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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.