We’ve just completed a series on church planting and incarnational living in small towns and rural areas. The concept is small handfuls of people in each geographic community who meet together regularly, yet are networked with similar groups across the region.

Imagine a rural area with five small towns within driving distance of one another. Each town could have a handful of people working together to live on mission in that town to reflect Jesus to the people around them. Then, once a month, they could come together for corporate worship and mutual encouragement and learning. Afterwards, they are sent back into their small towns.

I’ve been wondering whether this same strategy may work well in densely populated urban areas. Often large meeting places are hard to come by in the city, especially in the inner city. What if each walkable neighborhood or each few blocks had its own core of people living together on mission? In Los Angeles, we could have small groups of people meeting in Pasadena, in north Hollywood, in Santa Monica, in Long Beach. These are each culturally and geographically distinct areas, yet small groups in each of them could network together for encouragement and mutual learning.

We have a lot to learn from small town and rural ministry… everywhere.