Fort St. John pastor explores the potential of rural churches with new book

In a world of mega-churches and television evangelists, how can the modern day small town church connect with its rural roots, and marry faith with culture to build community?

It's a question Fort St. John pastor Tony Warriner explores in his debut book Boondock Church: Small Town, Massive Potential set for release this Friday, Jan. 3.

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With Boondock Church, five years in the making, Warriner is looking to flip the literary script, and buck a trend of books about the church written from the big city, big church perspective. As one of the book's chapters notes, Jesus was a small town guy.

"I wanted to do a little pushback and write something from the rural perspective," Warriner says.

"So it’s a two part book: part one is really about the small town and why it’s a very good place to be, and part two is about the small town church, and how to grow it."

Boondock Church
Cover for 'Boondock Church: Small Town, Massive Potential' by Tony Warriner.

Warriner is fifth-generation pastor, and has been leading the Evangel Chapel in downtown Fort St. John for the past 16 years, during which the congregation has grown to more than 500 people.

Throughout the 332 pages of Boondock Church, Warriner collects and shares the insights, hacks, and principles he's developed from 27 years of experience, offering "a colourful, intuitive guide" to help other pastors and lay leaders untap the potential of their rural churches.

As a promo for the book notes, "it all comes down to this ... 1) having a leader or pastor who gets and loves the culture of the small town, 2) working with a team or congregation from within that environment, and 3) realigning the Sunday gathering away from the megachurch model (prevalent in church-world) to something more fitted to the sticks."

Warriner will hold a book launch Friday, Jan. 3, at Evangel Chapel at 7 p.m.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca. 

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