Transforming Church in Rural America

There’s a problem in the American church.  Almost every young pastor or church planter wants to be urban – part of the hip, downtown scene where life is fast-paced and million-dollar deals are made over five-dollar lattes.  Those who wouldn’t consider themselves urban missionaries, find more comfort in the suburbs where sprawling mega-churches reach the masses and good fences make good neighbors.  But next to no one responds to God’s call to Smalltown, USA.

Maybe because tractor tires, chicken-houses, and dairy farms aren’t sexy.  Maybe it’s because country people are too far behind the technology of our day.  Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because there’s no good, modern-day example of a strong, rural church can be.

Consider that reason undone.

In Transforming Church in Rural America, Shannon O’Dell takes the myths of rural American churches and strips them bare, showing them to be lies.  He unmistakably believes and claims that God has called him to rural Arkansas (of all places!), and his faithfulness to that call is shaking things up.

In this book, O’Dell tells the story of his call from a thriving metro-church in Oklahoma City to a small-town, country church in South Lead Hill, Arkansas, and the decisions and values that transitioned Southside Baptist Church (of about 31 people when he was voted their pastor) into what is now Brand New Church (a thriving multi-site church of several thousand).  I don’t consider myself a pragmatist in the sense that the end justifies the means, but after reading his story, I’m compelled to listen.

And even though I don’t pastor in a rural setting, this book is applicable in any setting.  I have already begun to put some practices in place and am in the process of adding more in the near future.  This book will transform and challenge your leadership in whatever context you find yourself.

The publisher, New Leaf Publishing Group, has setup a nice website with supplemental videos, free resources, and community interaction here, while you can order your very own copy of the book here.

Finally, because the publisher loves you (they kind of proved that by offering free copies to everyone who wanted it two weeks ago), they are giving you a second chance to snag a free copy.  That means that you can win a free copy of Transforming Church in Rural America!   Just leave a comment and sign up here. Remember, one in every 10 comments will win.

This book was provided for review by New Leaf Publishing Group

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