Can a small church in a rural setting benefit from a book that is primarily written from the perspective of urban ministry? That was the question I had as I started the book and noticed that much of what was written in “Tradecraft” was targeted at those working in heavily populated areas. So if you are like me and you pastor a church in a rural community you might be wondering if this book is worth picking up. I think it definitely is because many of the techniques and ideas in this book are applicable in any ministry setting.
Here are two of the things I found the most helpful:
1. The chapter “Following The Spirit” is one of the strongest in the entire book and there is a reason it is placed towards the front. The author of this chapter (McCrary) spells out the importance of being Spirit led while engaging in mission and not just being driven by the latest program or idea. The advice to intentionally and prayerfully seek the will of God and follow the leading of the Spirit is something that any church leader can find useful regardless of ministry context.
2. The chapter on “Tribes” (Crider) was very helpful and easy to apply to a variety of contexts. This chapter will prove especially useful to pastors and church leaders who might have grown up in urban or suburban settings and are now leading a church in a rural setting. The culture in a rural area is dramatically different than in many urban areas and learning to recognize the rural “tribes” and become a part of them is just as vital in the country as in the city.
There are also some chapters which might not be quite as useful to those ministering in rural settings. For example, the chapter on mapping, while helpful, is probably not as useful in a community of a few hundred. Also, many rural communities are fairly homogeneous so the chapter on protecting indegeneity might not be as helpful in some communities.
Overall, this is a very helpful book and one that you should add to your bookshelf regardless of whether you minister in an urban hub or a town in the middle of a bunch of wheat fields.