By Makenzie McNeill, Staff Writer/Stewardship Assistant
I found the Village Missions website with ease. Because I had absolutely no idea what this ministry was about, I began my learning process with no expectations.
After seconds of perusing the front page, I quickly noticed 3 phrases that stood out to me:
- Keeping Country Churches Alive.
- Rural Ministry.
Country churches? I grew up in a small town in Texas. I know all about country churches – they’re everywhere. Keeping them alive? Are they dying or something? I thought small towns with country churches were the most evangelized places in our nation.
Rural ministry? What is that? I know what rural means: small towns, not lots of people. The opposite of urban and city life. Again, aren’t these places already heavily evangelized with unlimited choices in where people attend church? My small hometown had 20 churches in the city limits!
Missionary? The United States needs missionaries? It’s the most evangelized place on earth. Everyone is a Christian, or at least has heard what the “gospel” is. Right?
Discovering the Unknown Mission Field
The more I read about Village Missions, the more frustrated and confused I found myself. This search challenged each one of my preconceived stances on evangelism, ministry, and the church in America – and I didn’t like it.
I scanned through every tab on the website – from the doctrinal statement to where these “Village Missionaries” serve. As I did, I noticed that all the VM churches were not in the Bible Belt, and there I found my first clue to understanding this ministry more.
I expended several hours and energy reading obsessively through the VM website, along with watching almost all the videos on their Vimeo & YouTube accounts. And while I did originally plan to spend the rest of my evening watching YouTube videos, these were not what I had in mind! Rural North America – is there actually a need here that I didn’t even know existed? Could I have just unearthed a need that a lot of people do not know about?
Befuddled. Bewildered. Bamboozled. Baffled. Some other fun adjective that encompasses the chaotic commotion that was going on in my mind!
The Next Step
Well, I’ll have to admit, I thought. Although I’m still not entirely sure what Village Missions is all about, I’m intrigued enough to apply for this position.
I returned to the job posting and found the instructions for how to apply for the position. I was supposed to email a copy of my resume to some guy named Tim Griffiths, the Director of Stewardship.
So I followed the instructions and sent off my resume to this Tim fellow. Then I closed my laptop, feeling satisfied with my night’s work (yet a part of me lamented at the missed opportunity to watch funny animal videos). I fell asleep that night a little uneasy that my misconceptions about ministry were so unexpectedly challenged. But, I determined nonetheless to learn more in the upcoming days.
I estimated that I would have a few weeks to continue learning more about Village Missions and the work they do in rural areas before I was contacted by anyone. That’s the timeline for most jobs, anyway. That would give me plenty of time to learn more about the spiritual plight of rural places here in my own country – a need that I had never considered before.
So, imagine my shock when I checked my email the following morning, and I had a new email waiting to be opened. From Mr. Tim Griffiths.