Small-Town Ministry Is Big with Opportunity

The Gospel Coalition | 5/22/2019 | Staff
TimHyuga (Posted by) Level 3
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While I was in seminary, I attended a church-planting conference put on by Acts 29. One of my main takeaways was the strategic importance of planting urban churches and reaching big cities with the gospel. This all resonated with me. Ministry is about going where the people are, and increasingly, people are in the cities.

As I continued my studies, I started to make plans to plant a church in Vancouver, British Columbia (population 2 million), where I was attending seminary. I could see the massive need for gospel witness in that city, and I reasoned there was no point in moving elsewhere.

God - Providence - Ohio

In God’s providence, I moved to rural Ohio.

God opened the door for me to pastor a small country church in the town of Sulphur Springs (population 194). I served four years there before being called to another church Waverly, New York (population 4,444). Though still a small town, this community had a different vibe to it. The neighboring town even had a Walmart.

Years - Wife - God - Teeth - Ministry

After about three years, my wife and I sensed God was calling us elsewhere. Having cut our teeth on small-town, small-church ministry, we thought it was maybe time to make the jump to urban ministry. Perhaps not as big as Vancouver, but at least a city we had actually heard of before.

To make a long story short, we were called to serve in Snow Shoe, Pennsylvania (population 765).

Snow - Shoe - Town - Mountain - I-80

Snow Shoe is an old coal-mining town situated on a mountain just off I-80 in central Pennsylvania. When we first moved to Snow Shoe, there wasn’t much housing inventory to choose from, so we rented until a suitable house came on the market. During this time, many people in the church made it clear they wanted us right in Snow Shoe and not “down the mountain” or in some neighboring...
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