You have just moved to a Rural community in the midwest. This is a total culture shock to you. This situation plays out time and time again all over the country (not just the midwest). In my previous post I shared five of the ten people you need to know in Rural Youth Ministry. Here are the top five:

5. The Church Secretary. The church secretary is a person that holds contact and scheduling information that is vital to your work in youth ministry. She also needs to be kept in the loop about plans that the youth ministry has placed on their departmental calendar.

4. A contact for the local youth ministry network. This is vital in Rural Youth MInistry Whether hosted by your denomination or someone like NNYM (link here), you need people that can help with resources, ideas, and relationships that tell you, that you are not out there alone. If you want to know more about what networking looks like in a Rural Ministry, I spend a whole chapter discussing it in Rural Youth Ministry: Thrive Where You’re Planted.

3. A couple volunteers that served in your church before you came. Find out what you can about what programming and leadership development looked like. Find out what events were well attended and why they worked. It can also be helpful to find out about what conflicts took place and how they were resolved. In many cases, re-inventing the wheel is not necessary and there may be a great foundation to build on instead of “blowing it up and starting over”

2. A member of the local homeschool network/co-op. Rural communities often lack any private or Christian school options. This leaves parents with the choice of public school or homeschool. Many (my family included) have chosen homeschooling as an option to help ensure strong Biblical values in education. Some parents choose homeschooling for non-religious reasons. There are few “campus ministry” opportunities that reach homeschoolers. Discover how you can partner with the local co-op and provide that connection from your ministry to those homeschool families

1. Your direct supervisor. In many denominations and churches, this looks different. It may be a Senior Pastor, a board, another staff pastor, or a denominational body. Find out who you report to. You may be getting bad information from someone who just wants to “stir the pot” in the local church.

Brent Lacy is the Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church, Rockville, Indiana. He is the author of “Rural Youth Ministry: Thrive Where You’re Planted”. He blogs with other Rural Youth Workers