Summary of Responsibilities
As a rural pastor, the applicant will do his best to become a part of the community in which he lives. He will get to know the area and culture and find ways to get involved in the community. The applicant’s primary responsibility is to his church and family, but it is expected that he be invigorated by integrating into the local community.
Becoming a part of the community plays a massive role in the pastor’s effectiveness in ministry. Becoming an active community member (rather than just someone who happens to live in that community) builds trust with both church members and unchurched community members. Rural communities often have a deep, cultural history that the pastor must learn quickly in order to understand the people who live there. A rural pastor must also understand that it might take some time before families in that rural community trust him, as they are often a tight-knit group who don’t expect strangers to stay around a long time.
Integrating into the community also helps the local pastor (and his family) quickly develop a deep love for the area and its people. When a pastor loves the place he lives and the people who live near him, he will be more willing to drive long distances to visit with “neighbors,” spend more time with them and care more deeply about the physical, emotional and spiritual struggles they face. This is vital to shepherding and evangelism.
A rural pastor must also understand that he will be largely isolated. He may have no neighbors, and he may have to drive often and far to visit people from the church and community. The local grocery store may be 20 miles away and the nearest hospital two hours. Without a deep love for the place and people, a rural pastor may burnout. However, pastors willing to commit to a rural area often see God move in miraculous ways in their small community.
The ways in which a pastor gets involved will vary from town to town, but a few examples are listed below.
Examples of Rural Opportunities
- Volunteering with the fire department
- Having breakfast once a week at the local café
- Hunting or fishing with people from the area
- Carpooling with individuals making the long trek to “town”
- Helping with a community sports team
Could God be calling you to rural ministry? Use the signup sheet on the left to begin the process of becoming a Village Pastor or intern!
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* Rural areas are generally located outside towns and cities. They have low population densities and small settlements. Common occupations revolve around agriculture, forestry and mining.