“Think Theology” has offered another thought provoking post on what is involved in rural pastoral work. Specifically, Pastor Able Baker (in BC) has mentioned four things imperative (to my estimation) for successful rural pastoral ministry (HERE).
The only thing I might add would be that patience is the name of the game. It does no one any good to be overly pushy in ministry, but particularly in rural ministry. There is a tremendous need to allow things time to develop properly. Certainly patience is required anywhere, but in rural ministry it is a MUST as it relates to the cultural ethos at a much deeper level. There is a great need for (rural) pastors who will allow and encourage the local community of believers to grow and mature together without superimposing any pre-conceived notions of what the congregation must look like. This God-ordained, Christ-indwelt, Spirit-filled congregation can (and will) hear from God and move forward if the pastor will participate as one who encourages and facilitates such an environment of patience (with the end-game being congregational and personal growth that gives God the glory).
Growth takes time. In a rural context, it takes TIME. Particularly when our objective is not growth for its own sake (that is called an “abnormality” in other contexts), but growth that is healthy and God-honoring. We need to set aside our own agenda (and time-frame) and recognize there are far deeper things the Lord may have in store for us than the “growth” we have envisioned that may never happen if we are not patient.
Can we hear from the Lord together? Can we be mutually beneficial for one another in due time? Can we allow each one and every one the grace to mature towards Christ over time as a family?
Originally published at bluechippastors.org on September 5, 2012.