Tim Keller is cool. In a geek-chic kind of way. So when he talks about city ministry being important people get all excited and want to plant churches in the heart of big, pagan cities… just like Keller did.
But Keller has a piece of sage advice for those wanting the best ministry experience to build a platform of longevity on…
Young pastors or seminarians often ask me for advice on what kind of early ministry experience to seek in order to best grow in skill and wisdom as a pastor. They often are surprised when I tell them to consider being a ‘country parson’ — namely, the solo pastor of a small church, many or most of which are in non-urban settings. Let me quickly emphasize the word ‘consider.’ I would never insist that everyone must follow this path. Nevertheless, it is worth thinking about. It was great for me.
Yeah. Preach it brother.
Some will be surprised to hear me say this, since they know my emphasis on ministry in the city. Yes, I believe firmly that the evangelical church has neglected the city. It still is difficult to get Christians and Christian leaders to make the sacrifices necessary to live their lives out in cities. However, the disdain many people have for urban areas is no worse than the condescending attitudes many have toward small towns and small churches.
I’ve said it once (literally), I’ve said it a thousand times (metaphorically)… cutting the teeth of young ministers in regional areas makes sense on both the pragmatic and evangelistic levels.
It’s good for the minister – and it’s good for regional areas.