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Rivers Run Through Them

When in July 1999 I shifted from a pastorate in Belgrade, Montana, to one in Cincinnati, Ohio, the 1,700 miles hardly seem enough to account for the differences between the two worlds.

Has my ministry changed with the new setting? Yes. Some changes I expected, some I did not. The unexpected changes have been the easy ones. The changes I expected have been the more difficult.

Demographically the churches are not as different as one might expect. Belgrade doesn't have a lot of Proctor & Gamble execs and Cincinnati isn't long on cowboys, but the two churches have a comparable percentage of professional and blue-collar workers. Both churches enjoy a healthy generational spread with lots of babies, boomers, X-ers, seniors, and fine youth groups.

A full Sunday at the church in Belgrade ran about 250. A full Sunday at the church in Cincinnati runs about 500. The church budget in Cincinnati more than doubles the budget in Belgrade, and we employ more than twice the staff. This reflects the simple ...

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