Pastor: Revised Edition: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry

Pastor: Revised Edition: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry

by William H Willimon


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Ordained ministry, says Will 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?

Pastor: Revised Edition explores these and other central questions about the vocation of ordained ministry. It 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501804908
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 12/14/2015
Pages: 402
Sales rank: 550,194
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Will Willimon has long been a trusted colleague for working preachers. He is known for his encouragement of his fellow preachers to enjoy telling the truth of Jesus Christ. He is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke University Divinity School, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, and is a retired Bishop of the United Methodist Church. For 20 years as, as Dean of the Chapel at Duke University, Will became known as one of America’s most engaging preachers of the gospel.

Will Willimon has published many books, including his preaching subscription service on, Pulpit Resource, and Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, both published by Abingdon Press.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Revised Edition 9

Introduction 11

1 Ordination: Why Pastors? 27

2 Ministry for the Twenty-First Century: Images of the Pastor 55

3 The Pastor as Priest: The Leadership of Worship 75

4 The Priest as Pastor: Worship as the Content and Context of Pastoral Care 91

5 The Pastor as Interpreter of Scripture: A People Created by the Word 109

Interlude: The Wonderful Thickness of the Text 132

6 The Pastor as Preacher: Servant of the Word 137

Interlude: Preaching in Acts 156

7 The Pastor as Counselor: Care That Is Christian 167

Interlude: Augustine's Confessions as a Word-Made World 182

8 The Pastor as Teacher: Christian Formation 197

9 The Pastor as Evangelist: Christ Means Change 215

Interlude: Evangelism and the Irresistibility of Jesus 227

10 The Pastor as Prophet: Truth Telling in the Name of Jesus 239

Interlude: Sin in Christian Ministry 254

11 The Pastor as Lead Missionary: Sent 263

12 The Pastor as Leader: The Peculiarity of Christian Leadership 281

Interlude: Failure in Ministry 294

13 The Pastor as Character: Clergy Ethics 303

14 The Pastor as Disciplined Christian: Constancy in Ministry 319

Notes 341

Names Index 385

Scripture Index 391

Subject Index 397

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