There is no question that pastors are under great stress today. Difficulties tear at the heart of the pastor but are often hidden from the view of the congregation.
Kenneth Swetland presents a compelling look at this hidden world through true stories from pastors of different ages and from different parts of the country, various denominations, and diverse backgrounds. Meet Pete, Dirk, Norm, Ted, and others who face such problems as depression, sexual sin, family concerns, friction in staff relationships, gender and leadership conflicts, debt, and divorce.
The thirteen case studies can be read alone or used by groups of pastors and/or students for discussion. Reading and discussing the case studies will give insight into the pastor's own problems. Having worked through their own concerns, they will be better equipped to minister to others. Laypeople would also benefit from reading the cases to gain deeper understanding of the world of pastoring and to learn when to offer support and counsel to their own pastors.
'The Hidden World of the Pastor' includes bibliographic entries as well as an appendix on how to teach a case study.
Developed from in-depth interviews, these case studies reveal common problems. A pastor must mediate when worship styles divide a congregation. A family faces financial problems after an illness. A pastor seeks forgiveness after an affair. The author suggests that pastors need to come together for mutual support and friendship often unavailable within the congregation.