Hopkins, Pursuing Pastoral Excellence


Paul Hopkins, Pursuing Pastoral Excellence. Alban Institute, 2011.

Referenced in: Ministry Transitions and Interim Ministry Summary

The aim of this book is to lay out the consistent patterns found in those who have long-term ministries in one place. What do they do? What makes these persons tick? He profiles seven ministers, raises questions, and sets forth benchmarks for self-assessment. The conclusion lays out seven general characteristics of long term ministers:

  1. A call to holy purpose
  2. Dependable authenticity
  3. The nurture of trusting relationships
  4. Generous servanthood
  5. Creative adaptability
  6. Disciplined persistence
  7. The practice of faithful spirituality

The book includes an annotated resource list.

From the Publisher

In Pursuing Pastoral Excellence, pastoral counselor and educator Paul Hopkins aims to help pastoral leaders make a lasting and positive difference in the lives of the people and communities they serve.

The heart of this book is the stories of seven ordinary pastors whose leadership has become extraordinary. Their stories not only highlight important characteristics and practices that nurture fruitful pastoral leadership, but they invite readers to examine their own stories, to think about the value of longevity in ministry, and to enhance the enduring impact of their own pastoral leadership.

Hopkins frames these stories with a discussion of the difficult vocational challenges pastors are facing in a rapidly changing church milieu and a survey of recent leadership studies. He concludes by exploring seven patterns of pastoral leadership that characterize leaders who have an enduring impact, as well as four key elements coming to be recognized as imperative for the cultivation of enduring pastoral fruitfulness.

Hopkins encourages pastors to explore this book together with a small group of companions and has provided questions to prompt discussion. Pursuing Pastoral Excellence will encourage and inspire pastors to exercise leadership that continues to bear rich fruit in the lives of people, parishes, and communities.

Editorial Reviews

Whether you are one year or thirty years into your ministry, you need to read this book! Paul Hopkins is an experienced and deeply spiritual mentor. Wise in the ways of congregations, small or large, healthy or dysfunctional, he understands the challenges to contemporary ministry. Here is abundant water for the arid places in your life and work. You will find hope here! —Bishop Allan Bjornberg, Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Too often, as a spiritual director and counselor, I come across pastors whose lives become unbalanced because they’ve let their ministries slide from being passionate for God to feeling trapped and discouraged. They silently suffer, but do so needlessly. Paul Hopkins shows how to bring balance back to pastoral leadership in this wonderful book. By exploring stories of both burned-out and healthy pastors, he shows how we all can lead in ways that make ministry exciting, rather than excruciating. This is a book that every pastor needs to read in order restore balance to their ministry and leadership. —N. Graham Standish, pastor of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pennsylvania, spiritual director and counselor, and author of In God’s Presence, Humble Leadership, and Becoming a Blessed Church

About the Author

Paul E. Hopkins is a pastoral counselor who served as CEO of the Samaritan Counseling Center of Albuquerque for 18 years. Granted a Doctor of Ministry degree from Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1983, Hopkins is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who has served his denomination nationally as director of family ministries.

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