Don't Discount Rural Ministry

Important, But Not Ultimate


These days, cities are abuzz with church planting efforts. It's a growing trend among evangelical circles as statistics indicate urbanization happening at increasing rates around the world. As this continues, will rural ministry grow obsolete? Is it more strategic to pursue gospel ministry in cities? Or is doing so short-sighted ambition? Collin Hansen poses these questions to Stephen Um and Jared Wilson who both come from very different ministry backgrounds, but arrive at the same unified vision.

Collin Hansen serves as Editorial Director for The Gospel Coalition. Stephen Um is the Senior Minister of Citylife Presbyterian Church in Boston, Massachusetts. Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and Managing Editor of the seminary's website for gospel-centered resources, For the Church.


Stephen noted that while cities matter, they do not matter more than other places. How have you reacted to this rise in city-oriented ministry efforts? As you consider your own views, do you have an unbalanced preference for one context over the other? If so, why?
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To look down upon any form of ministry is ultimately a form of arrogance, but there both Stephen and Jared agreed on the strategic value of engaging cities as the world grows more urbanized. Can you identify some of the strategic benefits of ministering in an urban area? What about the drawbacks? How do these influence the potential for the gospel to spread?
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Collin pointed out that rural areas increasingly make up some of the lowest church attendance in the U.S. Did this shift your perspective at all towards rural ministry? If so, how?
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Where has God called you to ministry? How could you use your influence to assist ministry efforts in rural areas? Or if God has called you to rural ministry, how could you use your influence to contribute to work in cities?
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In any context, patience is necessary for long-term faithfulness in ministry. How have you found this to be true in your own experience? Are there areas where you struggle with patience? What steps could you take to improve?
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The gospel is needed wherever there are people. God uses individuals of all kinds to proclaim the good news of His Son, Jesus Christ. As King David wrote, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it" (Ps. 24:1). God cares for the whole of humanity and desires for all to be saved, which means every place matters for ministry. Ask God to continue supplying you with understanding as to where He would have you proclaim His gospel and be bold in your obedience to His direction for your life.


For more information about The Gospel Coalition, click here.