The Christian tradition is dynamic, not static. It is unfortunate that so many of our ministerial paradigms do not reflect this reality. Christianity, if it is to remain relevant, must find a way to articulate itself effectively in the modern world, without compromising essential Christian confessions. This is Derek Tidball's approach in his book Ministry by the Book: New Testament Patterns for Pastoral Leadership. Eschewing the idea that the NT gives us any rigid formula for pastoring, Tidball argues that each circumstance calls for different approaches and different tasks. As such, every approach must be biblically rooted, as must every task, but this has little or nothing to do with how it is done. Insightful, clear, and most of all dynamically rooted in the Bible, this book promises to give clarity on the methodologies and functionalities that confront every ministry.
The New Testament writers set before us a number of models of ministry, each of which is shaped by the particular needs of the churches they were serving. Their own backgrounds, ambitions and passions also contribute to what they have to say about ministry. The contours of New Testament pastoral leadership, inspired by the Holy Spirit, exhibit a genuine diversity that finds its unity in Christ and his gospel. Focusing on pastoral leadership within local churches or groups of churches, Derek Tidball provides a comprehensive survey of these models and patterns with applications for today's ministry. Tidball's overview offers "models of permission" that enable a freer approach to ministry and the way it is conducted, challenges the stunted understanding of ministry that can often characterize our churches today, and gives encouragement to those who do not fit a "ministry by numbers" approach. Well-grounded in relevant scholarship, Tidball's fresh engagement with the biblical texts, stimulating analysis and wise application will be of value to all who are established in pastoral leadership, or training for it, and looking to explore a variety of biblically valid approaches to ministry.
Derek Tidball is visiting scholar at Spurgeon's College, London. Previously he served as principal of the London School of Theology where he lectured in pastoral theology. His books include , , and commentaries in the Bible Speaks Today Series. In addition, he is series editor for the Bible Speaks Today Bible Themes Series.
"Tidball's systematic analysis of the books of the NT provides substantial insights into models of ministry that responded to particular needs of communities of faith in that era. . . Well structured and clearly written."
"Pastors often look to the New Testament for theological guidance but often miss the import of the books found there for practical leadership advice. But Derek Tidball's Ministry by the Book is a wonderful contribution to pastors who want to take the New Testament seriously theologically and practically. The author contends that 'the New Testament writers set before us a number of models of ministry, each one of which is shaped by the needs of the church they were serving. . . . Each New Testament book has a lot to say about pastoral leadership.' It is to this end that working pastors will find this book most valuable."
" Ministry by the Book is a valuable resource for anyone who takes the NT seriously in looking for biblically acceptable models for ministry in today's church."
"This unique book combines significant New Testament theology with great pastoral sensitivity. It helpfully navigates the questions of unity and diversity in the New Testament presentation of pastoral ministry."
"This book adds a needed injection into the discussion of the nature of the church and its leadership models in the twenty-first century. Many churches and pastors tend to be rigidly model-orientated, even emerging churches. Tidball offers 'models of permission' that enable a freer approach to ministry and the way it is conducted. He provides a refreshingly 'multicolored not monochrome' picture of ministry."