- Paperback: 392 pages
- Publisher: Abingdon Press (Feb. 15 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0687045320
- ISBN-13: 978-0687045327
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #185,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry Paperback – Feb 15 2002
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About the Author
Feeling most athome behind a pulpit, Bishop William H. Willimon s deepest calling is to be a preacher and truth-teller of Jesus Christ. Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke University Divinity School and retiredBishop 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 continues to give lectures and teach at universities around the world. Willimon earned a doctoral degree from Emory University and has been honored with 13 additional doctorates. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama. Astudy by the Pulpit and Pew Research Center found that Willimon is one of the most widely read authors among mainline Protestant pastors. An international survey conducted by Baylor University named him one of the "Twelve Most Effective Preachers" in the English-speaking world. With over a million copies of more than 60 books sold, his popularity is undeniable.
Top customer reviews
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Critique: Although Willimon surprised me by quoting from several of the Reformers (Calvin and Luther) as well as even the Westminster Confession of faith, some of his more liberal United Methodism showed forth in his constant references and applications to female pastors. The Bishop went well out of his way to include female ministers and priests in most discussions, but did little to justify his view of gender and ordination. For this reason, Willimon might deserve some "push back" for not defending the controversial position of open ordination. This might be surprising, since he so clearly labors to connect modern pastoral work with that of the ancients and Reformers.
Application: Willimon opened my eyes to a broader understanding of baptism as a delineating mark upon the minister's role of leading the covenant people of God. Although he does not give a full-fledged theology of baptism as a sign and seal of faith (I'm not sure he would even use those terms), he did find occasion to draw baptism into almost every pastoral discussion on the love, labor, and responsibility of the ordained person to tend especially to those who have openly identified with Christ by the covenantal sign of water. I found his incessant references to baptism refreshing, and it reminded me to speak more often of baptism's ongoing significance for the Christian life.
Best Quote: "The church itself forms a culture that is counter to the world's ways of doing things. The church does not simply reach out to and speak to the dominant culture, it seeks to disrupt that culture by rescuing some from it, then to inculcate people into the new culture called the church" (p. 209).
-Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida
To be sure, with such depth and exhaustive content, I didn't agree with everything that Willimon mentioned. I thought his discussion about potentially contentious issues like homosexuality and the ordination of women was rather dismissive, almost implying that those conversations have been unanimously resolved. With his background entrenched in the Protestant mainline, I found his periodic references to the evangelical church to be somewhat caricaturish and overly simplistic. And that mainline background informs his bias towards more "high church" models of corporate worship, which made some of his instructions and examples about how pastors should lead a congregation in worship to be rather disconnected from my experiences in the evangelical, "low church" world.
But with these points of disconnect notwithstanding, I really appreciated Willimon's book. I feel freshly excited about entering the world of vocational, ordained ministry (without feeling like Willimon has offered anything other than a full-fledged commitment to the "priesthood of all believers"). I am reminded of the challenges that surely lie ahead in pastoral ministry. And I suspect that I'll refer back to this book at various points, as a helpful reference book to both theoretical and practical ("theology and practice") aspects of the pastorate. I'm happy to recommend the book to pastors, novice and experienced, for a solid grounding in what we do what we do and how we might do it most effectively for God's glory.