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All Ministry Is Local

Why ministry models are not universally applicable.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a gathering for small church pastors and lay leaders in rural eastern Michigan (locals call it "the thumb"). Eleven or so churches were represented; about 45 folks showed up, all members of the "Thumb Ministry Group." They had read my book together as a group, discussed it at a meeting, and then invited me to come lead them in a daylong reflection/Q&A/workshop experience that would help them apply the principles in the book to their specific ministry contexts.

It was a great day, from my perspective. The group was interactive, engaged, and prepared. They are learning among them to approach ministry cooperatively, which I find very encouraging. Despite the fact that all of them minister amid tough social challenges–i.e. the unemployment rate is well over 10 percent in that part of the state; so many young working families are abandoning ship–they were all there bright and early, enthusiastic to seek the Lord's wisdom for their churches.

One thing that struck ...

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