John Frederic Oberlin is widely considered to be one of the most successful small town pastors in history. Ministering at the turn of the 17th Century in the Ban de la Roche, France, he devoted his life to the people in this remote region.
He never wrote a book, nor did he travel and speak outside his parish -- yet, over 100 books have been written about him. An Ohio college (and town) was named after him.
While reading John W. Kurtz's biography, John Frederic Oberlin, I was impressed by Oberlin's predecessor, Pastor Stuber.
Rev. Stuber tilled the garden Oberlin planted. He recruited the young pastor, and served as his mentor.
During Oberlin's first year of ministry, the wise Stuber wrote:
You have an engaging quality that makes you really more capable than I have been, provided that you remain fearless of all except God and that you not allow yourself to be stifled or overwhelmed by a multiplicity of projects. I do want to remind you that one can be turned away from Christianity even by good works.
If you are not on your guard out there, if you do not immerse yourself in God while having so much to do, so much to think about, and so many agreeable and praiseworthy projects before you, then, for lack of inspirational contacts and other encouragements that are more readily found here than in solitude out there, you could gradually grow cold and could fall away from God exactly through that which you are doing for God.