A rural oldtimer and a young bruised pastor tell what they think makes the difference.

When a grassroots church calls a green pastor, spiritual growth often suffers.


A young pastor's theological expertise often exceeds his ability to cherish each of his charges. He wants to communicate the gospel in fresh ways to ears accustomed to threadbare formulas, so he puts his energies there.

Changing "threadbare formulas" disturbs the grassroots church member. Formulas that are timeworn for a new pastor are time-tested for most of the people. They want to hear them as they've always heard them; and they want to hear them from someone who cares. The common man doesn't read theology, he lives it.

This mismatch often occurs in small-town churches, since financially they can afford only inexperienced pastors. Every few years Smallville calls yet another brand-new preacher.

The following two pieces represent each side of this mismatch. Mrs. Floyd K. Chapman, who lives in a small (1064 population) Midwestern town, wrote Joe Bayly in response to an article she read about the suspicions ...

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