Go see the new Tennessee Rural Church Blog

Tennessee Rural Church Blog!

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 4:20 am  Comments (4)  

Stuff I’ve Learned Through Blogging

1.  At least 10 other bloggers are saying the same thing.  I am not nearly as “cutting edge” as I thought I was.

2.  There is nothing new under the Sun.  I have found that people were writing and developing a “rural church” vision before I was born.   Their books and articles have been invaluable.

3.  I will offend someone no matter how unoffensive I try to be.

4.  Nuance does not translate well through the blog sphere.

5.  People reach “Rural Route Church” with funny searches like. . .”looking for a real cowboy”.

6.  Vanity can be measured by how many times one checks his/her “stats”.

7.  People like their point of view.  Really!

8.  Having the ability to edit or even delete people’s comments is a very good thing.

9.   Always check your facts before taking someone to task.  Embarrassing apologies could follow in the wake of a hasty post.

10.  There are a lot of people who are sincere in their desire to follow God’s call to a rural route somewhere.  I’m just glad some of them were able to stop by here every once in a while.



Published in: on November 21, 2009 at 11:46 am  Comments Off on Stuff I’ve Learned Through Blogging  

Coming Soon

I will be creating a new blog focusing exclusively on Rural Church ministry.  The launch date is January 1 and will highlight multiple authors and contributors.   (Hopefully some names you will recognize)  I would like to thank all of you who have stopped by Rural Route Church over the past couple of years.  I’ll see you in January!

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm  Comments (3)  

My Teen Herpetologist

This is my first born son.  He likes reptiles, amphibians, and all things that slither.  He is a budding herpetologist and recently turned into a teenager.  Even though he likes to spend inordinate amounts of time with snakes. . .we still like him.   As a part of my fatherly responsibilities I like to take each one of my kids on a trip of their choosing.  Caleb picked a place called “Snake Road”.   We were blessed that  Scott Ballard (Herpetologist / Illinois Department of Natural Resources) asked us to come along with him to “tag” endangered Green Water Snakes.    snakeroadandgymnastics 002

This is a Cottonmouth.  We saw a bunch of these guys as we walked along Snake Road.

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That is not a stick in the water.  It  is also a Cottonmouth (about 4 feet long).

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This is Scott showing us what we came for. . .  a Green Water Snake.

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This is a Green Tree Frog.  Pretty huh? snakeroadandgymnastics 059

The day would not be complete without seeing a baby Cottonmouth.

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We saw 20 snakes, a bunch of frogs, one toad, an empty turtle shell, walked over 4 miles, got a one day biology lesson from Illinois’ leading Herpetologist, and basically had a GREAT day.

Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm  Comments (2)  

27 miles bring pastoral smiles!

mcclure 049aWith 27 miles and a whole county behind us we were able to smile in the knowledge that God’s people donated over $7,000  to our local Crisis Pregnancy Center.  We are already planning for next years “Run Pastor Run” event.  We are praying that we can top the $10,000 mark, include at least 5 more ministers, and focus more attention on the vital ministry of Tomorrow’s Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center.

Thank you to our runners/walkers:  Jon Smith, Fred Shakelford, Corey Cain, Jim Twilbeck, Carthage Dye, Ken Wells, Grant Ostrom, and Scott Shepherd

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm  Comments (3)  

Cooperation Works

Problem: Our local Crisis Pregnancy Center is underfunded.

Solution: Nine pastors and ministers!

Question: What can nine ministers do?

Answer: Run (relay style) across Henry County.

9 guys asked their churches to sponsor them in their attempt to run across Henry County.  The effort raised awareness of the Crisis Pregnancy Center’s mission/ministry and garnered over $7,000.00.  If I stood alone in this effort I would have raised only $701.00.  Collectively we were worth far more.  Cooperation works!

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 4:10 am  Comments Off on Cooperation Works  

Go U.M.C.!

It would be cool if there were a denomination that. . .

1.  Debunked the myth that rural churches were not worth pastoring.

2.  Connected academia with rural churches so that future pastors and leaders would see how GREAT rural ministry can be.

3.  Invested REAL dollars in the lives of students (future pastors).  Invested $$$ in  churches in the effort to revitalize, resource, and connect current rural leaders.

Oh there is such an organization.  Click HERE!

Published in: on September 14, 2009 at 9:43 pm  Comments (2)  

Heritage and Hope in the Holston Baptist Association

Read about it here!

Published in: on September 9, 2009 at 12:51 pm  Comments Off on Heritage and Hope in the Holston Baptist Association  

Sunday is Relentless

Sunday is relentless.  It never fails to either sneak up on the small church pastor or arrive just in time.  Either way a pastor has to be, is supposed to be, . . .okay, is rarely adequately prepared for Sunday.  Its not that pastors don’t try to prepare, its just that every Sunday seems filled with shock and awe after six days of shock and awe.   How does a pastor prepare himself to preach, administrate the surprise air conditioning problem, deal with someone’s “brand new idea” about how to reach more people for Sunday School, teach in place of the missing Sunday School teacher, counsel with a wayward teen (with Biblical accuracy), and listen to five different complaints that range from dissatisfaction over the bulletin cover to some sister’s outrage over the kid who colored the front of the hymn book red?

Sunday is relentless!  By the time many small church pastors stand in the pulpit to do the job God called them to do they have also been the church counselor, youth minister, outreach director, complaint department, administrator, children’s minister, and education director.  Before they step foot in the church these men have also been daddies, husbands, and fix-it-up men.

While the pastor tries to be all things to all people, he knows Sunday is coming.  It looms over his head as he is pulled away from the study of God’s Word again and again to take care of this, that, and the other.  The truth of the matter is that, unless the pastor pulls all that stuff off with a smile on his face, he jeopardizes the success and tenure of his pastorate.

Sunday is relentless!  It comes. . . ready or not.  Even more relentless than the coming of Sunday is the relentlessness of the call of God to “Preach the Word”.  Pastors will continue to wear all the hats people put on their heads because they can’t wait to stand behind that pulpit and say. . . “Thus saith the Lord”.   They will continue to be 10 people rolled up into one, live on the edge of poverty, and pay the high price of ministry because they are called to preach the Word and love God’s people.

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 12:40 pm  Comments (10)  

List of approved Doctors Under a Rural Health Plan

1.  Doctor Hiram Baker: (from Little House on the Prairie)  He is the only doctor I know that takes chickens as payment.

2.  Dr. Pepper: The only doctor that can provide 16 oz of pure thirst cure!

3.  Dr. Thunder: The cheaper generic version of Dr. Pepper for those of you on a budget.

4.   Galen “Doc”  Adams: He was the Doctor on Gun Smoke.  I think this alone qualifies him.

5.  Dr. Suess: You could, you should, set the date. . . . the appointment line is open late.

6.  Dr. Cliff Huxtable: (Better known as Cosby)  An OBGYN that could deliver a baby, fix whatever was going on in his family, and make us laugh so hard we blew Dr. Pepper out our noses. . . . all of this in 1/2 hour.

7.  Dr. “Bones” McCoy: (Star Trek) Just in case you want to go where no man has gone before.

8.  Dr. Doogie Howser: Because kids work cheap!

9.  Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein: One visit is usually enough.

10.  Rug Doctor: This is the only Dr. we could find that still made house calls.

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm  Comments (2)