Thursday, July 15, 2010

A must read book for rural pastors

I just wrote a review over on for what I am comfortable in saying will be one of my top 3 books for 2010 - Transforming Church in Rural America by Pastor Shannon O'Dell.  Below is that review, and I would highly recommend you give this book a read, even if you aren't a pastor, even if you aren't in a rural church.  Really clear insight into transforming the church to better share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know I'll be purchasing a few extra copies and sending them to some friends (like to Brenton Balvin)

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.


Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

As a writer, a farmer's wife and one who attends a fellowship surrounded by corn fields, the pews filled with farmers, I can't wait to read this --- and pass it on to our rural pastor.

Thank you for this! The High Calling Blog Community appreciates you thoughtful posts!

All's grace,
Ann Voskamp

Chris Meirose said...

Thanks for stopping my my corner of the internet Ann! I checked out your blog as well and really like how it works visually - simple clean and clear!