This week’s blog is a stump for my podcast interview with Jim Graff. Jim is a new friend. A former missionary, he set out to lead a large church that could support missions in a big way–however, God had a detour in mind.
After his stint as a missionary, Jim led a small congregation, in a small town to rapid growth. The result? He was offered a larger church in a Dallas, Texas suburb. As he puts it this was in the epicenter of megachurches. He visited the potential new job promotion, incognito. During that visit the Lord spoke to him about staying where he was, pastoring a significant church in a smaller town. He stayed in Victoria Falls, Texas.
Over the years Faith Family Church has grown into a megachurch despite being located in a smaller community. Along the way, Jim became aware of the struggle of many leaders in smaller towns. The result is the Significant Church Network bringing leaders from churches in smaller communities together for fellowship, training and strength.
I recently spoke at a Significant Church event where I came away greatly imppressed by the love, camraderie and lack of any hint of competition between the pastors I met. I was even more impressed by the massive impact some are having in some very small places. This is not a Texas initiative–these people came from all across America. I even met a church multiplier who pastors a megachurch in a smaller town in Mexico while launching 20-plus church planters.
The upshot, for me, is that I’ve learned that one-fourth of the population of the United States lives in towns and rural areas numbering fewer than 25,000 people. I’m amazed at the opportunities as well as the needs in these often overlooked communities.