Aaron Morrow, the author of Small Town Mission, and I had an interesting start to our friendship. If you compare the titles and covers of our two books, you will notice a ton of similarity. Truthfully, we only found out about each other’s books after our respective books were out. Additionally, we both found out about each other’s books through friends who were suspicious that the other had stolen the idea. Thankfully, we were both pretty Christian about it, and chose to communicate directly with each other rather then blast each other from the cannons of our social media platforms. It’s not a new idea, Jesus instructed us to do so in Matthew 18. ????
The really important comparison is that Aaron and I both wrote our respective books because we were feeling desperately burdened and convinced that the massive need to plant churches and do gospel-centered ministry in small towns far outweighed the material to equip church planters and pastors to do so.
I recently read Aaron’s book and was so thankful that he wrote it. We need so many resources to train and equip a new generation of planters and an existing generation of pastors. I personally plan to use his book in training in our church and will proudly recommend it wherever I go.
Here are just three of the many reasons I think you should read this book.
1. A Clear And Compelling Table Of Contents
From the beginning in the table of contents, you’ll notice that Aaron has clearly identified a central theme and is planning to really explore this in all the necessary directions. He isn’t trying to say a million things while never explaining anything. These truths are so clearly and plainly put forward that I feel everyone who reads this book will walk away understanding what it looks like to be “on mission” in a small town context. Additionally, he is saying things that need to be said. The reality is that missiology is going to be the most helpful framework to help us understand how to engage lost people in the countless subcultures represented in small towns. Any material that we can get our hands on that acknowledges this reality and seeks to apply it should be treated as valuable and essential!
2. Clear And Compelling Discussion Questions And Application
This book was clearly written with small groups or “missional communities” in mind. It is laid out in such a way that all the leader needs to do is get the book in the hands of the group and work through a chapter a week. Every chapter has questions for the individual and the group as well as possible applications that really make sense in a small town context. All the hard work is done. If you’re planting a church in a small town, I would suggest doing this study from the beginning with your core group. If you’re pastoring an existing church and trying to get the heart of God’s mission into the church you lead, run them through the pages of this book trusting the Holy Spirit to grip their hearts with a love for the lost.
3. An Appropriately Strong Emphasis On The Holy Spirit And Prayer
Aaron devotes Part 2 of the book to these two necessary themes. The reality is that far too many church planting resources are only pragmatic, as if all the success of our church plant was in our hands. But the Bible tells us a different narrative. It’s Jesus who builds His church (Matthew 16:18). It’s God, not Google, who we are to call on when trouble faces the church we lead (Acts 4:24-30). The success of the mission is NOT up to us. We need the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit and we need to be people who model that dependence by a commitment to prayer. The mission to impact small towns is far too big for us to attempt in our own strength. I’m so thankful Aaron made that clear.
My advice is to buy this book, read this book, and apply this book. Also, write a great review of it on Amazon. ???? This is so helpful in directing others to needed resources like Small Town Mission.