Written by 11:09 am Book Review

The Forgotten Church: Why Rural Ministry Matters For Every Church In America By Glenn Daman

The Forgotten Church: Why Rural Ministry Matters for Every Church in America

Glenn Damam wrote The Forgotten Church: Why Rural Ministry Matters for Every Church in America from the perspective of a rural pastor, raised in a rural setting, and ministering for decades in rural churches. He understands the rural church and sees the contribution rural churches makes to the broader church community. As the title indicates Daman observes the forgotten and marginalized nature of the rural church. He observed the misunderstood nature of the rural community, “When we fail to understand and value a culture and people, we will eventually devalue and probably ridicule them. This is true of the rural culture” (Daman 2018, 31) . He explains the cultural foundations and ramifications for ministry and corrects ideas about rural that come from popular folklore and do not reflect the rural community nor the people who live there (Daman 2018, 32) . Daman addresses the myths and misconceptions believed by the broader church and that give incomplete or inaccurate ideas about the rural church and ministry, cloud the true value of rural churches, and discourage the prospects for ministry in the rural American communities.

Years of firsthand rural insight give Daman a deep understanding of rural culture. Rural communities have unique views and cultural tendencies. He uses Biblical and contemporary examples, such as the Apostle Paul’s adapting to culture for impactful ministry. Daman (2018, 79) noted, “Understanding rural culture begins with understanding the practices, objects, beliefs, and values influence the way people live and the world.” Rural people view the land, family, community, values, and the church through a different lens than their urban and suburban neighbors (Daman 2018, 80-91) . These nuances shape and shade the large and small parts of rural churches and communities.

Daman covers broad rural topics such as a theology of rural ministry, developing partnerships, poverty, racial tensions, contributions, mission fields, and future of the rural churches. His research and insights addressed a critical challenge for rural ministry; “The greatest challenge for rural churches in the future will be the recruitment and retention of pastors to serve their local congregation” (Daman, 226) . That challenge continues to grow for the rural community as older pastors retire.

The book provides a perspective that address challenges while recognizing strengths of rural ministry that may differ from many suburban and urban ministries. The forgotten churches make great contributions to the God’s kingdom and bring transformation to the communities where God planted them. Daman’s book provides a valuable resource and tools for those who want to lead well and grow in their insight of the rural church.

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