So many leaders write off small towns and villages as places not worth investing in. Donnie Griggs would beg to differ.
He tells the story of how he planted a church in a town of 9000, only to see it grow to one with 1600-1800 people in small towns and villages. Donnie talks about how to find leaders, surviving the fishbowl and what works and what doesn’t in a smaller setting.
Welcome to Episode 234 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
What are you doing in 2019 to help grow your people spiritually? Visit RedLetterChallenge.com/Carey and save 10% to 40% on the 40 day church package that’s right for you.
Maximize giving at your church. Visit Pushpay.com/Carey to receive an exclusive offer for podcast listeners and discover why churches see an increase in giving by using Pushpay’s digital mobile strategy.
3 Insights from Donnie
1. Urban-centric idols and the lack of theological and missional clarity are keeping people from small town ministry
Recruiting leaders to minister in small towns isn’t an easy task – and motivating them to stay is even harder. Here’s what Donnie says are the three main things keeping people from small town ministry:
Urban-centric Idolatry: Good coffee, great shopping and the potential for thousands of twitter followers won’t be found in most small towns. Unfortunately, those worldly comforts are keeping many from ministering in less attractive zip codes.
Theological Grid: A theological grid hasn’t been well established. People forget the important connection that Jesus himself was born in a small town, did big things in small towns and sent his disciples to small towns.
Missional Clarity: There’s a massive need for missional movement in small towns. People still have a very simplistic view of these regions – Andy Griffith’s Mayberry town. But in reality, these areas are riddled with addiction, human trafficking, and depression.
2. Admitting imperfection isn’t always embraced in a small town
When a pastor admits to being human, it’s usually well-received and accepted by the church community in a larger suburb or city setting. Church goers like knowing their pastor struggles with the same issues and isn’t trying to be perfect. Being real is refreshing.
But in many small towns, that’s not always the case. Smaller, rural congregations tend to hold their pastors up on pedestals and want to assume they have their lives all together.
If you find yourself in this type of situation, whatever your church setting, it’s important to continue to show them your flaws in an honest, relatable way, even if you’re met with pushback. Keep bringing home the point that there’s only one Jesus and he is definitely not you.
3. God wants you to share the gospel wherever he’s placed you
If you are struggling with where God has placed you today, don’t lose hope. Remember that God is sovereign and predetermined where you are right now – where you were and whatever’s coming next. You could have been born in anytime in history, anywhere in the world, but he put you where you are right now because that’s where he wants you to be.
Right now where you are has big problems that only Jesus can solve and he wants to use you to do something about them. Consider how you can make the gospel relevant to the people all around you because they need it desperately. God put you there to give it to them.
Quotes from Episode 234We thought small town America was fine, so we focused on suburbs and cities. There's been 50 or 60 years since people took rural ministry seriously and we can now see the ramifications for that. @TheCarolinaDon Click To Tweet People want to be known of, but they don't want to be known. That's just human nature. You want everybody to like you at a distance. @TheCarolinaDon Click To Tweet It's a challenge to fight to build away from yourself in a culture that wants to build towards you. @TheCarolinaDon Click To Tweet
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
Solve the Problems Most Leaders Miss: Didn’t See It Coming Will Help
If you want practical help overcoming some of the biggest challenges leaders face, my new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.
I wrote the book because no 18 year old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s what top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:
“Seriously, this may be the most important book you read this year.” Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor, Central Church
“Powerful, personal, and highly readable. ” Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong
“Whatever challenge you’re facing, whatever obstacle you’re hoping to overcome, whatever future you dream or imagine, there is something powerful for you here.” Andy Stanley, Founder, North Point Ministries
“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author
“Masterful.” Reggie Joiner, CEO Orange
“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author
“This book is sure to help you.” Daniel H. Pink, NYT bestselling author
Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author
“Nieuwhof’s book provides expert guidance…with an accuracy that pierces the heart.” Nancy Duarte, CEO Duarte Inc.
“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY
Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.
Subscribe using your favorite podcast app via
Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review
Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?
The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.
Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.
Thank you for being so awesome.
Next Episode: John Van Pay
John Van Pay’s first decade of ministry didn’t go the way he planned. He was driven and ambitious, but his wife was ready to leave him. That caught John’s attention. He then went on to plant a church with the stated plan of being home 5 nights a week. He honored that. Within a decade, Gateway Church became the fastest growing church in America. John explains how to find margin even in a season of growth and how to say no to stay focused.
Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 235.