Are you called to be a rural pastor?
Rural living can be an exciting way of life. Far from the hustle and bustle of shopping malls and rush hour traffic, rural folks live a quieter life. Rural people are known for enjoying outdoor activities and sports, and they can often be very self-sufficient. Yet, they need Jesus as much as anyone else.
A rural pastor must be very driven, because ministry opportunities rarely knock on his door. He must go out and pursue them. In rural America, a “neighbor” is someone who lives within a 5-mile radius, so you must be willing to drive many miles each week to visit homes and hospitals.
Despite the distance between houses, rural people are often still incredibly close and take pride in their community. To build trust with the people in a rural community, many pastors join the volunteer fire department or get breakfast the corner café once a week. If there is a community event, you can count on the rural pastor to be there.
You will have the normal duties of a pastor, such as preaching and teaching. However, your most meaningful conversations will often take place while fishing, assembling a boat dock or processing a deer after a fall hunt.
You will identify the culture and heartbeat of your rural community and find ways to integrate yourself into it. It might take a while before families in that rural community trust you, as they are often a tight-knit group who don’t expect strangers to stay around a long time. Yet, as you continue to love the people and show them you care about their community, trust will slowly begin to grow.
Without a deep love for rural places and people, a rural pastor may quickly experience burnout. However, pastors willing to commit to a rural area often see God move in miraculous ways in their rural community.
The ways in which a pastor gets involved will vary place to place, 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.