Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Best Books for Pastors in Small Towns (Google's Unanswered Questions)

*This is a series of posts answering questions that I searched for and couldn't find a good article or post on. I'll add to this series as I come across questions that don't have answers. I hope that if I'm interested in the topic, someone else will be too.

My last church was a small church in a small community. Sometimes it was hard to find resources that applied to me and my situation. I found myself at conferences as the pastor of the smallest and most rural church. I was in conversations with pastors and staff of churches 5000+. Books tended to be my best resource to help me think through ministry in a small, rural church. 

Here are 3 of my favorites:

  1. A Big Gospel in Small Places by Stephen Witmer. This is by far the best book on pastoring in a small community. My community was 1/3 the size of Witmer's, though. He thinks theologically about ministry. This isn't practical in focus but it has a lot of application. His biggest encouragement is that there are theological reasons to do ministry in overlooked places because it demonstrates something about the extravagance of God's love.
  2. Small Church Essentials by Karl Vaters. This is super practical and deals with the realities of pastoring a normal church--sub 200. There are a lot of strategies and encouragements to be the best church you can be in your place.
  3. Replanting Rural Churches by Kyle Bueermann and Matt Henslee. This most aligns with my ministry philosophy. The focus on preaching, praying, and building relationships with people.

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