Entries in Pastoral Theology (46)

Wednesday
Apr252012

Rohrer, Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry

Rohrer-Sacred-Wilderness Amazon.com

David Rohrer, The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry: Preparing a People for the Presence of the Lord. IVP Books, 2012.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Rohrer does an excellent job elevating the central place of preaching in the pastoral role. He illustrates this powerfully through the ministry of John the Baptist. His special concern is how this helps ministers conceive and execute their roles in the anxious “wilderness” of the special challenges of current culture.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

Pastors often find themselves struggling to survive in the wilderness of the contemporary church scene. How do they remain faithful in light of the marginalization of organized religion, denominational strife, rapid demographic change, falling numbers and a general malaise among church members? Many pastors feel helpless, others hopeless. Sociologists and pollsters diagnose the problem but can’t seem to come up with a solution. Is there hope? Author and pastor David Rohrer believes there is.

John the Baptist also lived in the wilderness, yet crowds journeyed there to hear him. Why? Because John “affirmed what people already knew: that they were in desperate need of something more than the mundane practices of a religion that had been cut off from its source of life.” John called people to remember their covenant relationship with God, which was established in the wilderness, and to let God guide them once again across the Jordan and into the Promised Land.

Pastors, says Rohrer, “don’t primarily exist to build and maintain the institution of the church. We exist to do a particular work through the church. In short, we don’t simply have an institution to create, refine or maintain; we have a gospel to preach.” John’s prophetic voice prepared hearts to be receptive to Christ’s work among them, to be transformed by the power of God. Herein lies hope! Using illustrations from everyday church life and decades of ministry experience, Rohrer carefully crafts a lively and realistic pastoral theology for ministry in the sacred wilderness.

If you are a new pastor you have a sure guide here. If you are a veteran preacher you’ll find just the refresher course you need to invigorate your ministry.

About the Author

David Rohrer is teaching pastor at University Presbyterian Church, Seattle.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————-

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Friday
Apr202012

Piper and Carson, Pastor as Scholar, Scholar as Pastor

Piper-Carson-the-Pastor-as-Scholar Amazon.com

John Piper and D. A. Carson, The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life in Ministry. Crossway, 2011.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Piper, a practitioner-scholar, and Carson, a scholar-practitioner, team to encourage those in both callings to embrace the balance of mind and heart, scholarship and practice. They express their main point, that “a person can be a pastor and a scholar, not merely one or the other.” (13) They advocate ministers pursuing as high a degree of academic preparation as possible, and staying connected to the world of scholarship throught their lifetime of practice. Similarly, they call for scholars to be deeply connected to the real life of churches, and warn against both theologically anemic preaching as well as “guild-driven” scholarship that is detached from the needs of the church.

Those who are familiar with Piper will see his philosophy of ministry that is deeply influenced by Jonathan Edwards’ dual emphasis on sound teaching and deep affections:

So for thirty years I have tried, with much imperfection and manifold failures, to live up to my own message, to penetrate the heart and awaken the kind of affections for God that would accord with his glory, and create lives that would make him look great. This has been based on the conviction that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. (48)

Right thinking about God exists to serve right feelings for God. Logic exists for the sake of love. Reasoning exists for the sake of rejoicing. Doctrine exists for the sake of delight. Reflection about God exists for the sake of affection for God. The head is meant to serve the heart. (50)

Among Carson’s comments is his emphasis on loving God with our whole beings:

So to love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength includes a high emphasis on what and how we think; the other two words - soul and strength - bespeak intensity, total engagement. Transparently, this means that using our minds in a lazy, slapdash, or arrogant ways is not only pathetic, but it verges on the blasphemous….Whether you are tackling the exegesis of Psalm 110 or examining the tail feathers of a pleated woodpecker, you are to offer the work to God and see such intellectual endeavor, such scholarship, as part and parcel of worship. (75)

This is supported by a deep love for the church.

Love the church. Love the church because Jesus loves it. Let your students know you love the church; make sure that the fellow members of your church are deeply aware that you love the church, that you love them. This will work out in many different ways, but such love for the church must find outlets in your prayer life, your priorities, your willingness to participate (with the elders? in a small group? in teaching a class? in taking your turn on a preaching rotation? in helping with the cleaning? in drafting a new constitution?). Loving the church is not only important to balance out the rugged individualism that is often part and parcel of having grownup in America and that is sometimes in danger of neglecting both communal life and strong personal relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ, but also to stamp our students. If we are training a preponderance of pastors and others who will serve in the local church, it is essential that the faculty members truly love the church that Christ loved and for which he gavehimself. Many students will learn to love what their professors truly love. So love the church. (16-17)

Carson also emphasizes the need to fight against the bifurcation between academic Bible study and devotional Bible study. He says:

My response, forcefully put, is to resist this disjunction, to eschew it, to do everything in your power to destroy it. Scripture remains Scripture, it is still the Word of God before which (as Isaiah reminds us) we are to tremble - the very words we are to revere, treasure, digest, meditate on, and hide in our hearts (minds?), whether we are reading the Bible at 5:30am at the start of the day, or preparing an assignment for an exegesis class at 10:00pm. If we try to keep apart these alleged two ways of reading, then we will be irritated and troubled when our ‘devotions’ are interrupted by a sudden stray reflection about a textual variant or the precise force of a Greek genitive; alternatively, we may be taken off guard when we are supposed to be preparing a paper or a sermon and suddenly find ourselves distracted by a glimpse of God’s greatness that is supposed to be reserved for our ‘devotions.’ So when you read ‘devotionally,’ keep your mind engaged; when you read ‘critically’ (i.e. with more diligent and focused study, deploying a panoply of ‘tools’) never, ever, forget whose Word this is. The aim is never to become a master of the Word, but to be mastered by it. (91)

This is an excellent book, a balanced perspective for both scholars and practitioners.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

What will our scholarship and pastoral ministry be if we are heads without hearts or hearts without heads? Recognizing the need for pastors and scholars to embody both theological depth and practical focus, John Piper and D. A. Carson have boldly advanced what it means to be a pastor-theologian and a theologian-pastor.

Weaving testimony and teaching, Piper and Carson challenge those in academia and in the pastorate to think carefully and holistically about their calling. Piper centers on the importance of careful thinking in his role as pastor, while Carson focuses on the importance of a pastoral heart in his career as scholar.

With insight and balance, Piper and Carson give critical guidance to help us span interdisciplinary gaps to the glory of God and the good of his church. These chapters are revised and expanded versions of the messages originally given following the 2009 Gospel Coalition conference.

Editorial Reviews

“Few books are so needed as this. Recapturing the vision of the pastor as scholar and the scholar as pastor is crucial for the health of the church. Who would not want to read John Piper and D. A. Carson as they reflect on this calling? This is one of the most encouraging and helpful books I have seen in a long time. If you are a pastor, read it. If you have a pastor, put it in his hands.” - R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“How we need pastors and professors who love God with their minds and their emotions. Two of the preeminent evangelicals of our day reflect here on what it means to love Christ with all our heart. I was encouraged, convicted, and challenged by this book. It is a treasure well worth rereading.” — Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“I’m deeply encouraged by the growing number of pastoral scholars and scholarly pastors. Probably no living Christians have done more to bring about this trend than D. A. Carson and John Piper. In this book, they will inspire you with stories from their journeys and challenge you with seasoned advice. Most of all, they will lead you to thank God that he gives you the privilege of leading and teaching his church.” — Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Young, Restless, and Reformed

About the Authors

JOHN PIPER (DTh, University of Munich) is pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He is the author of numerous books, including Desiring God and Don’t Waste Your Life.

D. A. CARSON (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. A former pastor and itinerant minister, Carson has authored or edited more than fifty books


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

 

 

Friday
Mar162012

Cole, Journeys to Significance

Cole-Journeys-to-Significance Amazon.com

Neil Cole, Journeys to Significance: Charting a Leadership Course from the Life of Paul (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series). Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This book describes Paul as an example of how to lead “throughout a lifetime, increasing significance all along so that one finishes strong and leaves a legacy of leaders to carry on the work.” Cole says, “In this book, we will examine the leadership trajectory of the apostle Paul and discover the ways he developed to become a man whom God used to change the world forever.” (xxiii) The purpose is not to describe this stricly historically, but to be a “missionally strategic resource” by adopting some of the profound lessons Paul learned “so that he could be more productive and influential with different groups, finish strong, and develop as a leader.” (xxix)

He is influenced by J. Robert clinton’s “Time Line of Leadership Formation.” He looks at Paul’s development in six phases coinciding with major events as recorded in the Book of Acts:

  • Phase I, Sovereign Foundations - Birth and the Early Life, Philippians 3:5-6
  • Phase II, Inner-life Growth - Conversion and New Life, Acts 1-13:3, Galatians 1:11-24
  • Phase III, Ministry Maturation, First Journey, Acts 13-15, Galatians 2:1-10
  • Phase IV, Life Maturation, Second Journey, Acts 16-18:22
  • Phase V, Third Journey - Acts 18:23-20
  • Phase VI, Fourth Journey and Beyond - Acts 21-28, 1-2 Timothy, Titus

This is an excellent book. J. Robert Clinton says in his review:

Neil Cole, using the metaphor of journeys, focuses on five important development phases of the apostle Paul’s timeline. The strengths of this work, apart from the good overview of Paul’s life and ministry, are the post-chapter sections dealing with lessons—first observations from Paul’s life and then often valuable personal lessons from the author’s life. Neil gives the best interpretation of Paul’s progress of ministry breakthrough insights that I have seen. This interpretive biography of Paul is a valuable resource for a leader who wants to pursue the Leadership Mandate (Hebrews 13:7,8) and learn from Paul’s examples.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

“Finishing well is not something that you do at the end of your life — it is what you determine to do every day of your life. You do not finish well accidentally. Determine now that you will finish well or die trying, which, in the end, is really what it means to finish well.” - From the Preface

Life is not just one journey; it is several journeys, each culminating in valuable lessons that build toward our final breath and eternal destination.

In Journeys to Significance, bestselling author and organic church leader Neil Cole takes us on a journey as we follow the life of the apostle Paul and learn valuable lessons about how God forms a leader over the course of his or her life. It’s not about just reaching the end — it’s about finishing well and keeping your eye on the ultimate goal, not on short-term wins or losses. Journeys to Significance provides valuable insights to help any leader (or aspiring leader) to build upon each journey so that finishing strong is not only possible, but is a clear and practical focus in the here and now.

The apostle Paul is one of the most pivotal world-changers in history. In Journeys to Significance, the story of Paul’s life comes alive in an inspiring and helpful way and includes many real-life applications for the journeys we all must face. Cole adds fresh insights into Paul’s missional strategies and the lessons he learned. Following Paul’s lessons can increase a leader’s impact and significance and contribute to a strong finish.

As the apostle Paul demonstrated over the course of his life, if we are able to courageously follow God’s lead no matter what it costs, we will discover the true meaning of leadership—and we will finish well.

About the Author

Neil Cole was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. While studying at CSULB he encountered the Good News of Jesus Christ and turned his life over to Him, never looking back. His journey in God’s kingdom brought him to serve in a mega church, a local community church and now small rapidly multiplying organic churches that meet in homes, campuses and places of business all over the world. Neil travels around the world sowing the seeds of God’s kingdom, catalyzing the development of organic church networks and coaching leaders. He has been married for over 27 years to Dana and has three adult children - Heather, Erin and Zach.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————

Related Areas

See Other Resources on Leadership:

See Other Resources on Leadership Development:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Ministry Leadership:

Monday
Nov142011

Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

Nouwen-The-Wounded-Healer Amazon.com

Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. Image Publishers, 1979.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This classic from the late Nenri Nouwen presents a hopeful model of ministry that compassionately identifies with the woundedness of human nature. This refers not only to the fallenness of those one serves, but also to the inherent frailty of the servant. These frailties are not cause for feelings of inadequacy and guilt, but are the conditions in which we experience God’s healing grace. We are thus “made strong in our weakness” to be a source of healing for others. While he warns against inappropriate, weak-boundaried levels of identification, he says ministers make their deepest connections with God and others through the shared experience of suffering – a suffering world, a suffering generation, a suffering person, and a suffering minister. In fact, he argues that outside of this sharing one cannot be a transformative influence. Ministers must think of themselves as fellow sufferers, not as professionals. Using case studies of ministers from a variety of faith traditions, he helps ministers look at their own and others’ woundedness through the lens of theology, psychology, and culture.

This book is dense in sections, and his cultural analysis is outdated. Its continued use after thirty years, however, attests to its enduring value in helping ministers derive hope and vision for their work.

From the Publisher

The Wounded Healer is a hope-filled and profoundly simple book that speaks directly to those men and women who want to be of service in their church or community, but have found the traditional ways often threatening and ineffective. In this book, Henri Nouwen combines creative case studies of ministry with stories from diverse cultures and religious traditions in preparing a new model for ministry. Weaving keen cultural analysis with his psychological and religious insights, Nouwen has come up with a balanced and creative theology of service that begins with the realization of fundamental woundedness in human nature. Emphasizing that which is in humanity common to both minister and believer, this woundedness can serve as a source of strength and healing when counseling others. Nouwen proceeds to develop his approach to ministry with an analysis of sufferings — a suffering world, a suffering generation, a suffering person, and a suffering minister. It is his contention that ministers are called to recognize the sufferings of their time in their own hearts and make that recognition the starting point of their service. For Nouwen, ministers must be willing to go beyond their professional role and leave themselves open as fellow human beings with the same wounds and suffering — in the image of Christ. In other words, we heal from our own wounds. Filled with examples from everyday experience, The Wounded Healer is a thoughtful and insightful guide that will be welcomed by anyone engaged in the service of others.

About the Author

HENRI J. M. NOUWEN (1932-1996) was a Catholic priest who taught at several theological institutions and universities in the United States. He spent the final years of his life teaching and ministering to the mentally and physically disabled at L’Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, Canada.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

———————————

Related Areas

See Other Resources on Minister Self-Care and Preventing Burnout:

See Related Ministry Resources:

See Other Resources on Leadership Development:

See Other Resources on Leadership:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Monday
Nov142011

Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant

Peterson-Under-the-Unpredictable-Plant Amazon.com

Eugene H. Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness. Eerdmans, 1994.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This was the third of Eugene Peterson’s work on pastoral theology. It was preceded by Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work (1980), Working the Angles (1987), and The Contemplative Pastor (1989), and followed by Pastor: A Memoir (2011).

Written out of Peterson’s own experience of discouragement in the pastoral role in which he realized many pastors, including himself, give “lip service to the vocabulary of a holy vocation, but in their working lives more commonly pursue careers” that they can take charge of and manage. In the opening pages, he says

My impression is that the majority of pastors are truly good, well intentioned, even godly. But their goodness does not inevitably penetrate their vocations. Our actual work takes shape under the pressure of the marketplace, not the truth of theology or the wisdom of spirituality. I do not find the emaciated, exhausted spirituality of institutional careerism adequate. I do not find the veneered, cosmetic spirituality of personal charisma adequate. I require something biblically spiritual – rooted and cultivated in creation and covenant, leisurely in Christ, soaked in Spirit.” (4-5)

For help in finding this, Peterson turns to any unlikely place, the biblical book of Jonah, and weaves a strong practical theology of vocational holiness into the various movements of that story. We derive a kind of humility as we identify with Jonah’s failures and repeated disobedience and are both chastened and affirmed by God’s gracious dealings with him. Through this identification, we find our own road to Nineveh. Peterson believes ministers experiencing burnout usually have some issue with self-absorption, self-protection, and self-pity.

“The religious leader is the most untrustworthy of leaders: in no other station do we have so many opportunities for pride, for covetousness, for lust, or so many excellent disguises at hand to keep such ignobility from being found out and called to account.” (15)

This book will pierce deeply into these dark places of the pastoral soul, and help them emerge with a deeper and more enduring sense of call.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

In this book Peterson clarifies the pastoral vocation by turning to the book of Jonah, in which he finds a captivating, subversive story that can help pastors recover their “vocational holiness”. Peterson probes the spiritual dimensions of the pastoral calling and seeks to reclaim the ground taken over by those who are trying to enlist pastors in religious careers.

About the Author

Eugene H. Peterson, author of the best-selling contemporary translation of the Bible titled The Message, is professor emeritus of spiritual theology at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

—————————————————-

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on the Ministry Call:

See Related Ministry Resources:

See Other Resources on Leadership Development:

See Other Resources on Leadership:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Sunday
Oct302011

Volf, Practicing Theology

Volf-Practicing-Theology Amazon.com

Miroslav Volf and Dorothy Bass, Editors, Practicing Theology: Beliefs and Practices in Christian Life. Eerdmans, 2002.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

No useful atlas would ignore where people live - nor should spiritual road maps. In a time when academic theology often neglects the actual customs of Christian communities, Practicing Theology seeks to bridge that gap.

Edited by Miroslav Volf and Dorothy Bass, informative essays by 13 first-rate theologians from diverse traditions explore the relationship between Christian theology and practice in the daily lives, ministry, and education of believers.

Contributors:

  • Dorothy C. Bass
  • Nancy Bedford
  • Gilbert Bond
  • Sarah Coakley
  • Craig Dykstra
  • Reinhard Hütter
  • L. Gregory Jones
  • Serene Jones
  • Amy Plantinga Pauw
  • Christine Pohl
  • Kathryn Tanner
  • Miroslav Volf
  • Tammy Williams

About the Authors

Miroslav Volf is Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School. His books include Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation; The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World; and Against the Tide: Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities.

Dorothy C. Bass is director of the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People of Faith, a project of the Lilly Endowment located at Valparaiso University.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————-

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Sunday
Oct302011

Stone, How to Think Theologically

Stone-How-to-Think-Theologically Amazon.com

Howard W. Stone and James O. Duke, How to Think Theologically. Third Edition. Fortress Press, 2013.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a primer on “practical” theology that is not limited to the pastoral role, but covers a wide range of  issues Christians encounter, equipping them to engage them theologically. It is not a technical discussion of the major doctrines of the Christian faith that synthesizes the witness of great theologians past and present. It affirms that value of such texts, but the authors’ main purpose is to equip readers for ongoing theological reflection about real-life situations, including congregational matters. While a book on spiritual formation might be an invitation to a contemplative life, this book is an invitation to a theologically reflective life, but in less technical terms. What technical terms it uses, it carefully defines, with an excellent glossary in back. The book is also full of helpful case studies.

The book weaves two common techniques throughout all of its suggestions: listening and questioning. The authors define:

“Listening involves an active waiting that allows new information in, is prepared to be surprised, remains open to the illumination of the Spirit. Questioning is a corrective to complacency – the danger of becoming satisfied with old answers and preconceptions. We subject our own answers of yesterday to fresh questioning in order to embrace new situations and new insights. The aim of listening is receptivity; the aim of questioning is honesty. …The ultimate goal of the process is the maturing of our theological understanding.” (viii)

The first three chapters discuss why and how Christians should do theology. Chapters 4 through 7 offer a theological method for thinking through issues such as the gospel, the human condition, and Christian vocation. Chapter 8 considers how to do such reflection in the context of community. Chapter 9, “Forming Spirit” mentions the spiritual disciplines that are important for theological reflection.

Although this book is intended for everyone because “every Christian is a theologian,” its style and content will be better appreciated by those who are theologically trained.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

A primer on theological reflection –

Howard Stone and James Duke content that theology is not an optional, esoteric indulgence but instead a vital, practical skill by which people can make religious sense of concrete life situations and fulfill their intellectual vocations as Christians. So they have composed a successful theological primer for everyone.

Again in this second edition, fully updated and expanded, Stone and Duke’s lucid and lively text helps readers to probe their own theological roots and advance to a more deliberative appreciation and creative application of their embedded faith convictions. Addressing the how and why of theological sources, moves, and methods, Stone and Duke guide readers into major theological topics – gospel, sin and salvation, vocation, ethical discernment – through real-life case studies.

About the Authors

James O. Duke is Professor of History of Christianity and Historical Theology at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth.

Howard W. Stone is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. Among his many influential books are Brief Pastoral Counseling, Crisis Counseling, and (with James O. Duke) How to Think Theologically, all from Fortress Press. He is also the editor of the Fortress Press series Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————-

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Sunday
Oct302011

Robinson, What’s Theology Got to Do with It?

Robinson-Whats-Theology-Got-To-Do-With-It Amazon.com

Anthony B. Robinson, What’s Theology Got to Do with It?: Convictions, Vitality, and the Church. Alban Institute, 2006.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a very popular book on “practical” theology among mainline Protestants. Even beyond those circles, Robinson popularized (though he did not introduce) terms such as “centered set” vs. “bounded set” or “open set” (his adaptation of set theory). Robinson’s essential thesis is “that an integral and absolutely vital relationship exists between our core convictions, our theology, and our health as a congregation.” He elaborates:

Where we are absolutely clear about our core convictions and their relevance to our life and purpose as church, chances of vitality are great. Conversely, where we are fuzzy about our core convictions and unsure of their meaning or value, disarray is likely. Organizations, like congregations, that lack norms and convictions and the ability to interpret their ongoing significance for their life and mission, are organizations that are likely to be ingrown, conflicted, and driven (often off the road and into the ditch) by personalities of leaders and members.” (4)

However, most congregations give little thought to theology (reflections on their understanding of core beliefs) regarding what they do as a church, believing theology to be the stodgy work of egg-headed nerdy types. This is unfortunate.

It has been said that most wrong ideas about religion trace back to wrong ideas about God. Robinson would agree, suggesting that congregations should be able to grasp a clear understanding of the Christian story, navigate responsibly through Scripture, and articulate bedrock Christian beliefs with special attention to the Trinity. They should then translate these beliefs into what it means to be a church (ecclesiology), engage in word and sacrament, and anticipate and live into God’s future (eschatology). In one sense, this is popular level apologetic on theology, defending the place of theology as it pertains to congregational health.

Here are a few of the more helpful observations. One is his adaptation of set theory in the chapter entitled “The Missing Center.” Here he draws the distinction between the open-set (“You can believe whatever you want here”) vs. bounded-set (very clear, tight boundaries). What he suggests is the centered-set that has a clear theological center to which everything gravitates, but either no boundaries (not my choice) or permeable boundaries (my preference). Another good piece is his high view of the place of Scripture in guiding theology, and the importance of biblical literacy. Evangelicals may not completely agree with Robinson’s views on the nature, origin, and authority of scripture, but will find rich observations on the use of Scripture in defining faith and practice. There is another good chapter on human sin, where he argues that churches with a weak theology of sin have a low view of conviction and confession, just as too high a view of sin leads to shame and hopelessness. He also discusses how we should understand sin as having both social and systemic dimensions but also emphasize personal aspects which lead to failures of character that mar the lives of individuals and congregations.

Although Robinson’s orientation bleeds through, a church leader from any theological tradition could read this book and be better resourced to both convince and equip their churches to theologize. It is also a good corrective for church leaders with overly pragmatic tendencies that either soft-pedal or push off theological concerns.

From the Publisher

Theology can be a loaded word for mainline Protestant congregations. It often suggests the dogmatic or implies fault lines for conflict. But when unleashed from its narrow academic sense, “theology” offers a powerful way to get at many of the issues that impact the health and vitality of congregations.

Anthony Robinson carefully defines theology as the “core convictions” that help members of a congregation understand their common perspective and shared identity. Theology is the foundational Christian experience, the wisdom that both forms and transforms lives. Rather than avoiding theology, congregations should openly express their beliefs and values to clarify their purpose, argues Robinson. Instead of trying to define the boundaries of belief, a “center-set” congregation will zero in on a reasonably clear core faith.

He examines the problems that occur when congregations are reluctant to focus on theology and are unsure of their beliefs. They risk having a weak identity with nothing at stake. They risk being little more than an exclusive social club. Absent core convictions, structure replaces Spirit, indirection replaces healthy dialogue, and agendas replace leadership.

Central to the book is the notion that Christianity is a revealed religion apart from our own personal preferences. The Bible as Scripture offers a doorway to God and a critical unifying narrative. The Trinity, as a powerful metaphor, provides a balanced approach to fulfilling a congregation’s purpose. Core convictions about God as creator, the person and work of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are crucial to a congregational vitality.

Too many mainline Protestant churches are theologically “underfunded.” Congregations are strengthened when what they believe backs what they do. Indeed, theology, it turns out, has everything to do with it.

About the Author

Anthony B. (Tony) Robinson is President of Seattle-based Congregational Leadership Northwest. He speaks and writes, nationally and internationally, on religious life and leadership. He is the author of 10 books. His blog, “What’s Tony Thinking?”, is at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————-

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Sunday
Oct302011

Patton, Blackwell Reader in Pastoral, Practical Theology

Patton-Blackwell-Reader-in-Pastoral Amazon.com

John Patton, James Woodward, and Stephen Pattison, Editors, The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology (Blackwell Readings in Modern Theology). Wiley-Blackwell, 2000.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is an excellent volume for those whose readings in both pastoral and practical theology create an appetite to understand the breadth of the field. It also includes articles that serve as reflective pieces on specific ministerial issues. It is divided into sections that cover the history, approaches/methods, integration of theory and practice, and evaluations of pastoral and practical theology. The authors come from diverse backgrounds, with emphasis of Anglicans and Presbyterians. This summary highlights some of the strong features.

  1. It begins with an essay, “An Introduction to Pastoral and Practical Theology,” which is a good brief overview of the discipline.
  2. It includes a few classic articles as well as newer treatises by leading authors in the field. Here are a few that I found especially enlightening:
    • Seward Hiltner, “The Meaning and Importance of Pastoral Theology”
    • Don Browning, “Pastoral Theology in a Pluralistic Age”
    • Stephen Pattison, “Some Straw for the Bricks: A Basic Introduction to Theological Reflection”
    • Almost the entire Part Three includes articles on the relationship between pastoral theology and liberation theology, political theory, ecclesiology, Christian morality, spirituality in postmodernity, and management.
  3. It provides a very extensive bibliography and index of subjects.

See the review by Beliefnet as posted on the Amazon page for this book.

From the Publisher

This Reader presents an overview of the field of pastoral and practical theology within a theoretical framework, engaging with practical theologies from both sides of the Atlantic.

The volume brings together six classic articles that might otherwise be difficult to locate, with seventeen newly commissioned articles from leader authors internationally. The selection of articles has been informed by thorough consultation with teachers of pastoral theology worldwide. Editorial comment on the readings helps readers to understand the context of the material.

A comprehensive introductory section provides a critical overview of contemporary practical theology Subsequent articles place pastoral theology in historical perspective, outline the main methods and approaches used within the field and discuss many of the issues pertinent to the discipline. The volume concludes with articles on evaluating practical theology and pastoral care. A comprehensive bibliography and subject index complete what will be an original and indispensable resources for students and practitioners in this burgeoning field.

About the Authors

The Revd Dr James Woodward is Master of the Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson, Temple Balsall, and is the Bishop’s Advisor for Health and Social Care in the Diocese of Birmingham.

Dr Stephen Pattison is currently Senior Research Fellow in Pastoral Theology, University of Wales, Cardiff.

John Patton is Professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary, Georgia.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————-

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Sunday
Oct302011

Peterson, The Pastor

Peterson-Pastor-a-Memoir Amazon.com

Eugene Peterson, The Pastor: A Memoir. HarperOne, 2011.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Eugene Peterson’s volumes on pastoral theology are already legendary. This memoir is a culmination of decades of pastoral work, and is pastoral theology through autobiography. It follows several other works on the subject of pastoring: Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work (1980), Working the Angles (1987), The Contemplative Pastor (1989), and Under the Unpredictable Plant (1992).

This is Peterson’s magnum opus. It journals how he came to understand and live within his role. He adopts as his theme, “every step an arrival,” a phrase he borrowed from a poem by Denise Levertov. He says:

I recognized in her phrase a metaphor for my own formation as a pastor: every step along the way – becoming the pastor I didn’t know I was becoming and the person I now am, an essential component that was silently and slowly being integrated into a coherent life and vocation – an arrival.” (4)

He develops this metaphor as a posture of being attentive to each circumstance one faces, seeking to discern how God would wish to use these to shape us. He also insists this must be learned by everyone anew, and that he is not presenting a blueprint.

I want to insist there is no blueprint on file for becoming a pastor. In becoming one, I have found that it is a most context-specific way of life: the pastor’s emotional life, family life, experience in the faith, and aptitudes worked out in an actual congregation in the neighborhood in which she or he lives – these people just as they are, in this place. No copying. No trying to be successful. The ways in which the vocation of pastor is conceived, develops, and comes to birth is unique to each pastor. (5-6)

This book is rich with insight. I have always loved Peterson’s books, but I think this is his best. It is my top recommendation for pastoral theology.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

In The Pastor, Eugene H. Peterson, the translator of the multimillion-selling The Message and the author of more than thirty books, offers his life story as one answer to the surprisingly neglected question: What does it mean to be a pastor?

When Peterson was asked by his denomination to begin a new church in Bel Air, Maryland, he surprised himself by saying yes. And so was born Christ Our King Presbyterian Church. But Peterson quickly learned that he was not exactly sure what a pastor should do. He had met many ministers in his life, from his Pentecostal upbringing in Montana to his seminary days in New York, and he admired only a few. He knew that the job’s demands would drown him unless he figured out what the essence of the job really was. Thus began a thirty-year journey into the heart of this uncommon vocation—the pastorate.

The Pastor steers away from abstractions, offering instead a beautiful rendering of a life tied to the physical world—the land, the holy space, the people—shaping Peterson’s pastoral vocation as well as his faith. He takes on church marketing, mega pastors, and the church’s too-cozy relationship to American glitz and consumerism to present a simple, faith-filled job description of what being a pastor means today.

In the end, Peterson discovered that being a pastor boiled down to “paying attention and calling attention to ‘what is going on right now’ between men and women, with each other and with God.” The Pastor is destined to become a classic statement on the contemporary trials, joys, and meaning of this ancient vocation.

About the Author

Eugene H. Peterson, the author of the bestselling contemporary translation of the Bible titled The Message, is professor emeritus of spiritual theology at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, and the author of more than thirty books, including The Jesus Way, Practice Resurrection, Leap Over a Wall, and A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. He and his wife, Jan, live in Montana.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

———————————

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Sunday
Oct302011

Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor

Peterson-the-Contemplative-Pastor Amazon.com

Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction. Eerdmans, 1989.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This was the third of Eugene Peterson’s work on pastoral theology. It was preceded by Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work (1980) and Working the Angles (1987), and followed by Under the Unpredictable Plant (1992) and Pastor: A Memoir (2011). Although Working the Angles (1987) is probably the most often quoted, this one is usually designated as the favorite among pastors.

Peterson writes all of his books from a more introverted and contemplative posture. This sometimes makes it more difficult for ministers who are more extroverted and pragmatic to appropriate some of his insights. This is especially true here. One way of dealing with this is to realize Peterson is usually on target about the direction of ministry, even if the way he illustrates the fulfillment of that direction may be different for those who are wired less contemplatively. As a pragmatist, I still walk away from this book convicted, inspired, and strengthened.

In the opening sections, Peterson discusses the “Sunday work” of the pastor, underscoring the redefinition that must be given the pastoral role if we are to be faithful proclaimers. He couches this redefinition in three terms: unbusy, subversive, and apocalyptic.

Relative to unbusy, he says: “Hilary of Tours diagnosed our pastoral busyness as irreligiosa solicitudo pro Deo, a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for him.” (27). Our busyness is related to our insecure need to appear competent and important. But the work of proclamation demands long periods of quiet meditation, giving attention to “prayer and the ministry of the Word.” (Acts 6)

As subversives, we must battle with unspiritual forces that suck people into the temporal world with all of its trappings. Our weapon is truth, especially the story truth of parables, which has lingering effect to help people see reality God’s way. In this, he says the best model is the poet who, like the biblical prophets and psalmists, “are caretakers of language, the shepherds of words, keeping them from harm, exploitation, misuse. Words not only mean something; they are something, each with a sound and rhythm all its own” (161)

To be apocalyptic means that we, like John, learn through prayer and speak through poems, this creative work over against the overly-analytical academic approaches commonly taught.

In the second part, “Between Sundays,” he discusses the day-to-day pastoral roles, referring to them as “practicing the art of prayer in the middle of the traffic.” (54) Here Peterson elevates the ancient craft of the care and cure of souls as opposed to “running a church.” (57) He mentions Annie Dillard’s aisle seat in the theatre of God’s glory to encourage praying with eyes open to what is in nature and the arts. Regarding the ministry of teaching, he insists that ministers not teach as disseminators of knowledge and the church “as a learning center, a kind of mini-university in which I am the resident professor.” Instead, “our primary educational task is to teach people to pray.” (89) He encourages ministers to partner with God to see his growth, neither in passivity as if it is all up to God or the flurry of activity as if we do it all ourselves. He reframes the “ministry of small talk” as a way of being attentive to the way people actually experience their day-to-day lives. In a chapter, “Unwell in a New Way,” he discusses how ministry should help us relate sin and grace in a redemptive way. He also encourages ministers to “lash to the mast” of the ministry of Word and sacrament rather than succumbing to the pressure to appear professional. He also discusses the importance of self-care, especially through sabbaticals.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

Pastor-teacher Eugene Peterson has written a book of wisdom and refreshment for busy pastors illustrated with engaging personal anecdotes and including poetic reflections on the Beatitudes and discussions of such themes as curing souls, the language of prayer, the ministry of small talk, and sabbatical.

About the Author

Eugene H. Peterson is a pastor, scholar, writer, and poet. After teaching at a seminary and then giving nearly 30 years to church ministry in the Baltimore area, he created The Message – a vibrant Bible paraphrase that connects with today’s readers like no other.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Saturday
Oct292011

Peterson, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work

Peterson-Five-Smooth-Stones Amazon.com

Peterson, Eugene. Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work. Eerdmans, 1980.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This was the first of Eugene Peterson’s work on pastoral theology. It was followed by Working the Angles (1987) The Contemplative Pastor (1989), Under the Unpredictable Plant (1992) and Pastor: A Memoir (2011).

In his usual style, he begins with lament over how the pastoral role has been sidetracked by lesser interests:

“When I look for help in developing my pastoral craft and nurturing my pastoral vocation, the one century that has the least to commend it is the twentieth. Has any century been so fascinated with gimmickry, so surfeited with fads, so addicted to nostrums, so unaware of God, so out of touch with the underground spiritual streams which water eternal life? In relation to pastoral work the present-day healing and helping disciplines are like the River Platte as described by Mark Twain, a mile wide and an inch deep. They are designed by a people without roots in an age without purpose for a people without God.” (2)

In looking for solutions, his frustration continues:

The pulpit is grounded in the prophetic and kerygmatic traditions but the church office is organized around IBM machines. The act of teaching is honed on biblical insights derived from historical, grammatical, form, and redaction criticism while the hospital visit is shaped under the supervision of psychiatrists and physicians. The sociologists, psychologists, management consultants, and community organizers of the twentieth century are brilliant. Their insights are dazzling and their instruction useful. I have profited a great deal under their tutelage, but I am ill at ease still. I can demonstrate acceptable competence in the skills I have been taught, but am I a pastor? I function adequately in a variety of dovetailed roles, but is there a biblical foundation providing solid, authoritative underpinning for what I am doing so that my daily work is congruent with the ancient ministries of prophet, priest, and wise man to which I am heir?” (4)

Eventually, Peterson found help in five Old Testament books: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. In the image from David’s battle with Goliath, who knelt at the brook to gather “five smooth stones, one of which will kill a giant,” so he found these as five smooth stones that would help reestablish biblical priorities to the pastoral role in a time when it has been hijacked by so many lesser emphases. He devotes a chapter to each of these stones:

  1. The Pastoral Work of Prayer-Directing: Song of Songs – Here he approaches the song figuratively as representing out spiritual hunger and the intimate satisfaction of relationship with God: “We never know how good we can look, how delightful we can feel or how strong we can be until we hear ourselves addressed in love by God or by the one who represents God’s love to us. [In the words of Anders Nygren] ‘That which in itself is without value acquires value by the fact that it is the object of God’s love’” (65).
  2. The Pastoral Work of Story-Making: Ruth – Peterson depicts Scripture as a “vast tapestry of God’s saving ways among his people” (77). Pastors, as historians, tell and retell the story through the various accounts of God’s work in an among the people.
  3. The Pastoral Work of Pain-Sharing: Lamentations – Here Peterson describes entering the prophetic lineage by entering the laments of people in pain, always knowing the true story laced with the oracles of hope.
  4. The Pastoral Work of Nay-Saying: Ecclesiastes – This moves pastors away from the Pollyanna of having solutions to all of life’s problems, but instead being able to acknowledge God’s presence even in the difficulties and untidiness of life.
  5. The Pastoral Work of Community-Building: Esther – Just as in this story of Mordecai and his faithful service to the people, so we must emphasize the bond we have as a community of faith in exile.

One may have difficulty seeing each of the Old Testament books as Peterson describes, but apart from this, his comments on the various roles of pasturing are excellent.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work shows how five Old Testament books provide a solid foundation for much of what a pastor does: prayer-directing, story-making, pain-sharing, nay-saying and community-building. This book opens up to pastors a wealth of valuable practical-theological insights.

About the Author

Eugene H. Peterson is a pastor, scholar, writer, and poet. After teaching at a seminary and then giving nearly 30 years to church ministry in the Baltimore area, he created The Message – a vibrant Bible paraphrase that connects with today’s readers like no other.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Saturday
Oct292011

Peterson, Working the Angles

Peterson-Working-the-Angles Amazon.com

Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity. Eerdmans, 1987.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This was the second of Eugene Peterson’s work on pastoral theology. It was preceded by Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work (1980), and followed by The Contemplative Pastor (1989), Under the Unpredictable Plant (1992), and Pastor: A Memoir (2011). This is probably the most widely quoted of all the volumes, and is a modern classic of pastoral theology. Eugene Peterson breathes deep, reflective insight into his writings.

Peterson’s opening words set the tone for the book. He begins with a lament:

“The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are preoccupied with shopkeeper’s concerns – how to keep customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money. …[But] the biblical fact is there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world. The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them. In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given a designated responsibility to keep the community attentive to God. It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades.” (2)

He wonders:

“And there must be any number of shopkeepers who by now are finding the pottage that they acquired in exchange for their ordination birthright pretty tasteless stuff and are growing wistful for a restoration to their calling. Is the wistfulness and ember strong enough to blaze into a fierce repudiation of their defection, allowing the word of God again to become the first in their mouths?” (3)

As a necessary corrective and refocusing of ministry, he calls ministers back to three acts: praying, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction. He insists that these three acts are quiet, do not call attention to themselves, and do not factor into pastoral evaluations, and are thus widely neglected.

In defining these three acts, he says:

“Prayer is an act in which I bring myself to attention before God; reading Scripture is an act of attending to God in his speech and action across two millennia in Israel and Christ; spiritual direction is an act of giving attention to what God is doing in the person who happens to be before me at any given moment.

Always it is God to whom we are paying, or trying to pay attention. The contexts, though, vary: in prayer the context is myself; in Scripture it is the community of faith in history; in spiritual direction it is the person before me. God is the one to whom we are being primarily attentive in these contexts, but it is never God-in-himself; rather, it is God-in-relationship – with me, with his people, with his person.” (4)

He says none of this is public, although people hear us pray and read Scripture, and can tell whether we are listening to them, “they can never know if we are attending to God in any of this.” In fact, “it doesn’t take many years in this business to realize that we can conduct a fairly respectable pastoral ministry without giving much more than ceremonial attention to God.” (4)

From this point, and throughout, he develops these three acts into what is still one of the most convicting and centering treatises on the pastoral role. The title “Working the Angles,” means that these three practices constitute his trigonometry of ministry. They are the angles of the triangle. As long as they are sharp, no matter how long/short and disproportionate the connecting lines may be as the occasions demand, we still have a faithful ministry.

This is one of those books that should be read by all ministers. It is foundational.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

With characteristic insight and wit Peterson reminds us that the success of our ministry does not rest on either cutting edge methodology or the ability to administer programs, but on our ability to listen. Thus, he encourages us to return to the regular practice of listening to God in prayer, listening to the revelation of Scripture and listening to the stories of our neighbors. Working the Angles does not reveal an unknown secret of pastoral ministry, but encourages us to return to a basic practice and rhythm of pastoral life.

About the Author

Eugene H. Peterson is a pastor, scholar, writer, and poet. After teaching at a seminary and then giving nearly 30 years to church ministry in the Baltimore area, he created The Message – a vibrant Bible paraphrase that connects with today’s readers like no other.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Saturday
Oct292011

Osmer, Practical Theology

Osmer-Practical-Theology Amazon.com

Richard R. Osmer, Practical Theology: An Introduction. Eerdmans, 2008.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

While the title says “practical theology,” it is more pastoral theology in the sense that is adopted by LifeandLeadership.com (reflective of the historic German Protestant tradition, cf. Woodward and Patton, The Blackwell Reader on Pastoral Theology). Not all would draw a distinction between the two, but the literature of the field usually manifests a difference of emphases. Practical theology, sometimes called “applied theology,” seeks to apply the classical theological truths of Christianity to the thoughtful engagement of life-concerns and the practices of the Christian church such as worship, mission, preaching, etc. Pastoral theology is a kind of practical theology, but with a narrower focus on the role of Christian leaders. As “pastoral” theology,” it conveys the process and results of reflecting theologically on work of “shepherding” the flock. Authors often use the terms practical and pastoral theology interchangeably, and there is enough common ground between them to merit this. But when categorizing the literature, especially that which comes from the U.S., it often helps to separate them.

Osmer provides meaning to the practice of ministry by harkening back to the way God provided Israel with leaders over the course of his unfolding covenant relationship. He says:

“God provides Israel with leaders, anointed with the Spirit of God, to help it live with covenant fidelity. Priests play a special role in Israel’s worship of God, overseeing the cult of offering sacrifices to God on the people’s behalf. Judges, sages, and kings provide leadership in the organization of the covenant community, offering wise teachings, settling disputes guiding its political affairs, and protecting it against external threats. Prophets speak God’s word to Israel, announcing divine judgment when it strays from covenant fidelity, calling it to repent, and offering hope if it returns back to God.” (28)

He says the New Testament builds on these images, first by presenting Christ as the true priest, king, and prophet who fulfills, personifies, and transforms each of these offices. Based on this, the Reformers traditionally emphasized this threefold office of Christ. In keeping with this tradition, Osmer uses these three images to construct a pastoral theology of congregational leadership. He lays this out in four chapters (summarized on p. 28):

  1. The Descriptive-Empirical Task (or “What is going on?”): Priestly Listening, or “What is going on?” – This is grounded in a theology of presence, attending to others in their particularity within the presence of God.
  2. The Interpretive Task (or “Why is this going on?”): Sagely Wisdom – This is grounded in a spirituality of sagely wisdom: guiding others in how to live within God’s royal rule.
  3. The Normative Task (or “What ought to be going on?”): Prophetic Discernment – This is grounded in a spirituality of discernment, helping othes hear and heed God’s Word in the particular circumstances of their lives and world.
  4. The Pragmatic Task (or “How might we respond?”): Servant Leadership – This is grounded in a spirituality of servant leadership, taking risks on behalf of the congregation to help it better embody its mission as a sign and witness of God’s self-giving love.

To say that each of these roles is a “spirituality of…” conveys that practicing them is more than a matter of skills and competence, but a kind of reliance on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Osmer closes with a lengthy essay on how to teach practical theology in school of theology. It is quite good for those engaged in this work.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

Every church congregation encounters challenging situations, some the same the world over, and others specific to each church. Richard Osmer here seeks to teach congregational leaders—-including, but not limited to, clergy—-the requisite knowledge and skills to meet such situations with sensitivity and creativity.

Osmer develops a framework for practical theological interpretation in congregations by focusing on four key questions: What is going on in a given context? Why is this going on? What ought to be going on? and How might the leader shape the context to better embody Christian witness and mission?

The book is unique in its attention to interdisciplinary issues and the ways that theological reflection is grounded in the spirituality of leaders. Useful, accessible, and lively—-with lots of specific examples and case studies – Osmer’s Practical Theology effectively equips congregational leaders to guide their communities with theological integrity.

About the Author

Richard Robert Osmer is Thomas W. Synnott Professor of Christian Education and Director of the School of Christian Education at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Saturday
Oct292011

Nouwen, Creative Ministry

Nouwen-Creative-Ministry Amazon.com

Henri J. M. Nouwen, Creative Ministry. Image Books, 1971.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Though written over forty years ago, this remains one of the richest “pastoral” theologies. It reflects on how to engage five of the most common tasks of ministry as spiritual acts of laying down one’s life, and not strictly as an expression of professionalism:

  • Teaching – Beyond the Transference of Knowledge
  • Preaching – Beyond the Retelling of the Story
  • Individual Pastoral Care – Beyond the Skillful Response
  • Organizing - Beyond the Manipulation of Structures
  • Celebrating – Beyond the Protective Ritual

With so many books out there on ministry spirituality and burnout, it is hard to say this one should be read first, or second, or whatever. Suffice it to say this is a fine book to restore an understanding of one of the essential features of biblical ministry. He describes this feature well:

If teaching, preaching, individual pastoral care, organizing, and celebrating are acts of service that go beyond the level of professional expertise, it is precisely because in these acts ministers are asked to lay down their own lives for their friends. There are many people who, through long training, have reached a high level of competence in terms of the understanding of human behavior, but there are few who are willing to lay down their lives for others and make their weakness a source of creativity. For many individuals, professional training means power. But ministers, who take off their clothes to wash the feet of their friends, are powerless, and their training and formation are meant to enable them to face their own weakness without fear and make it available to others. It is exactly this creative weakness that gives the ministry its momentum.

Teaching becomes teaching when teachers move beyond the transference of knowledge and are willing to offer their own life experience to their students so that paralyzing anxiety can be removed, new liberating insight can come about, and real learning can take place. Preaching becomes ministry when preachers move beyond the ‘telling of the story’ and make their own deepest selves available to their listeners so that they will be able to receive the Word of God. Individual care becomes ministry when those who want to be of help move beyond the careful balance of give and take with a willingness to risk their own lives and remain faithful to their suffering brothers and sisters, even when this endangers their own name and fame. Organizing becomes ministry when organizers move beyond their desire for concrete results and look at the world with the unwavering hope for a total renewal. Celebrating becomes ministry when celebrants move beyond the limits of protective rituals to an obedient acceptance of life as a gift. (115-116)

From the Publisher

According to Henri Nouwen, the bestselling spiritual writer, every Christian is a minister—trying to live his life in the light of the Gospel. Creative Ministry is a thoughtful examination of the various complex tasks that are part of that way of life. Separate chapters treat each of the five areas that Nouwen considers the primary responsibilities of the minister: teaching, preaching, counseling, organizing, and celebrating. He shows how these main functions are inextricably tied to the minister’s spiritual life and why they must be directed toward a creative dialogue with other Christians if they are to be rewarding. It is also essential, he maintains, that the minister leave himself open, take risks, and “lay down his life for his friends” in order to give new life. “There is today a great hunger for a new spirituality,” observes Nouwen, a hunger that requires new and creative forms of ministry. Citing numerous examples from his rich experience, the author offers practical advice for infusing daily pastoral work with meaning. The result is an insightful presentation and a resonant spiritual guide for every man and woman who wants to be of service.

About the Author

Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932–1996) was a Catholic priest who taught at several theological institutions and universities in his home country of the Netherlands and in the United States. He spent the final years of his life teaching and ministering to the mentally and physically disabled at the L’Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, Canada. His writings have touched millions of readers around the world, and since his death, recognition of their enduring value has continued to grow.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Saturday
Oct292011

Laniak, Shepherds After My Own Heart

Laniak-Shepherds-After-My-Own-Heart Amazon.com

Timothy Laniak, Shepherds After My Own Heart: Pastoral Tradition and Leadership in the Bible. New Studies in Biblical Theology, Volume 20. IVP Academic, 2006.

Companion volume (less academic version): While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks: Rediscovering Biblical Leadership  

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

These are two separate texts, one that is highly academic and the other that is more practical and devotional, but both reflecting the author’s research. It is a “pastoral” theology.

Shepherds After My Own Heart is an extensive scholarly treatment of the biblical metaphor of the shepherd-leader. Laniak begins with the sociological background behind the metaphor, and discusses shepherds and shepherd rulers in the ancient world (including related appendices on Mesopotamian deities and kings with shepherd titles). From there he looks at the biblical prototypes of shepherd leaders in Moses in David. Next, he traces the Old Testament reflection of the shepherd image concerning Yahweh, the promised Messiah and second exodus in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. This is followed by a discussion of the theme of the shepherd Messiah in the four Gospels. The last section expounds on the image of following and serving the shepherd-lamb in 1 Peter and Revelation.

While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks does not assume one has read the first volume. It stands alone as a collection of forty daily reflections on biblical leadership according to the shepherd metaphor. Not only is it well-written, but also beautifully illustrated throughout. Laniak draws richly from his extensive travels to the Middle East and first-hand relationships with shepherds to paint a portrait for leaders that is both inspiring and convicting. What Shepherds After My Own Heart does for the mind, While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks does for the heart.

From the Publisher on Shepherds After My Own Heart

Scripture says, “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15).

Most of Israel’s pastoral imagery is grounded in two traditions: Moses as God’s under-shepherd and David as shepherd-king. These traditions, explains author Timothy S. Laniak, provided prototypes for leaders that followed, and formed the background for the ministry of Jesus, the good shepherd.

The pastoral role was central to the ongoing life of local churches in the Christian movement, and today’s pastors are still called to be shepherds after God’s own heart, to lead his people, living on the margins of settled society, to their eternal home.

In this excellent study, Laniak draws on a wide range of Old and New Testament texts to develop the biblical theology of “shepherd” imagery, and concludes with some principles and implications for contemporary pastoral ministry.

A wonderful resource for pastors, teachers and seminary students, as well as readers interested in the study of biblical imagery.

Features and Benefits:

  • Offers insight into the biblical understanding of the metaphor of the shepherd/pastor
  • Presents an antidote to unbiblical notions of this metaphor and its pastoral implications
  • Highlights the key elements involved in the development of this metaphor in the Bible
  • Features a wealth of interaction with ancient Near Eastern culture and history
  • Provides a definitive resource for exploration of this important issue
  • Serves pastors and lay leaders who desire assistance in understanding this topic

From the Publisher on While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks

The realities and rewards of leadership are brought to life through this illuminating and insightful look at the ancient image of shepherds. Experience this wondrous opportunity to think biblically about your calling to serve Jesus Christ and the expectations that come with being a shepherd leader, the compassionate and courageous commitment to provide for, protect, and guide those under your care. Take this forty day journey and experience a life changing encounter with the Divine Shepherd. Become a shepherd after God’s own heart by rediscovering true biblical leadership.

About the Author

Timothy Laniak is associate professor of Old Testament and coordinator of the Urban Ministry Certificate Program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina. He made his first trip to the Middle East in 1977. He is author of Shame and Honor in the Book of Esther (Scholars Press, 1998) and “Esther” in Ezra-Nehemiah-Esther (NIBC, 2003).


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————————

Related Areas

Other Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Ministry Leadership:

Saturday
Oct292011

Cole, From Midterms to Ministry

Cole-Midterms-to-Ministry Amazon.com

Allan Hugh Cole, Editor, From Midterms to Ministry: Practical Theologians on Pastoral Beginnings. Eerdmans, 2008.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a collection of essays on “pastoral” theology for persons who are moving from Bible college or seminary to the world of ministry. It is a good reflective piece for one’s first year. The individual essays stand alone and do not have to be read in progression. The chapter titles are a good window into content, helping the reader select what is most useful. Below are some of my stronger recommendations:

  • The Essential Untidiness of Ministry, Thomas G. Long
  • Leadership, Pastoral Identity, and Friendship: Navigating the Transition from Seminary to Parish, L. Gregory Jones and Susan Pendleton Jones
  • Fragile Connections: Constructing an Identity in the First Year of Ministry, Carrie Doehring
  • The Furnace of Humiliation, Pamela D. Coutoure
  • Contemplation in Action, Anthony B. Robinson
  • Sustaining the Pastoral Life, Earl F. Palmer
  • Gossip: The Grace Notes of Congregational Life, Carol L. Schnabl Schweitzer
  • Blooming Where We Are Planted, Kathy Dawson
**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

The distinguished contributors to this volume - ministers, scholars, and theological educators - share personal reflections on the sometimes-difficult transition from being a seminarian to becoming a minister. Based on their own life experiences, they address the two related but different “worlds” of theological school and ministry setting, each with its own set of expectations, values, challenges, focal points, and rewards. Contributors: Wallace M. Alston, Jr., Ray S. Anderson, M. Craig Barnes, Elizabeth F. Caldwell, Allan Hugh Cole, Jr., Pamela D. Couture, Kathy Dawson, Carrie Doehring, Michael Jinkins, L. Gregory Jones, Susan Pendleton Jones, James F. Kay, Cleophus J. LaRue, Thomas G. Long, Loren B. Mead, Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, Earl F. Palmer, Stephanie Paulsell, Anthony B. Robinson, Carol L. Schnabl Schweitzer, Theodore J. Wardlaw, Traci C. West, William H. Willimon, J. Philip Wogaman, and Karen Marie Yust.

About the Editor

Allan Hugh Cole Jr. is the Nancy T. Williamson Associate Professor of Pastoral Care at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, Texas.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

Wednesday
Oct262011

Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep Part 2

Anderson-They-Smell-Like-Sheep-vol-2 Amazon.com

Lynn Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep, Part 2: Leading with the Heart of a Shepherd. Howard / Simon and Schuster, 2007.

Prequel: Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep, Volume 1

Referenced in: 

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a follow-up to Lynn Anderson’s modern classic, They Smell Like Sheep, Volume 1. Here’s my attempt to show the relationship between the two. In Volume 1, Lynn describes spiritual leadership through the chief biblical metaphors of shepherding, mentoring, and equipping. In Volume 2, he describes the kind of person who can do this work, but more importantly who they are from deep within, from the heart. I have often heard Lynn define a spiritual leader as “the kind of person God-hungry people want to be like.” (8) This idea is woven throughout both volumes, but the second volume more thoroughly describes such a person. So at the risk of overgeneralization, the first volume describes the role, and the second volume describes the person.

I agree with Rich Atchley who said that this book, as good as it is, is almost as good as the man. Lynn is indeed the kind of person God-hungry people want to be like. In many respects, the book describes him.

The book has twenty chapters divided into seven sections, each of them looking a different dimension of the heart of leadership:

1. A heart for God – discusses the importance of the heart, commitment to the glory of God, and prayerfulness

2. A heart of integrity – the desire for and pathways to integrity, holiness, and purity

3. A heart for people – focuses on concern for lost and hurting people

4. A heart for the Word of God – emphasizes knowing and teaching the Word

5. A heart of a servant – emphasizes opening one’s life to serving others

6. A heart that moves at a measured pace – addresses the need for comfort with ambiguity and a less anxious posture

7. A heart flooded with hope – discusses the importance of leaders being able to encourage and maintain the expectation of good things ahead

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. — Proverbs 4:23

They Smell like Sheep, Volume 2: Leading with the Heart of a Shepherd is about more than gimmicks and techniques of leadership. It speaks to the character and heart of the leader. After all, heart makes the difference in an effective Sunday-school teacher, youth minister, elder, small-group leader, parent, grandparent, or Christian school teacher.

Spiritual sheep, stray sheep, and searching sheep aren’t nearly as concerned about the knowledge and skill of the shepherd as they are about his heart. When finding their way — at weddings, at funerals, during family crises, and in the hospital — sheep go to a shepherd in whom they discern God’s own heart, like King David of old.

Jesus said sheep would know their shepherd’s voice and be drawn to it. It is the heart behind the voice that soothes and comforts God’s people.

How do you measure the influence of a godly shepherd? Without doubt, it’s the heart of the shepherd that most powerfully shapes lives and souls in our flocks.

If you want your own heart shaped and molded into the likeness of Christ, this book is an excellent place to begin.

Be shepherds of God’s flock under your care… as God wants you to be.

Heeding the call to be a leader is an awesome responsibility. Whether you have been called to serve as a minister or you’re teaching an adult Bible study group or you’re a teen leading the youth group in song, most assuredly from time to time you question your abilities and look for support and example.

Author Lynn Anderson addresses the starting and ending place of true leadership among God’s people: the heart of a shepherd. He presents Jesus, the Head Shepherd, as our only reliable model of godly leadership; he guides us through the Scriptures and gives us practical exercises to strengthen our hearts as we do the difficult yet rewarding work of shepherding people of God with love and grace.

Enter the book’s pages with the confidence that you are being led by someone who has the heart of a shepherd and who sees himself first as a smelly sheep, dearly loved and led by the Good Shepherd.

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory. — 1 Peter 5:4

Section one: A Heart for God

  • The Heart of the Matter
  • A Heart Compelled by the Glory of God
  • A Heart on its Knees
  • A Prayer Path for Shepherds

Section Two: A Heart of Integrity

  • A Heart in Search of Integrity
  • Pathway of Integrity
  • A Heart Shaped by the Holiness of God
  • A Path to Purity

Section Three: A Heart for People

  • It’s All About People
  • A Heart for Lost and Hurting People

Section Four: A Heart for the Word of God

  • A Heart for the Word
  • A Heart for Teaching the Word
  • Keepers of the Forest

Section Five: The Heart of a Servant

  • A Heart with Hands
  • A Broken Heart

Section Six: A Heart That Moves at a Measured Pace

  • A Heart Moving from Warrior to Lamp
  • A Heart at Peace with Ambiguity
  • A Heart that Doesn’t Wring its Hands

Section Seven: A Heart Flooded With Hope

  • A Heart of Encouragement
  • A Heart that Expects Good Things Ahead

About the Author

Lynn Anderson has been in the ministry for over thirty-five years and currently serves as president of Hope Network, a ministry dedicated to coaching, mentoring, and equipping spiritual leaders for the twenty-first century. He received his doctorate from Abilene Christian University in 1990.

Anderson’s lifelong career of ministry has involved speaking nationwide to thousands of audiences and authoring eight books — including The Shepherd’s Song; Navigating the Winds of Change; Heaven Came Down; They Smell like Sheep, Volume 1; and If I Really Believe, Why Do I Have These Doubts?

He and his wife, Carolyn, live in San Antonio. They are the parents of four grown children and the grandparents of eight wonderful grandchildren.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————————

Related Areas

Other Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Ministry Leadership:

Wednesday
Oct262011

Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep

Anderson-They-Smell-Like-Sheep Amazon.com

Lynn Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep: Spiritual Leadership for the 21st Century.Howard Publishing, 2002.

Sequel: Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep, Volume 2

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This book serves many purposes. LifeandLeadership.com focuses on two. First, this is a superb theology of pastoral care. It presents a compelling, practical, and a biblically rich case for ministry as defined by the metaphor of shepherding. Based on Anderson’s decades of pastoral care and mentoring, he argues that true spiritual leadership is not one of distant boardroom direction, but of intimate involvement with the sheep. Like shepherds who are out in the pasture, spiritual leaders “smell like sheep.” A modern classic on this theme.

Second, and more in keeping with the author’s intended purpose, this is unsurpassed as a development of the elder-shepherd role. I highly recommend it as the first read for those serving as elders or aspiring to that role. I have to be careful not to over-sell, because I believe in the book and the author too strongly. But in my opinion, this is the best book on shepherding available.

Elder-led church governance gets a lot of attention in church leadership literature, much of it coming from churches that have not traditionally operated with plural-elder congregational governance. Churches of Christ have had this setup from the beginning, and thoughtful practitioners have experienced enough of its bane and blessing to be able to speak with some degree of moral authority. Much of the literature stresses the importance of structural/positional authority for elders, which is certainly an important aspect of their role. But many congregations with elder-led traditions have experienced its tendency to devolve into an over-emphasis on positional authority and an under-emphasis on what Anderson calls moral suasion emerging from the elders’ example and relational/emotional investment with the sheep. Thus the deeply felt need for elders who indeed “smell like sheep.”

Among Churches of Christ and Christian Churches, as well as other fellowships, few books on the role of shepherds/elders have been as influential as this one. Other traditions that are introducing or reinstituting elder-led polity would also greatly benefit to avoid the errors and misuses that often attend the role. Anderson does not reject positional authority, but believes the metaphor of shepherding and the warnings not to “lord over” others (1 Peter 5; Matthew 20) demand a much more sensitive and less directive model than is practiced by many churches. But even this is not Anderson’s primary focus.

Anderson divides the book into two parts (from the summary on page 5). Part 1 focuses on three interrelated spiritual leadership models – shepherd, mentor, and equipper. Part 2 looks at the biblical teaching about elders and the sort of people they are to be – people of experience, character, and vision. Then it moves into a discussion of the “authority” of moral suasion in a credible life based on service, relationships, and a consistent faith-walk.

Here are a few classic quotes:

“Flocks naturally gather around food, protection, affection, touch, and voice. Biblical shepherds are those who live among the sheep; serve the sheep; feed, water, and protect the sheep; touch and talk to the sheep – even lay down their lives for the sheep. Biblical shepherds smell like sheep.” (22)

“Church leaders who shepherd well foster congregational infrastructures that leave them plenty of time and opportunity for flock-building. A good deal of their leadership will be hands-on and personal – for this is how flocks are formed.” (23)

“Jesus talked with them until they began to hear his voice way down in their souls.” (23)

“[Sheriff type leaders] cannot expect the love, affection, and loyalty of ‘a following.’ They sometimes resort to coercion in order to get cooperation, but in reality, they get mere compliance, at best, and rebellion, at worst.” (33)

“The CEO model works mostly behind closed boardroom doors – making decisions, tapping gavels, dispatching memos, and announcing edicts.” (35)

“Good equippers do it like Jesus did: recruit twelve, graduate eleven, and focus on three.” (88)

“The authority of an elder grows not out of a title emblazoned on a church letterhead, but out of the quality of the elder’s life.” (128)

[Quoting Carl Holladay] “The constituency of the episkopoi is a “flock” and their task is to “feed” it. Whatever is implied in ‘overseeing,” cannot be divorced from the role of ‘shepherding.’ …In fact, to whatever degree such terms as ‘superintendent,’ ‘overseer,’ ‘guardian,’ and ‘bishop’ are used to emphasize the rank of the position, to that degree they mitigate the true meaning of the term episkopoi.” (129)

“If a man’s life cannot stand the scrutiny of his wife and children, we dare not put our souls under his care.” (145)

“Today’s churches call for leaders who drive beyond their headlights and who design churches for people ‘who aren’t here yet,’ rather than defending models designed long ago to reach those who have long since come and gone and who don’t live here anymore.” (170)

“Think carefully about this, my friends. We may be robbing God’s people of the very spiritual guidance so desperately needed in our times, when we actually replace God’s shepherd model with our own corporate model. My dear brothers and sisters, please ponder this carefully: an ecclesiastical system that runs better when it sacrifices its biblical leadership function (shepherding, mentoring, equipping) to protect a non-biblical function (efficient management and administration) cannot be of God! Repeat: cannot be of God!” (176)

“Some unfortunate vocabulary has inflicted long-term damage to our understanding of spiritual leadership – words like rule, authority, submit, and obey.” (188)

“An elder who has to assert his authority usually doesn’t have much.” (206)

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

What kind of leadership will effectively lead the church into the morally turbulent twenty-first century? The same kind of leadership that led it through the morally and politically chaotic first century. Shepherding.

This is the kind of leadership Jesus used, and this is the kind of leadership that will take his church where he wants it to go.

While the term “shepherd” produces warm images of love, care, and tenderness, it also describes a form of leadership that is perilously protective, dangerous, dirty, and smelly.

“Shepherd” is something that every follower of Christ, the Good Shepherd, is called to become.

Lynn Anderson, in this important book, leads us backwards in time to discover and identify the biblical leader for the future needs of the Christian community. Anderson’s deep dig for truth will concern, convict, and confront us about where leadership has been, and will set a new standard for where the future leader must go.

Part One: A Biblical Look at Spiritual Leadership Principles: The Sort of Things Leaders Do

Section One: Shepherds

  • Shepherds on the Hills of Bible History
  • Distorted Leadership Models
  • Fast-Lane Flocks and Cyber-World Shepherds

Section Two: Mentors

  • Those Who Have Walked a Long Time in the Same Direction
  • How to Mentor

Section Three: Equippers

  • “Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em”
  • How the Chief Shepherd Equipped His Flock
  • Equipping through the Shared Life

Part Two: A Biblical Look at Elders: The Sort of People They Are

Section One: A Character Sketch

  • Just What Is an Elder?
  • Men of Experience
  • Men of Character
  • Men of Vision

Section Two: Authority

  • The Biblical Language of “Authority”
  • The Authority of Moral Suasion

About the Author

Lynn Anderson has been in the ministry for over thirty-five years and currently serves as president of Hope Network, a ministry dedicated to coaching, mentoring, and equipping spiritual leaders for the twenty-first century. He received his doctorate from Abilene Christian University in 1990.

Anderson’s lifelong career of ministry has involved speaking nationwide to thousands of audiences and authoring eight books — including The Shepherd’s Song; Navigating the Winds of Change; Heaven Came Down; They Smell like Sheep, Volume 1; and If I Really Believe, Why Do I Have These Doubts?

He and his wife, Carolyn, live in San Antonio. They are the parents of four grown children and the grandparents of eight wonderful grandchildren.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

————————————————————

Related Areas

Other Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Ministry Leadership:

Tuesday
Oct252011

Fisher, The 21st Century Pastor

Fisher-The-21st-Century-Pastor Amazon.com

David Fisher, The 21st Century Pastor: A Vision Based on the Ministry of Paul. Zondervan, 1996.

Referenced in: Pastoral Theology

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

In this pastoral theology, Fischer begins by echoing Seward Hiltner’s (1956) comment that there is no unifying theory by which ministry organizes itself. Hiltner proposed a psychological/sociological base, and many joined in. The result is that ministry no longer has a solid theological base. Fisher primarily addresses evangelicals:

“What is most curious to me is that evangelicals unquestioningly embrace non-theological ministry models. Some move the model to therapeutic and others to management models of ministry. In either case, evangelicals tend to think of both the church and ministry in human terms, an unreflective immanence. It is ironic that the liberal theological agenda that centered in anthropology and featured immanence is not implicitly championed by conservatives. The result is, more often than not, a failure of theological-biblical integration and, at the heart of it, a base for ministry that is not properly biblical or theological.” (11)

Over against this, Fisher offers a theology for contemporary ministry that it inspired by the apostle Paul. He shares this with James Thompson, Pastoral Ministry to Paul. Thompson looks at Paul in terms of his goal of transforming communities of faith. Fisher focuses less on the goal but on the metaphors Paul used that communicated his self-identity.

Fisher opens with four critical questions that define pastoral ministry, all of which must be grounded in Christology and the Incarnation:

  1. Who Am I? The Question of Pastoral Identity
  2. What’s My Address? The Significance of Geography
  3. What Time Is It? The Question of Date
  4. Whose Chuch Is This? The Question of Ecclesiology

From there, he offers a portrait of apostolic ministry, based primarily on Paul, emphasizing ten metaphors:

- Christ’s Prisoners, The Pastor’s Call (2 Corinthians 2:14)
- Jars of Clay, The Pastor’s Burden (2 Corinthians 4:7)
- God’s Penmen, The Pastor’s Impact (2 Corinthians 3:1-3)
- Both Mother and Father, The Pastor’s Heart (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12)
- Farmers and Builders, Growing Christ’s Church (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)
- Servants and Stewards, the Power of Pastoral Integrity (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)
- Ambassador and Preacher, the Pastor’s Authority (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Fisher provides perhaps the most accessible theology of ministry based on Paul’s apostolic work. Most ministers read through these biblical metaphors but feel so distanced from them because of the demands of ministry. Fisher brings them to the surface meaningfully.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

From the Publisher

The third millennium. It’s a time of tremendous opportunity for the church—and tremendous challenge. More than ever, pastors need a model for ministry that can equip them for the rigors of a restless, increasingly secularized culture. In The 21st Century Pastor, David Fisher explores the apostle Paul’s concept of ministry to offer a paradigm that is both biblical and relevant. Paul’s view is fleshed out with examples from Fisher’s own twenty-five years of pastoral experience, presenting a roadmap for today’s pastor that is scholarly, practical, dynamic, and inspiring.

The 21st Century Pastor first addressees crucial issues of pastoral identity, the significance of geography, time, and ecclesiology. It then explores Paul’s metaphors for ministry (jars of clay, farmers and builders, servants and stewards, and others) to reveal an accurate portrait of an effective, biblical pastor – the kind who will speak to the heart of modern culture rather than languish on its fringes. Filling the rare role of a pastor to pastors, Fisher’s sage insights help pastors answer their own identity questions, empowering them to minister to a deeply needy society. Says Fisher, “Pastors who know what time it is will, in the name and power of God, create communities of faith where the values of the Gospel are embraced, taught, and lived out.”

About the Author

David Fisher is senior pastor of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. He was formerly senior pastor of Colonial Church in Edina, MN.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

—————————————————-

Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Pastoral Theology:

See Related Ministry Resource Guides:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics: