When one considers the enormous task of church planting in rural North America, the logistics seem insurmountable. Where will the pastoral families come from; and how will they be trained? The demand is far greater than the supply. Bible colleges are ever increasing their focus on urban ministries. Large-venue (or, possibly menu) churches along with their executive-style pastors are catching the eyes and excitement of the generation Y crowd. And, for those that end up in rural places, they are often met with the stereotype that they're a second-rate pastor serving in a third-rate church. Of course, you already know nothing could be further from the truth. How does a person become involved in perpetuating the flow of quality, well-trained and prepared workers in small-town North America? Easy, I believe. I think we need to follow the biblical pattern of modeling/mentoring. I'll spare you the sermon, but I will point out one verse:
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
The word commit is παρατίθημι. It means to "set beside/before someone" or "to make a deposit". It is really a TRANSFER of that which you've been given to the LIFE of someone else so they may be able (sufficient in ability) to PERPETUATE the process. So, how is that process coming in your life? How are you strategically working to perpetuate the role of preparing workers for ministry? Would you like to?
Almost weekly, I speak with young couples/individuals regarding serving with RHMA as interns. I can assure you of a couple of things. First, they are not looking for "exposure" to rural ministry--they're looking for "field experience" that will equip them to serve where God has called them. Second, they want to roll up their sleeves and learn the mechanics of living and serving God in rural places. They want someone who will TRANSFER the knowledge they've been given, to them. They are not looking for a three month stint on a dude ranch. They want to see the power of the Gospel at work in rural America!
This generation of church planters are looking for authenticity that moves beyond the ideals of the classroom...to the realities of the field. They want God's Word applied to life. The only way they'll learn that is through others--like you--who are willing to apply the type of mentoring demonstrated by Paul and Timothy.
What would happen if you decided to pour your life into a young ministry couple? Could you imagine the joy of following their ministry over the years, and watching them flourish in the fields where God plants them?