The Four Most Difficult Decisions for a Rural Pastor

In his book Transforming Church in Rural America, Shannon O’Dell shares his heart and passion for small-town America’s thousands of churches, and the pastors who lead them. Shannon shares a powerful vision of relevance, possibility, and excellence for small churches across the country, and it’s a great read if you find yourself pastoring a small church in a tiny community.

In the book, Shannon lists what he thinks are the Four Most Difficult Decisions for a Rural Pastor:

  1. To Pastor in Rural America… with low incomes, low resources, and low expectations.
  2. 2. To reach the lost and unchurched. Most people say they want to reach the lost… until they do and then the church starts changing.
  3. 3. To equip the church with accurate and healthy structure… change bylaws, constitutions, and church policy as necessary.
  4. 4. To remove “Holy Cows” to be more effective… such as pews, property, and people.
Many small are stuck in a structure that is literally a hundred years old.Click To Tweet

I’ve served in my share of small, rural churches. I think Shannon is right on.  Many small churches are stuck. Many are stuck in a structure that is literally a hundred years old.  Many small churches say they want to reach the lost, but when people start coming to Christ and the status quo of the church changes, all of a sudden they’re not quite as excited about it.

If you’re the pastor of a rural church, what do you think is the HARDEST part of the job?

If you're the pastor of a rural church, what do you think is the HARDEST part of the job?Click To Tweet


One Comments

  • Richard January 20, 2016 Reply

    The hardest part in my ministry has been working with the people of power in my community. They run the town and their family has run the church for decades. They expect ‘special’ treatment and because they give the majority of the funding, they demand control over how the money is spent.

    I love them dearly, but they frustrate me to no end.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe I’m cut out for a city church. God has made my call very clear, and a rural small town church is where I belong.

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