I pastor a small church in a small town in Southern, MN, and this book spoke to me like few others have. My summary of it would be "He's saying everything I've experience, only far better than I could've said it."
From first page to last, Shannon O'Dell writes in a compelling way, challenging all rural pastors to aspire for something great. To not let the fact that because you are in a rural area to limit your creativity and passion for spreading the news about Jesus.
The first attraction of the book is simply that you have someone else who has been there and can relate to your experience as a rural pastor. But the book moves you far beyond this with some excellent ideas on how to push through the "traditional" way of thinking.
From the book:
Four Most Difficult Decisions for a Rural Pastor (pg 38):
1. To pastor in rural America...with low incomes, low resources, and low expectations
2. To reach the lost and unchurched (Most people say they want to reach the lost...until they do and the church starts changing!)
3. To equip the church with accurate and healthy structure...changing laws, constitutions, and church policy as necessary
4. To remove "Holy Cows" to be more effective...such as pews, property, and people
Pastor O'Dell gives ideas on tackling all four of these issues, as well as many others, and does so in a readable non-Scorched Earth kind of way.
Any pastor can benefit from this book, but especially pastors of smaller and more rural churches.
Reading this book was like finding a kindred spirit to minister with, event though we are separated by many hundreds of miles. It was refreshing, a fresh wind in my ministry sails.