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Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation [Paperback]

Our Price $ 11.90  
Retail Value $ 14.00  
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Item Number 144009  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.72" Width: 5.94" Height: 0.32"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 21, 2003
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802821286  
EAN  9780802821287  


Availability  5 units.
Availability accurate as of May 24, 2017 03:50.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
Overview
The opening months of a new pastorate are decisive for how that ministry will unfold, so great care should be taken to begin wisely and well. Simply transplanting programs and habits that worked elsewhere, ignoring the specific dynamics of the new congregation and its people, making too few significant changes, or making too many insignificant changes will create problems for the new pastor that may never be overcome. "Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation" offers specific, down-to-earth principles and guidance on how to make a good beginning, one that will lay the foundation for years of fruitful ministry. Drawing on twenty-five years of parish ministry, during which he has mentored many new and transitioning pastors, Lawrence Farris here provides ten guidelines, illustrated with relevant examples, that identify potential pitfalls and show how to avoid them. Such areas as preaching, pastoral care, self-care, community and denominational commitments, and role clarity are addressed with an emphasis on practical approaches to ministry in a new setting. Farris also gives clear advice on how to learn the new congregation and its setting, how to set appropriate personal and professional boundaries, and how to stay focused on what matters most in a new ministry. Lively, practical, and brief enough for the new pastor to have time to actually read it, "Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation" is a must-read both for pastors on the move and for individuals preparing for first-time ministry.

Publishers Description
The opening months of a new pastorate are decisive for how that ministry will unfold, so great care should be taken to begin wisely and well. Simply transplanting programs and habits that worked elsewhere, ignoring the specific dynamics of the new congregation and its people, making too few significant changes, or making too many insignificant changes will create problems for the new pastor that may never be overcome. "Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation" offers specific, down-to-earth principles and guidance on how to make a good beginning, one that will lay the foundation for years of fruitful ministry.Drawing on twenty-five years of parish ministry, during which he has mentored many new and transitioning pastors, Lawrence Farris here provides ten guidelines, illustrated with relevant examples, that identify potential pitfalls and show how to avoid them. Such areas as preaching, pastoral care, self-care, community and denominational commitments, and role clarity are addressed with an emphasis on practical approaches to ministry in a new setting. Farris also gives clear advice on how to learn the new congregation and its setting, how to set appropriate personal and professional boundaries, and how to stay focused on what matters most in a new ministry. Lively, practical, and brief enough for the new pastor to have time to actually read it, "Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation" is a must-read both for pastors on the move and for individuals preparing for first-time ministry.

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More About Lawrence W. Farris

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Lawrence W. Farris, who has served three pastorates in Maryland and Michigan, teaches comparative religion at Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville, Michigan.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Solid and practical tool for pastors  May 2, 2006
Lawrence Farris is a parish pastor and teaches comparative religion at Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville, Michigan. The intent of "10 Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation" is to provide brief, practical advice in a book that is "brief enough to actually read."

The second part of this goal is certainly a success-it is indeed a brief with lively narrative and liberally used anecdotes. I consider myself a slow reader and I finished it in about three hours.

The first goal is also successful as Farris gives the reader helpful advice and principles to make their parish transitions smooth, to avoid ministry-crippling mistakes, and to put a new pastor in a place of trust and leadership as quickly as possible.

The book is divided into an introduction, 10 brief chapters (one on each "commandment"), and a two-page afterword. The ten chapters/commandments advise the pastor to 1) purposefully be a cultural historian at your congregation, 2) when you use a "blue-chip-for-change," make sure the change matters, 3) make sure your sermons are consistently of a high quality, 4) make sure that you clearly understand the church's financial situation, 5) don't create unrealistic long-term expectations, 6) make sure you take care of your own health, 7) learn who the chronic "complainers," "problem-havers," etc. are, 8) limit your outside activities, 9) always remember what your primary pastoral duties are, and 10) be aware that when a pastor participates in something, he gives it a type of divine sanction.

In all, each of these commandments are well-presented and relevant for me as I begin my ministry. While "10 Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation" is not profound, it is quite solid; a pastor-whether new to a congregation or a grizzled veteran of his parish-would do well to invest the three hours it will take him to read this book.
 
Thou shalt read this...  Feb 27, 2004
This book should be required reading for any new pastor in a congregation. One of the key virtues of this text is that it is very short and to the point - the last thing a new pastor needs, who is trying to figure out all manner of things from where is the emergency water shut-off to who are the key supporters and trouble-makers in a congregation, is to find a big, thick book that `needs' to be read. Most often such texts will be skimmed, or serve as a doorstop, being so imposing a presence that the new pastor won't even pretend to attempt to read it. Farris' book, `Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation', has fewer than 100 pages, and can probably be read by most in one sitting, given that the text is engaging, accessible, and not in any way dense.

Practicality is the key word here. Farris' commandments address key concerns a new pastor will have; `Thou Shalt Be a Cultural Historian', for example, speaks of the need to figure out the place - the church, the communities within the church, the church's place in the broader community, the history of people who have been there (and often, of people who are no longer there, including the previous pastor...). Making sure the church is in good order financially, physically and spiritually is the responsibility of the pastor, but not for the pastor to do alone. I would probably have moved Farris' sixth commandment (`Thou Shalt Take Care of Thyself from Day One') to the first commandment spot, given that this is, as often as not, where ministers neglect their duty, and in the drive to be all things to all other people, they neglect their families and themselves.

Farris' is direct and blunt, addressing major issues of the day - his tenth commandment is right out of the original Ten Commandments - `Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery'. Lest you think this is a metaphor for something else in ministry, guess again. With sexuality issues a key concern for denominations Catholic and Protestant, this is an important reminder of the kinds of personal standards that the church expects from its ministers as it prepares to preach to others.

Knowing one's job is a difficult task, even for those with extensive training and seminary education. Limiting oneself to the tasks of ministry that are expected and being able and willing to delegate what can be shared (making ministry of the other church tasks helps to empower the congregation as well as helps to save the minister) is an important skill, but that skill must be borne of the recognition that ministry is a shared enterprise, but there are still things to be done by individuals (and that individual does not always have to be the minister). My one disagreement with Farris in this chapter would be in his discussion of the pastor as resident theologian; depending upon the nature of the congregation, this might be true, but there are congregations with high educational levels of attainment, and the particular theological training of congregation members might exceed that of the minister, so the wise minister will find these things out in the learning of the cultural history.

Farris adds a final commandment, an eleventh one, which relates to the idea of clergy self-care in the sixth commandment of his. This is the commandment to draw together a community of support, or at the very least a mentor or discussion partner. Some would also see this an opportunity to engage (as the seeker) in spiritual direction. In any event, it is very wise advice.

Each commandment is very simple and short. The book is a blessing, in that it will most likely remind the pastor or reader of what she or he already knows, but helps to clarify and crystallise issues for easy remembering, and hopefully, easier practice.

 
Simple presentation of important information  Nov 14, 2003
I needed this book when I was a new pastor. It took two years to get to the point where we could back up, and tend to the issues presented simply and thoughtfully in this book. Farris, an insightful consultant and forward thinker, grounds his book in love for the congregant, God and the pastor herself. The human condition does not escape the sanctuary, and Farris provides gentle reminders of that fact. He does not shy away from issues such as adultery (read the last chapter) and the problem makers, but faces these issues with a gentleness that gives respect to the humanity within the issues. Farris could go deeper and sharper with his insights, yet the end result is a book of thoughtful wisdom, that can lead to pastoral and congregational health.
 

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