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General John Gowans once penned these words contained in song 238 of the Song Book;

“Do you sometimes feel that no one truly knows you,
And that no one understands or really cares?”

Those sentiments can be echoed at one time or another by most people in ministry but perhaps more so by those involved in a rural or isolated area. The demands for your time, limited resources, lack of personal space and financial pressures can sometimes take their toll. Many of us operate in towns which are hours away from the next Army facility and light years from Divisional Headquarters and that can make us feel as though we are on our own instead of part of a team.

There is no doubt that ministry in a rural setting is different than it is in a city and probably far different from anything we learned about in Training College. It has its own unique charm, challenge and joy.

The Corps Ministries Department has recognized this uniqueness over the past few years and has responded by;

  • Bringing together people from across the county for the Rural Ministry Summit in the spring of 2007.
  • Focusing articles in the Salvationist.
  • Hiring of James Watson who is currently exploring church planting in a rural context.
  • Designating two Rural Ministry Consultants. Captain Chris Rideout is responsible for Eastern Canada and Major Mike Hoeft who is responsible for Western Canada. We are both currently appointed to rural setting as Corps Officers and as such have a front row view of what it means to minister in rural Canada.
Both Chris and I will;
  • Forward along any information or resources that might be useful in your ministry settings
  • Represent the needs of rural ministries to the Territorial administration
  • Be advocates for rural ministries in the Territory.
  • Be available for consultation either by phone or email
  • Establish rural education events in our geographical regions (once the fiscal restraint has been lifted)
  • Establish other resources that will be of benefit to Offices in rural settings.

Which brings me to this resource; a web page dedicated to rural ministry in the context of The Salvation Army. It is my hope and prayer that through this electronic medium we might be able to reach out across the miles and share with each other our ideas, hopes, dreams, challenges and victories. Through this site we will be able to post articles, share great ideas we have, ask for help, share physical resources and use our imaginations to make our own ministry more vibrant as well as be an encouragement to others.

I hope that you look at this site from time to time, share your ideas, ask questions and find encouragement from the fact that you are not alone, someone does care and together we can be a transforming influence for Christ in our ministries.

 
Mike Hoeft
Major