Timothy Keller, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, NY, is known for his emphasis on the church’s neglect of the city in its scope of mission. He is one of the primary voices today on the subject of city church planting… and a good one. Maybe that is why I found this particular article of his both encouraging as well as insightful… though the read didn’t start out that way. To be honest, the first paragraph did not invite me to continue reading out of interest but out of criticism (though not many dare say out loud that they disagree with Tim Keller). But when I hear city pastors encourage younger pastors to seek early experience in the small town church by becoming a “country parson,” it usually doesn’t sit well with me. I have often contended that the small town church is not merely a place to “cut your teeth” or to retire; it is real mission field desperate for real missionaries equipped to do real ministry. So, I started the read with arguments already forming in my wind; but as I read on, my push back on the presumed thesis faded and I found myself, a rural pastor, being encouraged by the “city guy.” Thanks, Pastor Keller.

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