3 Encouraging Reminders for Leaders in Small Towns

1. You Matter!

In a day when everyone is connected, the comparison game is strong. We can see the successes of other people and defeat ourselves. In a rural community, it can become lonely as one of only a few in your area who understand the tensions of church leadership. We can work tirelessly day in and day out and see little results and begin to wonder if we are making any difference. The truth is, you do. You do matter. You matter to the widow that you sit and talk with. You matter to the kids that ride your bus in the morning. You matter to the guys who drink coffee with you. You matter to the family that suffers a tragedy on the farm, and you are the person they turn to. When we measure our purpose only on the big moments of ministry, we will forget to be a consistent blessing in the small ones. No, we might never have a baptism Sunday of 40 people, but that doesn’t make the baptism Sunday of the one farmer you have talked with for years less significant. You are the person God needs in the place you are at because you might be the only real picture of Jesus your people see.

When we measure our purpose only on the big moments of ministry, we will forget to be a consistent blessing in the small ones.

2. Your Church Matters!

To the world, no one may know the name of your church, but to the people in your town, everyone knows your church. You might be one of five hundred “First Christian Churches,” but in your town with only three churches, yours matters. You matter to the small-town couple looking for a place to get married. You matter to the family that just lost their parent and needs you to host a funeral. You matter to the 4H club or girl scout troop who need rooms to meet in each week. You matter to the single mom who is forced to call for utility help after losing her job. Your church matters because it is the bride of Christ. When we begin to believe the lie that our rural church doesn’t matter, we begin to devalue the bride. Your church is the conduit of grace to your community, no matter how big or small it is. You are the church God needs in your town because you might be the only real picture of unity your town sees.

Your church is the conduit of grace to your community, no matter how big or small it is.

3. Your Town Matters

You are not the booming metropolis or the epicenter of commerce. You might have two restaurants and a guy who drives down the street on a lawnmower. There aren’t bright shiny lights everywhere and new businesses popping up everywhere. You only have a couple of stoplights in town, and everyone gets excited when the Dollar General gets remodeled. As the next generation begins to move away, you wonder why you continue to stay. You stay because your town matters. Your town matters because it is a place created by God. Just because the next generation is moving away doesn’t mean that God has. Your town could be the very place where God wants to begin something new. In many large cities, if one good movement happens, only a handful will see. If one good movement occurs in a small town, everyone notices. You serve in a place filled with people who matter to God. You are the town God needs because you might be the only real place filled with hope and life that people have.

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