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Rural Congregational Studies: A Guide for Good Shepherds

by L. Shannon Jung, Shannon Jung, Mary Agria

Buy the book: L. Shannon Jung. Rural Congregational Studies: A Guide for Good Shepherds

Release Date: April, 1997

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: L. Shannon Jung. Rural Congregational Studies: A Guide for Good Shepherds

Not the best I have seen

This book was a good effort but not worth your while to read. It was given to me by a denominational executive to read and I found it lacking in several areas. The authors seem unaware of current trends that are effecting rural churches across Canada and the United States. While this book may provide some insight, if you are pastoring a rural church, you know everything that they have written already.

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A good start, but ultimately flawed

This book is certainly comprehensive, leaving almost no area of rural church life unexplored. In my experience, most books on rural ministry tend to be either (1) sentimental and romanticized, (2) biased towards a particular model of political activism, (3) lacking any non-theological content, (4) about 25 years out of date, or (5) most or all of the above. This book is different. It assumes no prior knowledge of rural life and ministry; it explores many of the touchier subjects like economics and family structure; and it strives (although ultimately unsuccessfully) to present both sides of the stories it tells.

But it's clear the authors are anything but neutral, being strongly biased towards alternative/sustainable agriculture, and against agribusiness entities and banks.

This becomes clear when the reader encounters the included source material used to illustrate their points; most of it is too heavily edited to include only items which either present alternative agriculture in a good light or agribusiness/agribanking in a bad light. There's nothing wrong, per se, with this point of view, but beginning pastors may quickly find themselves in over their heads if they only take in the anti-corporate, anti-bank point of view. For that reason, I can't recommend this book without some serious reservations.

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