3 Challenges of Small-Town Ministry

Donnie Griggs | September 1, 2017


In early 2009, my wife and I moved from Los Angeles (population 3.8 million) to plant One Harbor Church in my hometown of Morehead City, North Carolina—a small town of around 9,000 people. Convinced that urban ministry in places like L.A. was big and important, I had low expectations for our small-town church plant.

To my surprise, our little church experienced amazing growth. On our second Sunday, a drug addict was saved on his way to kill himself, and he began bringing people to church week after week. Inundated with people, we struggled to find a facility that could hold them or leaders who could lead them. We moved into an abandoned gas station, then a restaurant, then an old theater, before finally going multisite simply to accommodate growth.

I had to beef up my leadership skills and learn how to lead something larger than 30 folks in a living room. So I started reading books for church planters, but they all seemed to be doing ministry in large, urban contexts. Before long, I learned rural ministry comes with three major challenges.

1. You’re doing ministry in a fishbowl.

In a small town you’re extremely visible, which has its ups and downs. Growing up I remember…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-challenges-of-small-town-ministry.