Why God needs you in a small town.
Here is the problem with Small Town, USA and leadership: nobody feels “called” to a smaller town. This is especially true in ministry. Motivating people to go and convincing people to stay are the two largest hurdles for any small town.
Here are some of the key reasons:
The majority of people are urban-centric minded. Often, this preference becomes an idol. People want to drink good coffee. They want to ensure their wife can shop at Target or Pier 1. And they most certainly want the opportunity to rise in their social media following. Small towns can not hold up to these worldly comforts, therefore they lack in leadership.
The majority of people forget about the importance of small towns. First and foremost, there are still people living in these towns. Perhaps you have lost your interest in these smaller towns, but understand that Jesus never did. Jesus himself was from a small town, and the majority of his ministry was spent talking with ordinary, hard-working individuals who lived on the fringe of society.
The majority of people have a distorted image of what happens in small towns. This is specifically true in the ministry realm. Many people grew up watching television shows like Andy Griffith, where in the city of Mayberry where little-to-no trouble could be found. In reality, many towns, Mayberry included, are riddled with addiction, human trafficking, and depression.
Too many people have lost sight of the importance of being in Small Town, USA. These towns hold equal importance to God as metropolitans and urban centers; these towns are filled with people who are desperate for the love and grace extended from Jesus.
This fact became all too real for me when I begin watching Netflix’s newest documentary, The Innocent Man. The story follows the investigation of Ron Williamson who sat on Oklahoma’s death row for 11 years for a crime he claimed he did not commit. Now, I don’t want to get into the politics of the show, or give out any spoilers of what was revealed throughout the case. Instead, I want to quickly look at the gruesome events that took place.
Kidnaped. Stabbed. Raped. Murdered. Buried. Burned: a secession of words you never want to see attached to the names of two, young, innocent women. These acts came as a result of drugs, drinking, addiction, and terrible upbringings. This all took place in Small Town, USA. All of this still takes place in Small Town, USA.
Wherever you are or wherever you are going to end up, God can use you there. If you are like me and live in a smaller town, you understand the difficulties we can face on a regular basis. My encouragement to you is to discover why God has placed you where you are, and to live each moment there to its fullest potential. I can guarantee that people are suffering near you. The size of the town does not determine the need for God.
If you live in Small Town, USA (or any small town, anywhere), thank you so much for what you are doing. I understand it is not always easy, but is most certainly will always be worth it. I look forward to hearing how God continues to use you where you are.