You’ve seen it played out. A church decides to put on a Christmas play. As the show comes together, someone fails to learn his lines, another skips practices, and the whole production is underfunded. When asked about why more attention and effort isn’t put into the show, the response is, “Well, it’s just (small town).”
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say, “It’s just (small town).” When we first moved to Jordan, I made it a personal mission to remove, “It’s just Jordan,” from our church’s vocabulary. This phrase is often used to justify mediocrity or even a lack of concern. However, using that phrase implies four thoughts about small towns.
1. Small towns are less important.
Probably the most harmful implication is that a small town is less important than a big city. The idea that since a person lives in a small town they get leftovers and must settle for those that couldn’t cut it in the big time places. Far too many people believe the best of the best serve in big cities, big ministries, and influential places.
A result of this idea is that pastors are just there to learn so that they can one day move to a bigger town and bigger church. What a waste of an opportunity to truly minister to people that Jesus loves and called you to love.
Remeber the cost of salvation for a person in a small town or a big town was the same. It was the death of Jesus.
2. Small towns do not care about quality.
Do not mistake the graciousness of people in small towns as an endorsement. Due to the nature of small towns, graciousness maintains a sense of community. People must work together for the good of the town. Therefore being polite, courteous, and forgiving is common. This does not, however, mean that the people of small towns do not want excellence.
I was told in bible college. “They’ll overlook your bad preaching if you are a good pastor.” While the sentiment is very true, it does not mean that the people don’t want good preaching.
3. Small towns can not do better.
I have actually been told, “What did you expect, it’s just Jordan.” Really!?! Do you expect me to believe that the people of my community are not capable of better? Some of the most talented people I know are from small towns.
Some have forgone the chance to make more money or gain more fame for the benefits of living in a small town. This is a conscious choice, not a compromise. The abilities of small towns may surprise many.
Small towns can do better and often do!
4. Small towns have less impact.
The motto of Jordan Community Bible Church is: Connecting with God, Connecting with People, Changing the World. I really believe that God can use our little church, our little town, to change the world.
This little town in the middle of nowhere Montana may produce the next Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham, or Lottie Moon. We must not discount what God can do in and through a small town.