I have just sent away the manuscript of my new book dealing with issues every pastor faces. It will soon be returned to me for a final read-through, and then sent to the printer to be printed sometime this spring.
The book represents insights gleaned from my 37 years as pastor or overseer of pastors plus reflections during 20 subsequent years of my retirement. I’ve also added insights I’ve shared during approximately 25 trips to teach a seminar-style class to pastors-in-training at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York.
The book is grounded in the conviction that Christ himself is “the chief shepherd” over his church. I try to specify what it means to follow his lead in today’s world — concretely and specifically.
An early chapter is entitled “The Pastor’s First Love.” From that foundation, I cover a wide variety of topics, such as: Why does the church “ordain” its leaders? Why should the pastoral prayer be prepared as carefully as every other part of Sunday morning worship? How does a skillful pastor conduct a wedding rehearsal when the wedding party is full of energy and fun? Is pastoral visitation still a necessary element in a pastor’s ministries? What about pastoral attire in the pulpit during this casual time in history? Added to these I offer tips for the pastor’s first 30 days in a new pastoral assignment.
In the final chapter I tell how my own call to full time ministry began soon after my conversion at 16 years of age. It was only after some years singing the gospel and functioning as a youth speaker but without formal training or credentials that I attended seminary and was led into pastoral ministry.
My purpose in writing this book is to continue to be faithful to that calling and to use the gifts God has given me in accordance with opportunities and abilities he provides. That has been the motivation for what I have written and the preaching I have done.
And, dear reader, that is the inspiration for this weekly blog.