I’m on the road in South Australia and over recent days I’ve been inspired afresh by the commitment of pastors of small churches in rural and regional contexts. These women, men and their families pour so much of themselves into their local communities. They have to wear many hats. They have to be adaptable. They have to deal with transience and distance. They can feel lonely and forgotten. They don’t have ready access to options city pastors take for granted.

Pastoring any church brings much joy, but also challenges, disappointments and heartache. Covid added new stressors to the mix. Being a solo pastor in a regional or rural church has added challenges that I’ve never faced in city pastoral roles.

And so while I’m needing to travel some big distances this week, I’m all the better for rubbing shoulders with such resilient, passionate, humble leaders who love, care, and equip others and ride the highs and lows of life in their local communities as beacons of hope.

It’s always good to be around salt of the earth leaders, committed to the patches they feel called to. It brings perspective. And hopefully I can bring some encouragement as I cheer them on, listen to their stories and as together we explore opportunities to share hope in their communities.