I honestly don't normally do this kind of thing.

Being a marketer/communications peep I know why publishers ask bloggers to do this kind of thing. I'm not really into it. (Although there is nothing wrong with it.)

When the publishers of Pastor Shannon O'Dell first contacted me I had the same reaction. But then I read the first three chapters of book Transforming the Church in Rural America - Breaking all the Rurals.

That changed everything. I observed Shannon's:

  • Passion for people to come to know Jesus irrespective of where they live;
  • His perserverance and determination to stick it out when people reacted as he started killing sacred cows;
  • His ability to grow his church despite the visibly megre resources around him;
  • His obedience to the call of God on his life even when on the surface 'better' offers were coming in; and
  • His passion for your church to succeed like his is.

Transforming the Church in Rural America leapt off the pages and into my heart. You got me Shannon.

This book isn't just a book for those who are in ministry in a rural church in America – if you are in Australian rural church this book could equally equip you and minister into your soul.

This book isn't just a book for anyone in pastoral ministry. Its a book for anyone in any kind of ministry, period.

This book really is about overcoming human obstacles with God's power. It's about not settling for the status quo (when haven't we done that?). It screams 'God can do ever more than you can imagine' if you'll just say yes.

I asked Shannon a couple of questions about his book and the place that marketing plays for rural churches:

Q: You say that rural areas are more churched and more unchurched than any place on earth. What do you mean by that?

A: So many in rural areas believe they will be grandfathered into heaven because their grandparents started the church and graveyard on the farm.  
Q: Why did you make the decision go online service wise?

A: We new that in a town of 407 our message needed a larger audience so online was the obvious choice.
Q: What was your biggest surprise about going online?

A: It is the most financial solvent campus we have!

Q: How has it changed your church?

A: Our church has a larger worldview and compassion, because they now have a worldwide church family.

Q: How does your church, Brand New Church market yourself in your local community?

A: Transformed lives is our greatest marketing tool, but we also use all mediums…car stickers, T-shirts, radio, billboard and TV.

Q: Big churches have bigger budgets for ‘marketing’ communications, what advice would you give to rural churches in Australia/America how to ‘market’ themselves in their local community?

A: Let the changed lives of your church tell your story…news travels fast in a rural community.  Also, use every free outlet available…radio, newspaper and cable TV have free ads spots…use them.

There is a stack of free tools to transform your church here.

I dont think U.S. blog police can get me down in Australia, but you need to know that I did receive a free copy of the book. For the rest of you go buy it. Its really, really good.