What Do You Think?

Why are pastors leaving small rural places?  Is this article on point or not?

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1874843,00.html?cnn=yes&iref=werecommend

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Published in: on February 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm  Comments (7)  

7 Comments

  1. Did you watch the video report?

  2. The article and the video are definitely addressing the issue. I like the fact that they are talking about the demographic and economic changes that are significantly apart of this story. Furthermore, this story should be an encouragement to us in the South and especially those of us who are Southern Baptist. Although the “SBC Nation” is travelling even faster into irrelevancy, the local churches (which actually matter) across much of our rural landscape are not facing as dire a situation as this report exposes.

    For the record, I don’t think weekend meditations by leafless trees while grasping onto icons is going instill obedience to faithful Lord’s Day observance. But, that could just be me:) And yes, I did say obedience to the Lord’s Day observance.

  3. Perry,
    I think SBC churches in the southern states are doing some better than those in the west but things could slip quickly if we are not careful. In our association the trend is changing. We have a well educated, dedicated, and young crop of pastors who are sticking to the task. I hope it is a sign of good things across our convention. The day of the circuit rider may be back, even in the south, if churches continue to major on the minor.

  4. As we have talked before, baptist acceptance of bi-vo ministry helps us. I still think a way forward in the future is going to be a slightly different model than bi-vo. I don’t have a label for it but I call it dual-vocational ministry. The promotion of the primary salary coming from the Church not the other. This can be done through professional careers (teaching, counseling, attorneys, ect.) where a pastor can serve full-time with the church while supplementing the income (thus allowing a town&country pastor to be full time with his wife being able to stay home with the children)with a career that furthers the incarnational ministry of the pastor within the community.

  5. My next hero is going to highlight the bi-vocational pastors who work VERY hard. I agree the model will look different in the near future. It is already evolving.

  6. One thing, I think you are missing is the demographic difference between your context and that of the upper midwest. As rural as Tennessee might be, the towns highlighted in the article are truly rural. I spent a few days in North West Nebraska last week. On our way home Saturday we travelled a stretch of highway for 66 miles before coming to anything remotely resembling a town. The significant population loss of these areas makes it very difficult for churches to thrive thus necessitating a pardigm shift. Churches will need to share pastors, look to lay ministers or combine their ministries. And, yes bivocational ministry will be a necessity in many rural areas. Lyle, Schaller, in his book Small Congregation Big Potential encourages rural churches to invest in technology allowing a church to simulcast sermons to multiple venues. This of course is the hottest thing going in mega churches right now. The idea is that the body of christ be equipped to care for one another daily and then come together for lay led worship on Sundays with a sermon beemed over the web from a regional church in the area.

  7. Tom,

    You are absolutely correct. There just isn’t enough population in some areas to support a full time or part time guy. We are going to have to be creative and biblical all at the same time. Tall order isn’t it?


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