Are You a Good or Bad Local? image

Are You a Good or Bad Local?

In Small Town Jesus, which Matt recently reviewed for us, Donnie Griggs has written about a much-needed topic: how to do Christian ministry in small towns. When I met him recently, I was astonished to hear that the church he leads has a congregation of about 900 in a community of 9,000 (plus two other sites in other small towns); he obviously knows about this subject from experience. But for all the diagnosis of the reasons why we don't do small town ministry well, and for all the explanations of why we should, the highlight of the book for me was the set of diagnostic questions he asked for small town pastors. Are you a good or a bad local?

Do you frequently shop where local people do and eat where they eat?

Do you think that the way you act when you don’t receive good customer service is helping or hurting your ability to be a good local? [Given that every person you whinge about, or even yell at from your car, is bound to bump into you sooner or later, this is really important in smaller communities, and he tells some good stories on this one.]

Do people think that you wish you lived somewhere else, maybe where you used to live before?

Have you joined any clubs or sporting teams?

Have you bought a home?

Do people love that you are in their town? Have you had any interactions with city officials where they have reached out to you for help? What about when you have contacted the city: is it only to get something like a favour or a permit, or have you approached them to see how your church can serve or be a blessing?

Food for thought.

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