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The Ministry

  1. A Model for Learned Pastors by Roland M. Kawano

    There is growing need for the learned pastor in the parish. Little substantial writing is now being done by those whose work is parish ministry.

  2. A Passion for Reconciliation: An interview with Chris Rice by Jason Byassee

    The author presents an interview with Chris Rice and what Rice has learned about race and the church, and about the church’s mission in reconciliation.

  3. A Preacher Looks Back by Marilynne Robinson

    A good sermon is one side of a passionate conversation. It has to be heard in that way.

  4. All in the Family by Pamela Smith McCall

    Instead of segregating youth from their parents in a "youth" program, one youth leader says churches should focus their energies on putting parents and youth together in family-based youth ministry. He wants to make use of the power that parents have to nurture and influence their teens toward maturity in faith.

  5. Blaming Women for the Sexually Abusive Male Pastor by Ann-Janine Morey

    Discussions of the sexually abusive pastor tend to relieve the male pastor of responsibility for his actions. All to often the blame is placed on the woman, who is viewed as a predatory female in a manner that perpetuates "the misogyny of our theological heritage."

  6. Can We Expect Greatness from the Clergy by Carnegie Samuel Calian

    To meet the laity’s expectations, leadership from grass-roots pastor-theologians is essential. For life in a highly fragmented and specialized society, the pastor as theological integrator can perform a socially unique role in building provisional bridges to enable us to stay in touch with our common humanity fashioned in the image of God.

  7. Caring as a Calling by Monica J. Maxon

    Insights about dealing with death and loss as opportunities for community growth and sharing are sharpened by practical suggestions. “If we can’t care about each other in community, in our little or large band of followers, how will we reach beyond those boundaries?”

  8. Changes in the Small-Town Church by Peter J. Surrey

    Our love of the past conflicts often with your plans for the future; our love of order does not show up on abstract statistics; our tendency to look to each other for affection and support stands against a minister’s wish to obtain emotional support away from the small church. The clergy never really belong to a small church, and because of that, we have a hard time trusting them.

  9. Cleaning Up the Wedding by William Willimon

    The real pastoral task is to stand up boldly, even if embarrassedly, in the middle of all these tacky, romantic, transitory moments in so many weddings and dare to proclaim as clearly and sensitively and faithfully as we know how that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we are redeemed by his loving presence in our midst, and there by we give the wedding eternal significance.

  10. Company of Friends by Kyle Childress

    A condition of community is described in the biblical concepts of salvation and shalom. We are more ourselves when we are together than when we are separate. Our health is dependent upon our connectedness.

  11. Continuing Incarnation: Evelyn Underhill’s Double Thread of Spirituality by Grace Adolphsen Brame

    Underhill was concerned that the clergy had lost their grounding in prayer.

  12. Discipleship as a Craft, Church as a Disciplined Community by Stanley Hauerwas

    Hauerwas addresses the current malaise in mainline Protestantism, reflected in declining membership and influences, by presenting essentially conservative corrective suggestions.

  13. Eugene Peterson on Pastoral Ministry by David Wood

    We’re probably at one of the low points in ministry because of the silliness and triviality that characterize so much of church life these days. Peterson suggests what should be the focus for the minister today.

  14. Ferment in the Ministry by Seward Hiltner

    (ENTIRE BOOK) As a pioneer in the development in the specialized ministry of pastoral counseling, and a teacher of Protestant ministers in various theological school settings, the author offers his assessment of the state of the ministry in the late 1960's, a critique of the various forms that ministry has taken, and an description of creative new forms of ministry.

  15. From the Other Side of the Pulpit by M. L. Brownsberger

    Brownsberger addresses the compartmentalization between faith and works in American churches, and suggests that if we are to morally integrate the two, theologians need to develop a hermeneutic that understands the moral foundations of American experience and incorporates contradictions, institutionalized disharmony, and ongoing debate that only occasionally and episodically reaches consensus.

  16. Good Work: Learning About Ministry from Wendell Berry by Kyle Childress

    A good minister, like a good farmer, pays attention to the particulars of one place.

  17. Grounding Theology in Practice by Thomas W. Ogletree

    Browning’s emphasis on ethics reflects his judgment that contemporary churches are disposed to avoid the ethical import of the Christian message, offering care without accountability.

  18. Growing Together in Spirituality: Pastor and Parish Have a Check-Up by Alfred C. Krass

    The understanding of the clergy as guides in matters of faith and morality persists. Attempts over the past generation to dispense with the pastoral model in favor of a therapeutic one—in which the minister is one professional alongside others—have been unsatisfying. The modern, "nonauthoritarian," "take-us-or-leave-us" style of pastoring owes more to the liberal world view—with its concept of the autonomous individual—than it does to any theological perspective. Christians believe—or should believe—in theonomy, not autonomy.

  19. Has Ministry’s Nerve Been Cut by the Pastoral Counseling Movement? by Gaylord Noyce

    In contrast to the nondirective, Rogerian pattern, pastors have an obligation to total ministry, to have the freedom to assume initiative, to share their faith, for the parishioner seeks a particular help that the pastor can offer. We may even pray.

  20. Heard About the Pastor Who...? Gossip as an Ethical Activity by William Willimon

    Most of us tend to be disdainful of gossip, even if it is a universal phenomenon But is gossip necessarily malicious? Although acknowledging its seamier side, Willimon discourses on its positive aspects: as "the moral casuistry of ordinary people" and as "a primary means of congregational bonding."

  21. Helping Theology Matter: A Challenge for the Mainline by William C. Placher

    "Theology" is a word that scares off most Christians today, yet it simply means thinking about our faith. The author examines some of the political and economic reasons for the low estate of theological reflection by the laity. He suggests several ways to infuse vitality in that enterprise and describes a number of successful models in urban settings. The reader may find that Placher’s brief mention of the Internet will stir their imaginations to seek additional solutions in cyberspace.

  22. Imagination and the Pastoral Life by Craig Dykstra

    Ecclesial imagination is a gift that is given by God through the sustained nurture and shaping ministries of wise and faithful pastors with deep. rich pastoral imaginations.

  23. In Quest of Profound Courtesy: A Chaplain Enters the Anatomy Lab by Donald G. Shockley

    The world is far more ready to receive our ministry than we are to offer it. Ministry is too often diminished by ministers’ reluctance to go where we fear we will not be well received.

  24. Inadvertent Ministry by Belden C. Lane

    “There are only stories and each of us gets to carry one of them for a little while.” This statement summarizes the whole mystery of ministry. In the final analysis, there aren’t any polished and professional manipulators of the Word, there are only stories that seek out their own hearers and tellers, in their own time.

  25. Incarnation and Institution by Donald W. McCullough

    It is not surprising that in many sectors of the church there exists an intense anti-institutionalism, a desire "to differentiate spiritual responsibilities from administrative responsibilities." But to separate the mundane from the spiritual is part of the scandal of the incarnation.

  26. Indigenous Ministry in the Context of the United States by Tex Sample

    Nothing is more clear in the mission of the church in the United States today than that ministry must be indigenous and must take with the utmost seriousness the particularities of this culture. The author provides a way to look at the United States in terms of three very broad cultural formations, each one housing significant diversity. He describes and compares each of them, focusing on their specific relevance for mission and ministry.

  27. Information Technology in Congregations by Nancy S. Armstrong, Aaron Spiegel, & John Wimmer

    Though some of the splashier and more publicized experiments of the "wired church" attract the most attention and concern, most congregations that use computer technology are simply trying to make the ministries in which they are already engaged more effective, attractive and applicable to the lives of the people they serve.

  28. Leadership as a Spiritual Practice by Anthony B. Robinson

    Leadership is godly work which addresses a fundamental human challenge faced in the environment and culture of communities, congregations and institutions.

  29. Leadership That Matters by Anthony B. Robinson

    Leaders don't have to be experts. They do need to define goals clearly and have the courage of their convictions.

  30. Leading Congregations, Discovering Congregational Cultures by James P. Wind

    Wind describes the contributions of anthropologists and enthnographers to understanding in depth the cultural complexity of congregations. He suggests that pastors need to learn to appreciate the diversity of the churches they serve, to care for those cultural differences, and to work with them rather than against them.

  31. Learning from Lyle Schaller: Social Aspects of Congregatioins by Daniel V.A. Olson

    Olson suggests that Lyle Schaller's influence among mainline and conservative clergy is due to his closing a gap in their own training by bringing a social-science orientation to the understanding of congregations. Citing the significance of congregational size and subgroup structures, Schaller offers practical solutions to both clergy and laity for fulfilling their commitment to church growth.

  32. Male Clergy Adultery as Vocational Confusion by Janet Fishburn

    For cultural and historical reasons it seems likely that clergy adultery is related to vocational confusion more often for men than for women. 1.The manhood of male clergy has been insecure for generations. 2. Religious affiliation is no longer required for social states, thus clergy, educated as professionals, find themselves the leaders of a marginal social institution.

  33. Male Clergy in Economic Crisis by Matthew J. Price

    Today's clergy cannot assume they will realize the gradual income growth that most Americans with graduate degrees take for granted.

  34. Manners and Ministry on the Internet by Donna Schaper

    The modern use of e-mail, especially for the church, has many benefits as well as shortcomings. It can be used to build community, to stay in touch, but it can easily become a substitute for hugging, eye contact or being together.

  35. Maturing in the Christian Life: A Pastor’s Guide by Neill Q. Hamilton

    ENTIRE BOOK An excellent guide for the pastor in helping others achieve the goal of Christian maturity.

  36. Ministering to the Unemployed by Robert V. Thompson

    Joblessness creates loneliness and alienation. This is an area to which the church could respond. Historically, one thing the church has done well is providing support for people in times of crisis.

  37. Ministry as Midwifery by Browne Barr

    When pain is processed in public, lifted up and shared, it releases unsuspected energy.

  38. Ministry as More Than a Helping Profession by Stanley Hauerwas and W. Willimon

    Hauerwas and Willimon insist that considering the ministry one of the "helping professions" devoted to meeting people’s needs is in fact a result of the practical atheism of most professing Christians, from liberals to fundamentalists. Denouncing as sentimentality the attitude of being always ready to understand but not to judge, they proceed to describe a kind of Protestant moralism that weighs in heavily on the side of judgment in the gospel balance between grace and judgment.

  39. On Being a Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard Forde

    The "Suffering of God" has become a sentimental platitude that has little to do with the theology of the cross.

  40. Pastor-Parish Relationships by Lillian Daniel

    The author-pastor finds that there are limits in developing personal friends with members of her church. It cannot be the same as personal friends from outside her church.

  41. Pastoral Ministry to Gays and Lesbians by John Hobbs

    An openly gay pastor challenges those who are straight to consider many of the issues. needs and difficulties of his community, and how much they need the support of the church.

  42. Pastors on Purpose by David Wood

    Review of a book on leadership. Too many congregations are looking for management to solve technical problems rather than looking for leadership that would challenge people’s habits, beliefs and values, then create risk, conflict and instability.

  43. Political Theology on the Right and Left by Rhys H. Williams

    Clergy have distinct social theologies. But how much of their views get passed on to their congregations? The Bully Pulpit provides and imaginative and persuasive account of white Protestant clergy and of how theological and political orientations are intertwined

  44. Pop Pulpits by Jason Byassee

    The author challenges us to think bigger, to make worship more participator, less like television and movies and more like taking part in dance or drama, making something worshipful and offering it to God.

  45. Power Outage by Anthony B. Robinson

    Jesus had power and he gave it away, which may finally be the most powerful and faithful exercise of power.

  46. Pulpit Supply by Patricia M.Y. Chang

    Small churches with part-time pastors should be embraced for their special gifts and the contributions they make to the vitality of the denomination. For denominations to discount congregations on the basis of size and physical resources may be to discount their own future.

  47. Remember Mama: Thoughts on Motherhood and Ministry by William Willimon

    A person could do much worse than to imagine God as an old mother hen or an overzealous ‘Jewish mother.’ Even though our images of totally committed, self-sacrificing, lifelong love are invariably limited to our taste of that kind of love through our human parents, they are still the best images we have and about the best we can manage in thinking about God.

  48. Sauntering by Daniel Novotny

    The tensions a pastor faces between feeling "at home" and "not at home" among parishioners.

  49. Secret Gift of Ministry by Richard Lischer

    Most pastors claim to have found happiness in the ministry.

  50. Six Economic Myths Heard from the Pulpit by Robin Klay and C. Gryzen

    Christian thinkers focus on the motives behind choices. Economists take motives (high and low) for granted. There is not a fixed pot of energy. There are resources whose quantities expand as prices rise. Business competition does not necessarily mean that somebody wins at the expense of somebody else.

  51. Something New Under the Sun: Computer Concordances and Biblical Study by Ralph W. Klein

    In seconds, computer programs can perform searches of the text that would otherwise be virtually impossible. The new software gives ministers a fighting chance to maintain or improve their skills in biblical languages. Lists many Web Sites with reference material.

  52. Stick with the Story by Richard Lischer

    It’s not the preacher’s task to tell a bunch of stories that end in deflecting our attention as we stand before God, but to tell that one story which will make all the stories porous.

  53. Strategies for Urban Ministry by Jason Byassee

    The challenges of a number of urban churches in Chicago are outlined featuring diverse intellectual energy required in a changing city. Various ministries are improvising, trying new things, risking failure, scattering seed and seeing what fruit may spring up.

  54. Stress and Purpose: Clergy Spouses Today by Marilyn Brown Oden

    Marilyn Brown Oden writes out of her own experience as a clergy spouse, as well as her scholarship and writing in this field, in describing the changes and developments over two decades. Citing generously from her own survey, she finds that the major clergy spouse difficulties center around unrealistic expectations by congregants, loneliness, and lack of urgent purpose in parishioners - all leading to ambivalent feelings toward the church.

  55. Stressed Out by John Dart

    Most Protestant ministers who leave the parish ministry do so because of stressful conflict with staff, laity and denominational officials, compounded by a lack of support from these officials and fellow clergy.

  56. Tackling the World’s Unsolvable Problems by Parker Rossman

    Local pastors, where enabling leadership is concerned, may be at a better and more advantageous position to build a more effective peace movement than any other group in the world.

  57. Test by William F. Fore


  58. The "Highest Standards" of Clergy Morality by David K. Jaeger

    United Methodism, perhaps unwittingly, has recently added to our corporeal mythology by rendering its judgment that fidelity is located not in the heart, but in the genitals. The highest standards apparently were beyond the grasp of United Methodism’s General Conference. We have instead settled for standards well below the highest. So where is fidelity seated? Is it in the genitals, the heart, the will or the actions?

  59. The ‘Multiple Factor’ and Economic Development by Richard W. Sales

    Just by being itself, the church could provide the key to self-help programs that work. It is so easy to concentrate on either/or: either service to humanity or propagation of the faith, as though they were mutually exclusive.

  60. The Beginning of a Ministry by Richard Lischer

    Two poignant requests confront a minister arriving at a new parish. Even before the first Sunday, requirements are forthcoming that no seminary education can bequeath. Yet who we are is what matters.

  61. The Call to Prison Ministry by Kenneth L. Carder

    Few ministers and laity show much concern for the incarcerated. Unless they are involved with the people in jails and prisons, Christians will surely lack integrity, consistency and dependability -- qualities needed by the imprisoned.

  62. The Church and Power Conflicts by John C. Bennett

    The church needs many ministers who identify themselves with the efforts of the poor to gain power to balance the thousands of ministers who, implicitly, give their blessings to the way the strong keep their power. In no church should the Gospel be reduced to simple advocacy of this or that social goal. The preaching and the liturgy should clearly transcend the immediate teaching about the social issues.

  63. The Disappearance of Theology from the Oldline Churches by John B. Cobb, Jr.

    What has disappeared is the serious activity of faith seeking understanding or self-consciously Christian reflection on important issues. The authors suggests that denominational leaders must function as theologians, and pastors must reclaim not only the title but the reality. And lay theology must be renewed.

  64. The Ethnic Pastor in a Multicultural Society by Roland M. Kawano

    At the very end of his ministry, Jesus threw open the shutters. ‘Make disciples of all nations,’ he said, but we are asking newcomers to cross language and culture barriers to become white Anglo-Saxon Anglicans.

  65. The Human Web: Reflections on the State of Pastoral Theology by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

    Pastoral theologians may have felt uneasy about the ethos of pop psychology and self-analysis, but they flourished within it.

  66. The Ministerial Mystique by Robert M. Healey

    A discussion of the plight of pastors who have chosen to cooperate in the cultural victimization that confines them to a limited number of non-threatening activities. The pastorate can be a trap frustrating the ministers need of fulfillment as a person -- a prison in which all of the minister’s work may be no more than institutionally self-serving trivia.

  67. The Ministry in Historical Perspectives by H. Richard Niebuhr and Daniel D. Williams (eds.)

    (ENTIRE BOOK) The subject of this book concerns the various concepts of what a "minister" is. From the time of St. Paul and the primitive church to the present, ministry developed in many directions. The various authors of these chapters demonstrate what the ministry has been, what it is today (1956) and the portent of what it is to become.

  68. The Pros and Cons of Robert Schuller by Wildred Bockelman

    It is no more possible to be a nonprophetic church than to be a nonevangelistic church. When there are injustices in a community and the members of a church are in positions of power, it is their Christian witness also to use their positions in the secular world to work for justice.

  69. Tying Knots by Lawrence Wood

    Most weddings may be utterly pagan, but even these can be moments of utter joy, and Jesus is present.

  70. Vicious Cycles by Anthony B. Robinson

    Institutional decline and too many unmet objectives have created a vicious cycle of anxiety leading to a high level of activity that is without clear focus or sense of purpose. Congregations can gain clarity and confidence if the focus is on a few but obtainable goals.

  71. What do Associate Pastors Want? by Jason Byassee

    Senior and associate pastors need to listen, pray and pay attention to one another.

  72. Whatever Happened to Ministers’ Wives by L. Michael Jendrzejczyk

    A new life style has brought new demands, new guilts and, one hopes, new satisfactions. Almost everything we once held sacrosanct as “queens” (oh, dear God!) of the parsonage has been demythologized -- and not a minute too soon. It seems only fitting to ask a few questions and make a few observations about the new women married to ministers.

  73. Where Are We Going in Pastoral Care? by Leroy T. Howe

    The future of pastoral care rests not only with clinically competent and theologically informed professionals, but also, and more crucially, with committed and effective lay-persons.

  74. Why Pastors Leave Parish Ministry by David Wood

    The book reviewed in this article suggest a number of reasons why clergy leave local church ministry. Of especial concerns is conflict, desire for specialized ministry and burnout.

  75. Wise Teachers, Sound Teaching by Eugene H. Peterson

    Teaching is both important and central as a pastor's task in the congregation.

  76. Young, Male and Married by John Dart

    Churches want a new pastor to be under 40, married to a nonworking woman who volunteers on church committees. A massive education program, especially for lay leaders is needed to convince them of the many good pastors are available who are female and of many colors. The alternative is many churches without pastors in a few years.