothing had changed within the four walls. I determined that we would be different! We established our Sunday morning service routine that did not include Sunday School. As the congregation grew, so did the argument to start up Sunday School classes. …