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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 2010
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.
Jack Owens5 Stars Out Of 5August 30, 2005Jack OwensI am a senior student at an Evangelical seminary and have just finished reading Willimons book, Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry, and I have to say that even though it has only been out since 2002, it is destined to be a classic. My interest in the book became heightened right from the introduction as Willimon focuses on discerning a call to ministry, and answers questions such as, If I really believe that God has called me into the ministry, what right have you to question my vocation? (17). He also rightly states that pastoral ministry is a difficult way to make a living. Early in the book, he makes the point that although ordination today is much different than it was in the early church and that all Christians share in Christs priesthood to the church, ordination is still a very necessary vocation and cites various reasons such as, The responsibility of ministers to ensure that there is continuity between the gospel preached today and the gospel as it has always been proclaimed (50). He then looks at the many images and expectations of the 21st century pastor, even devoting a couple of chapters focusing on the pastor as being a parish priest (rare from a Protestant author). Chapter by chapter, the author methodically examines the many roles of the pastor (i.e. counselor, teacher, evangelist, prophet, etc.) giving great explanations and answering many questions that are sure to arise during ones career in ministry.There are many things I like about this book. Just one example being the way Willimon treats scripture with reverence and respect, and acknowledges the power of scripture when in the hands of the pastor, this is a power many of todays pastors seem to take for granted. I wish I would have read this book early in my seminary experience, or better yet, during my discernment process. I know I will recommend it to anyone considering a lifetime of serving God in ordained ministry.
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