When a pastor finishes seminary, he has a knowledge of doctrine and has taken classes in the responsibilities of being a pastor. That preparation however, is a long way from knowing how to be a loving and effective pastor. Books can give only so much. Each congregation is different and probably won't fit into the seminary instruction's prescription anyway.
Mentoring can help. This book is not a how to for that kind of mentoring but rather a dialogue between an older pastor and the young pastor he mentored. Many areas are covered, such as interviewing, visiting the sick, not making any major changes until the third year (it takes that long to know your congregation), enduring a meeting where the vote will be about your future, and knowing when it's time to leave. Each chapter has comments from both men and then suggestions for facing the same kind of experience and books for further reading.
The strength of this book is the emotional impact of the mentoring dialogue. Counsel is offered by Phil, the seasoned pastor, and responses are made by Rich, the new pastor. New pastors will certainly resonate with the experiences discussed, such as some wanting you to be fired! How about the fellow who refused to come back to church because the sign board showing the attendance and offering had been taken down.
This book contains good back and forth comments on these and many more important issues for new pastors. While you will not get a precise strategy regarding the practice of receiving mentoring, you will see plenty of good wisdom and suggestions born out of experience. That Part 3 of the book is called “The Tumultuous Years” gives you an idea of the reality of the information. But this book is good for seasoned pastors too as it will encourage you to take a young pastor under your wing.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Phil A. Newton served as a pastor for over forty years. He continues mentoring and training pastors through The Pillar Network as Director of Pastoral Care and Mentoring and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor. He’s the author of several books, including 40 Questions about Pastoral Ministry and The Mentoring Church, and coauthor of Shepherding the Pastor. Phil and his wife live in Germantown, TN.
Rich C. Shadden has served as a pastor for over ten years. He continues pastoring and training pastors through the local church pastoral residency at Audubon Park Baptist Church and through Bethlehem College & Seminary, Memphis location, where he teaches as an adjunct professor. He is coauthor of Shepherding the Pastor. Rich, his wife, and their four children live in Memphis, TN.
Phil and Rich met at South Wood Baptist Church where Phil served as pastor for 35 years. Rich served as a pastoral intern under Phil’s mentorship for two years before beginning his role at Audubon Park Baptist Church. Their mentor/mentee relationship has continued over the past thirteen years.
New Growth Press, 160 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)