I grew up on a farm in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and in a small rural church. I’m proud to serve in another small rural church. Recently I re-read an article by Baptist pastor Gary Farley entitled “Jesus Was a Country Preacher,” and though it’s been around a while, it’s still good food for thought for those of us who serve in country congregations. Click on the title to read it.
I also recently listened to the audiobook edition of country singer Clay Walker’s new book Jesus Was A Country Boy, an extended reflection on the themes he explores in a song by the same title. Walker meditates on many of the stories of Jesus and points out a correlation between the teachings of Jesus and the values Walker learned growing up in the country, such as generosity and simplicity. Despite a minor theological quibble in a couple of places, I enjoyed Walker’s meditations and can see them as fodder for devotionals and sermons on the texts he looks at. He also briefly mentions the ministry of rural congregations and urges people to get involved in their projects, such as food pantries to feed the hungry. I’m thinking about writing to him to ask him to share some more thoughts about that. I wonder if he goes to a country church when he’s home on his farm.
Here’s a youtube video of his song: