Podcast Episode 024, 50 min
Rural Church Rescue, with Jon Sanders (Ep. 24)

And so I surrendered and it's been an incredible story. We moved to a rural community in South Dakota, which is kind of unnecessary to put the qualifier on there. You know, everything in South Dakota is rural. But planted a church and have learned a lot of lessons about what it looks like to build a healthy church in a small, rural community.

So that's kind of my bio in a nutshell. Went from firefighting into ministry. And then the crazy twist, I guess I should add this t,o, a few years ago, about seven years ago now, I had an opportunity to go back into full-time firefighting in addition to being a pastor. So now we've got an established church in multiple rural communities and it is almost like God said, Jon, here it is, you gave this up to follow me and I'm giving it back. I write way cooler stories than you can, so here it is, if you want it. And so I'm back in the business, so to speak. I get to do both.

Karl Vaters: Oh, that’s great. And you also oversee Small Town, Big Church, you do a lot of work with other rural pastors from the book to conferences and so on, which we'll talk about at the end so people can find you and get more information from you.

So what you've done with the book, which I love, is you take basically the lessons from firefighting, and you apply it to the church. When you call the EMT’s, when you call the firefighters to come to your house, there are certain things you expect from them, and there's real parallels to the church. And what I love about this parallel particularly is there's a lot of people who have been very adept at taking business principles or like a business model and say, Hey, here's how it would work in the church, and I'm always iffy about that because, well, the premise for a business model is to make money. And while there might be one or two lessons we can learn, there's huge red flags about trying to take business models and impose them on the church. It just doesn't work. It's not designed to do that. But firefighters, their job is to rescue and save people, not to make money. So the parallels are so much more direct. And I love the idea of taking wisdom from a totally different field of study and a totally different experience and comparing it to where we are. That's where the new ideas, the synergy of two great ideas come together. If the only thing I'm researching is other church leaders, then I'm only going to discover what other church leaders have already discovered. But if I can pull it in from another field of practice, we might discover something new that nobody's seen before by comparing and contrasting the two. And I think you've done some of that in this, which I really love. So you're starting salvo - I'm going to call it this. Even before you get to chapter one in the intro, you propose on pages, VI and VII.

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March 9, 2022

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