Dynamics of Small Town Ministry

by Lawrence W. Farris. Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.

Small town ministry is a specialized and growing ministry. There are at least 115,000 congregations located in non-metropolitan areas, and this number is increasing. Yet, most urban residents—including clergy—know much less about small town experience than small town residents know about urban living.

With understanding and respect, Lawrence Farris provides an introduction to ministering in these smaller places. He tells us that, contrary to common assumptions, small town ministry is complex and challenging. In addition, while denominational hierarchies often praise the 'idea' of the small church, they tend to concentrate their energies on serving the larger and more diverse congregations.

The first half of this slim volume describes small towns and their dynamics, with the understanding that ministers are better prepared if they begin their research with the town itself (its geography, history, culture, and values), rather than with the congregation. The second half contains practical advice for current and future small town ministers.

'Dynamics of Small Town Ministry' is likely to be useful for those in general preparing for ministry, and for those in particular preparing for or practicing ministry in a small town. It also may be useful to denominational leaders who have small town ministries within their field of responsibility.