A common complaint of recent seminary graduates is their lack of preparation in practical theology, especially in the tasks of leadership. New pastors encounter a host of challenges that can seem overwhelming.
Biblically oriented, wise, and reassuring, Dana Fearon's Straining at the Oars presents twenty-one difficult situations that young ministers are likely to face on the job, including prayer in the hospital room, a request to baptize a dead infant, handling conflict and criticism, entering dangerous areas to reconcile hostile groups, and others. As part of his discussion, Fearon presents and reviews his own response to such situations, using his theological education and long experience in church ministry to instruct others.
This book is a treasure, written out of a lifetime of faithful and very effective ministry, full of hard-earned wisdom, grace, and practical insight. I wish I had read this book years ago.
Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago; Editor/publisher of The Christian Century
With a theological depth that could only come from decades of experience, Dana Fearon offers insight and reflection on the expected challenges of ministry and on some that no one could have ever anticipated. Rarely have I come upon a work that so resonates with my life as a pastor. After reading this, pastors will start thinking about even the most mundane realities of pastoral leadership in a freshly theological way.
-David A. Davis
Nassau Presbyterian Church
Honest, humble, wise, discerning, thoughtful, evocative, accessible...Though written for the recently ordained, these reflections also have much to teach those of us who have been 'straining at the oars' for decades as well as the seminarians we supervise, the officers we train, the adults we teach, and the congregations we serve.
-Cynthia A. Jarvis
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill
Why didn't the seminary teach us the things we needed to know? Stirred by that enduring question, this gem of a book offers wise and faithful reflections on pastoral leadership and pastoral life. Exploring numerous pastoral situations and challenges, it aptly points to the necessary partnership between seminaries and faith communities for the education and formation of their leaders--a never--ending process.
-Allan Hugh Cole Jr.
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
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