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At the beginning of any ministry, the countless tasks are all so new, and sometimes all so confusing. How do you sort the necessary from the merely urgent? And especially entering a small, rural church, where should you focus your efforts? A young man recently posed these questions to David Hansen, who pastors two rural churches in Montana. LEADERSHIP received a copy of David's response, and we felt it offered insight even for experienced pastors.

Dear Gary,

We are rejoicing with you about your impending call. You asked if I'd put on paper some of my thoughts about starting a new ministry in a small church. I've been at my present call almost seven years. Since I have two very different churches, my experiences have been experienced twice. But I am young at this pastoral thing, so I present these ideas with some reticence. Nevertheless, here they are.

1. Spend the first year learning what the church does well. After all, it has survived; there must be a reason. Find that reason. Learning ...

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