This past weekend, I had an opportunity to preach at a small church in a farming community in Ontario. Needless to say, life there is quite a bit different than life in Detroit. (It actually got quiet at night, so that all you could hear was nature–including the mosquitoes buzzing by your head.)
The people there do not face the same pressures and struggles that many in the city face, but they face struggles nonetheless. It was a privilege for me to preach the Gospel to them and encourage them to see its significance for their lives on a daily basis. The gospel is God’s power for salvation, for urbanites and farmers.
With a rising emphasis on urban ministry, we must not neglect rural ministry. The romance and allure of the city may be lacking in most rural communities, but God has people in rural areas just like he does in urban areas.
The church I was at in Ontario is currently seeking a pastor, but there are few who show any interest in taking the position. There’s little prestige that comes with ministering in a small community for years, never seeing much numerical growth (because there’s not many people in the community to enable growth) but faithfully feeding God’s sheep and ministering to needs.
But in heaven, I think a multitude of God’s servants who labored in anonymity in rural areas will receive their reward from their Heavenly Father, because they did not seek the reward of men while on earth.
On a related note, Darryl Hart at Front Porch Republic wonders out loud why rural communities are often overlooked by churches today.