I talk with a lot of pastors and leaders. Pastors and leaders from different places and different sized places.
Specifically, as I talk to pastors and leaders in rural places, in small towns, across the country, I hear desperation in their voices about their community. You see, I’ve come to realize that pastors and leaders are wired for their community and context. The best leaders are leading where they are because of a great call from God … because they’ve heard God tell them to lead where they are.
The small town pastor and leader is no different. These leaders aren’t leading in small towns because they can’t cut it in the big city. They’re leading in a small town because that is exactly the place God has called them.
These leaders are desperate for their town. They’re desperate to win people to Jesus.
The biggest concern these pastors often have? How they can grow their church. I hear so many “We don’t have the money to do that” and “I don’t want 9,000, I’d settle for 90″ comments.
What’s the key?
The same key that Jesus understood when he spoke in parables … you gotta know your culture before you can reach it. You have to know the people you are dealing with, speaking to and ministering to before you expect to grow the kingdom or your church.
Small town leader … heck, big city leader … don’t expect to grow your church if you aren’t willing to know your culture. Rub shoulders with the powers that be in your small city. Go to the Friday night football games. Hang out at the local gas station that everyone in your small town hangs out at.
Know your culture. Grow your church.