Voices: In defense of small churches

“The country people will be used to educate ministers for the benefit of city people (in wealthier churches) who, obviously, are thought more deserving of educated ministers.” Baptist Standard

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Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that McLain more or less misses the opportunity had by pastors of small churches to get to know congregants intimately, and to really build deeply into their lives.  Kinda the opposite of this Babylon Bee article, really.   He also seems to miss the opportunity that small church pastors have to reach deeply into their communities.

Or, is it not that he's missed it, but rather that he may have been inadvertently trained not to take advantage of these opportunities?  Worth asking, really. 

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Steve Newman's picture

I would disagree with this statement from the article:

Berry writes of “the practice, again common in the churches of my experience, of using the rural ministry as a training ground for young ministers and as a means of subsidizing their education. No church official, apparently, sees any logical, much less any spiritual, problem in sending young people to minister to country churches before they have, according to their institutional superiors, become eligible to be ministers.”

Anyone who is beginning in a pastorate of any kind is in training. There is no way to be taught in college and seminary the scope and complexity of what a pastor will face. Nor is there a way to have proven eligibility from institutional superiors that replaces what we face on the ground when we go to serve. This is not respective of the size or location of the ministry. 

Darrell Post's picture

The question of small town ministries versus larger urban ones is not new. There is a great church father we call Gregory of Nazianzus--and there is a reason we don't call him Gregory of Constantinople. He was an able mind and great orator, and ascended from the small town ministry in Nazianzus to being Bishop of Constantinople where he battled Arianism. But in the end, he was content to leave all the strife and conflict behind and return to Nazianzus and minister there.