What should a pastor do?
What makes a pastor good or effective?
What is a pastor, after all?
Hundreds of books, tapes, workshops and seminars promise to answer these impossible questions. Some offer a set of practical guidelines; others suggest a system or pattern to follow. Some stress various ministry functions; others feature case studies as models of success or failure. Some are helpful. Others are not. But in The Art of Pastoring, David Hansen turns pastoral self-help programs on their heads. He tackles the perennial questions from within his own experience.
From the Inside Out
Hansen's fresh, bold narrative grows from nearly a decade of ministry. He draws you into his life and into the lives of Florence-Victor Parish in the mountains of Montana, including unforgettable encounters with unforgettable people—a stubborn pioneer woman who still chops her own firewood though she's blind and 90 years old, a championship rodeo cowboy who was baptized in his boots, and many more.
Hansen's goal is to help you discover "that pastoral ministry is a life, not a technology . . . [that] life as a pastor is far more than the sum of the tasks I carry out. It is a call from God that involves my whole life."
From Calling to Living Parable
Every pastor has encountered those who struggle to hear God's voice in a hospital room, who reach for Jesus in the sacraments. No systematic answers can meet their deep, eternal needs. What can touch them, Hansen contends, is a life itself, a life lived as a parable of Jesus. "As a parable of Jesus Christ," Hansen writes, "I deliver something to the parishioner that I am not, and in the process I deliver the parishioner into the hands of God."
It is this knack for getting to the heart of things that makes The Art of Pastoring valuable for pastors in any setting—rural, suburban or urban. Para-church workers, missionaries, church leaders and ministry volunteers will also find inspiration here.
In this significantly revised new edition, Hansen includes new insights into his view of pastorate as parable and adds a new postlude in which he comes clean on his "constant attempts to leave the ministry."