Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry

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9780687045327: Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry

Ordained ministry, says Willimon, is a gift of God to the church--but that doesn't mean that it is easy. Always a difficult vocation, changes in society and the church in recent years have made the ordained life all the more complex and challenging. Is the pastor primarily a preacher, a professional caregiver, an administrator? Given the call of all Christians to be ministers to the world, what is the distinctive ministry of the ordained? When does one's ministry take on the character of prophet, and when does it become that of priest? What are the special ethical obligations and disciplines of the ordained? In this book, Willimon explores these and other central questions about the vocation of ordained ministry.

He begins with a discussion of who pastors are, asking about the theological underpinnings of ordained ministry, and then moves on to what pastors do, looking at the distinctive roles the pastor must fulfill. The book also draws on great teachers of the Christian tradition to demonstrate that, while much about Christian ministry has changed, its core concerns--preaching the word, the care of souls, the sacramental life of congregations--remains the same.

Ordained ministry is a vocation to which we are called, not a profession that we choose. To answer that call is to open oneself to heartache and sometimes hardship; yet, given the one who calls, it is to make oneself available to deep and profound joy as well.

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From the Back Cover:

A comprehensive guide to the joys and challenges of pastoral ministry by one of today's foremost preachers. "For anyone who is working out 'with fear and trembling' what it means to be in ministry, this book is a gift. Will Willimon's book is solid theology with a profound understanding of Scripture for this ministerial calling." --Tony Campolo, Eastern College "Pastors are a battered breed these days. Images and impressions range from cheap to glittering to dogged. Will Willimon will have none of it; he counters with an enormous infusion of dignity, but it is dignity without a trace of pomposity. By articulating our baptismal, biblical, and theological foundations, he trumps a demeaning culture and a trivializing church, and restores honor to our vocations." --Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College. "There is great confusion these days about the role and function of a Protestant pastor. Writing out of his deep knowledge of Scripture and church history, and out of his long experience in the pastorate, Willimon furnishes some clear and compelling answers. I would recommend that every pastor and seminarian read, study, and reflect on this book." Elizabeth Achtemeier, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia "Pastor is the crowning achievement of Willimon's years of experience and research. It covers everything, from one's calling to ministry to every facet of personal and pastoral work with thoroughness and evangelical passion. Anyone who follows this theologically grounded, deeply practical guide will experience a rebirth of their calling and evolution of their ministry." Robert Webber, Northern Seminary

About the Author:

Feeling most at home behind a pulpit, Will Willimon’s deepest calling is to be a preacher and truth-teller of Jesus Christ. He is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke University Divinity School and retired Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church, after serving for 20 years as faculty member and Dean of the Chapel at Duke University. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Will Willimon has published many books, including his preaching subscription service on MinistryMatters.com, Pulpit Resource, and Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, both published by Abingdon Press.

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