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Men Wanted

August 24, 2017

One of the greatest ads of all time is probably a myth. “Men wanted for hazardous journey to the South Pole. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success” The story goes that Ernest Shackleton ran this ad in a London paper before his polar expedition. He was inundated with responses.

America needs small town missionaries. Men who will give no thought to fame, success or fortune. Men who plant churches, restore churches and pastor churches in small places. America needs pastors who will love the people of her small towns. These are communities where there is one gospel preaching church in a 45 mile radius. These are communities where a run to Wal-Mart takes up most of the day and may happen once a month. The biggest event on the calendar takes place at the high school. The locals actually know every one by name.

These are places that suffer quietly. Just because small towns are rural or remote does not mean they are safe from the troubles that afflict cities. Small towns have their own ghettos. Some are their own ghettos. They may not have gangs (some do), but they have the drugs, the promiscuity, the government dependence, the homosexuality, the poverty, the despair and the hopelessness of inner cities. These are places that need the gospel.

Most small town churches will be lucky to reach triple digits. They will never be mega. They will not be hip. They will not build bigger and better buildings. Their entire annual budget will be less than that of many metropolitan households. The church will be filled with parents who have watched their children leave to bigger cities and better opportunities. They will watch their community slowly dwindle. They will all grieve when a local teenager commits suicide. They will struggle together against despair and fear. Their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents carved out a living in that place turning a wilderness into a community. They live there because it is home.

These communities need missionaries. Pastors are needed who will live in and become a part of their small community. Who will not labor for notice. Who will not expect invitations to speak at the next mega conference. Who will help a neighbor slaughter chickens in the morning, sit with an elderly widow in the afternoon and attend the high school football game in the evening. Whose outside speaking engagements will include preaching at the local nursing home, praying at the rotary club and leading a Bible study in the county jail. He will be content because he knows these ministries open doors to share the gospel with other individuals in the community. He will not receive lifetime achievement awards, honorary doctorates or get his picture on the cover of the denominational magazine. He will be content in anonymity because he is not trying to achieve accolades. He is trying to win the soul of Aunt Viola, to gain a hearing from Bobby’s addicted cousin, and to find an open door to share the gospel with Billy’s grandma.

We need pastors content to labor in obscurity loving the 20 sheep entrusted to his care and doing everything possible to see them grow in Christ. Men are needed who will live for the applause of God and the recompense of His reward rather than the notice of men. Men are needed who see the small church as a worthy place to devote their lives not a stepping stone to a bigger ministry.

Some of these small town churches have ministered in their communities for over one hundred years. The community is smaller than it once was. Generations of pastors have come and gone, but a shepherd is still needed to care for the flock of God. Who is going to pour out his life to see souls in small towns snatched from hell? Who is going to invest in the mechanic who will spend his life under a car? Who is going to spend hours in prayer for the logger who will live and die in the woods? Who is going to tear his heart out each week preaching truth to fast food workers, retail clerks, painters, mill workers, janitors and the thousands of people who never get rich, never get ahead, but do get callouses, back aches and dirty fingernails every day of their life? Who is going to minister to the single moms, the abused children, the drug addicts, the alcoholics and the delinquents who have been forgotten by all? America needs pastors with ambition to serve God faithfully and to invest their lives in the most precious thing on earth, the eternal souls of the people filling our small towns.

Men wanted for sacrificial service in a small town. Small wages, rejection, long years of battle against spiritual darkness. Constancy required. Notoriety doubtful. If faithful, honor and reward from the King.

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