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My Church's Inferiority Complex

How one congregation traded the "poor little us" mindset for new confidence.

Tell Boss Hogg 'Hi' when you see him!" I could feel my blood pressure rise as I endured another sarcastic remark about the area where I pastor. "This is the town of Hazard," I often have to remind people, "with one z."

People in Hazard, Kentucky, already struggle with a poor self-image, and comparisons with "The Dukes of Hazzard" TV show don't help. For the record, the "Dukes" were caricatures from fictitious Hazzard County, Georgia.

Here in the town of Hazard in Perry County, Kentucky, I've never seen Boss Hogg, our police officer isn't named Enis, and Uncle Jesse's boys don't drive wildly around "these here parts" in an orange Dodge Charger named "General Lee."

But in Appalachia, we still combat stereotypes, and losing to them, we suffer from inferiority complexes. Even the church I pastor.

Early in my ministry here, I visited a church in another state and was asked to give a brief testimony concerning our ministry.

I described the area's traditional, family-oriented culture. I wanted them ...

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