Close this search box.

Nine Lessons for Rural Pastors from the life of Benjamin Francis

Benjamin Francis had everything against him.

  • English wasn’t his native tongue.
  • He was a bi-vocational farmer-pastor.
  • He pastored a small congregation in a small village.
  • Yet in his ministry he baptized 450 converted people.

Here’s 9 lessons from his life for rural pastors:

  1. Trust God in Hard Pastorates!
  • Francis was 24 when he arrived in Horsley.
  • It was:
    • A poor congregation
    • Low literacy rates
    • Only 66 members
  • But God grew the church 66 members to 252, with 450 converts.
  • Young pastors, trust God in hard pastorates!
  1. Prioritize Evangelism!
  • Francis is reported as weeping for his hearers.
  • He reported that he:  “Delighted in telling poor sinners the unsearchable riches of his compassionate Redeemer.”
  • Let us not forget the need to preach passionately for the salvation of souls.
  1. Persist in Prayer!
  • If you asked Francis where the success came from, he’d say prayer.
  • Two meetings were held at 6am and before the afternoon service.
  • 50-60 attended the morning prayer meeting, and the afternoon meeting would be overflowing.
  • God works through prayer.
  1. God can bless the Bi-vocational pastor!
  • Francis was obliged to do secular for an income.
  • He:
  • Reared pigs
  • Grew fruit and vegetables
  • Manned a school
  • Even dabbled in the wool trade
  • Whether or not bi-vocational is ideal, God can use it to reach his lost sheep.
  1. Perseverance amidst trials!
  • Francis didn’t have it easy in family life.
  • His first wife and 3 children died within 3 months
  • In his second marriage 7 out of 10 children died
  • This clearly deeply affected Francis. But in the midst of trials, he kept proclaiming his savior.
  1. The value of good training!
  • Baptists could not attend Universities.
  • Bit the Bristol Baptist Academy produced many good pastors:
    • It was a bastion against hyper-Calvinism
    • Sent many pastors out to poor or rural areas.
  • Good training is vital to good pastors.
  1. Pursue deep Friendship!
  • From 1758-1770 Francis wrote Joshua Thomas, as “your most affectionate David”
  • The letters included questions from one to another which Thomas later published in a volume.
  • In isolated pastorates, friendship is vital.
  1. Seek Humility! 
  • In one letter to Thomas, Francis wrote:
  • “How languid my faith, my hope, my love! how cold and formal am I in secret devotions!”
  • But at his death, tributes referenced his “fervent prayers.”
  • Clearly, he was humble enough to always want more in his faith.