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Pastoring the Pastor
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I first read "Pastoring the Pastor" for a pastoral intern study group and really loved it and grew from reading it.

The format is a series of emails between a rookie pastor (Daniel) and his veteran-pastor uncle Eldon. Fresh out of seminary, Daniel entered the pastorate into a church that had trouble holding onto pastors. Immediately problems surface for Daniel, exposing his naivety and the unrealistic expectations he had entering the pastorate.

He pleads for wisdom and counsel from his uncle in an email and starts a great mentoring relationship with his seasoned uncle which we observe over the course of the whole book.

Strengths of this book:
-Character development. The authors do a great job developing characters and showing common personalities existing in many churches.
-Humor. I found myself laughing out loud several times reading this book. I don't want to spoil anything, so you'll have to read it yourself.
-Realistic showcasing of struggles of a pastor and struggles of his church
-It is an interesting story that teaches lessons and ministry principles powerfully.
-Format. It has an addicting format. Emails range from a quick note to a few pages long, which led me to keep saying, `Maybe I'll read just one more email!'

Weaknesses:
-Nothing. The only thing I was disappointed with is the fact that it had to end!

I would highly recommend this book for anyone going into the pastorate. It is a must read for those in seminary or going into the ministry.

@Kp_Halloran
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I first read "Pastoring the Pastor" for a pastoral intern study group and really loved it and grew from reading it.

The format is a series of emails between a rookie pastor (Daniel) and his veteran-pastor uncle Eldon. Fresh out of seminary, Daniel entered the pastorate into a church that had trouble holding onto pastors. Immediately problems surface for Daniel, exposing his naivety and the unrealistic expectations he had entering the pastorate.

He pleads for wisdom and counsel from his uncle in an email and starts a great mentoring relationship with his seasoned uncle which we observe over the course of the whole book.

Strengths of this book:
-Character development. The authors do a great job developing characters and showing common personalities existing in many churches.
-Humor. I found myself laughing out loud several times reading this book. I don't want to spoil anything, so you'll have to read it yourself.
-Realistic showcasing of struggles of a pastor and struggles of his church
-It is an interesting story that teaches lessons and ministry principles powerfully.
-Format. It has an addicting format. Emails range from a quick note to a few pages long, which led me to keep saying, `Maybe I'll read just one more email!'

Weaknesses:
-Nothing. The only thing I was disappointed with is the fact that it had to end!

I would highly recommend this book for anyone going into the pastorate. It is a must read for those in seminary or going into the ministry.

@Kp_Halloran
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
In Pastoring the Pastor Tim Cooper and Kelvin Gardiner tell the story of Daniel Donford, the new minister at Broadfield Community Church. Like many young ministers, pastor Dan begins his ministry feeling self assured that he has the right skills and techniques to grow the church (applying the techniques of his favorite church growth guru). It doesn't take him very long in ministry to discover that what he thinks will work and what actually works, is not necessarily the same. Lucky for him, pastor Dan has an uncle who spent 38 years in ministry with the same church and has years of wisdom to impart. In a series of back and forth emails, Uncle Eldon guides young Dan in how to keep his priorities straight in ministry, make sure he is attending to proper soul care, helps him deal with conflict and difficult people in the church and power struggles, encourages to make sure he develops a proper support network, and guides him how to offer pastor care to parishioners and a minister friend caught in the vise of pornography.
The entire book is made up of a series of emails, mostly between Dan and Eldon, though we also get to hear from parishoners about what they think about their new minister. Despite my skepticism of didactic fiction (fiction who's primary aim is to teach you something) I was engaged by the story and found that the fictional uncle Eldon had lots of wisdom to impart. I would recommend this book for seminarians and those who are in ministry (certainly others could read it fruitfully but I think the audience who would benefit most from it are those). The content and language of this book assumes that the pastor is male, so my ordained female friends would have to make some adjustments but the advice is biblically sound and wise. As someone who is seminary trained and vocationally called to ministry, I appreciated the practical advice even as I look for a call. It reminded me of a couple of classes I had which warned of the pitfalls implicit in ministry. The fictional format allows Cooper and Gardiner to address the issues in an engaging way. I do not hesitate to recommend this to any of my colleagues in ministry.

I recieved this book through Cross Focused Reviews and Christian Focus publications in exchange for this review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ministry is hard but necessary work. The Christian lives with the daily tension of being in the world while not being of the world as they are adopted by a King in Jesus whose kingdom is never ending. To help equip the saints for the work of ministry, Pastors are charged with feeding the flock through the preaching of the Word, giving pastoral care and overseeing the flock of God. Young Pastors especially need guidance and mentors to help navigate the many difficult situations that ministry brings not to mention guidance on how to navigate their own lives.

One of the more encouraging themes I've noticed in recent books coming out is to help the Pastor with his own spiritual growth. This theme continues in the helpful new book Pastoring the Pastor Emails of a Journey through Ministry by Tim Cooper and Kelvin Gardiner. This book chronicles the journey of Daniel Donford into ministry and his ministry as a Pastor. Daniel as a new pastor is excited filled with bright dreams and a big future for his new church. Discouragement lies just around the corner as opposition and obstacles lay ahead of him threatening to end his journey into pastoral ministry before it has even begun. Thankfully Dan has his Uncle Eldon: a wise, experienced firm, but understanding Pastor. Eldon as an experienced pastor helps Dan to navigate through his trials and disasters. The wisdom Eldon offers through a series of emails help Dan to see himself as he really is, in need of the mercy of God and helps Dan transform into a mature, selfless, loving pastor God wants him to be.

Pastoring the Pastor is a book I whole heartedly recommend. This heart-warming and at times heart-wrenching story of the ups and downs of ministry gives not only a realistic but also all kinds of practical and godly wisdom that will help pastors (and those they shepherd) toward understanding and an appreciation of what really matters as we serve Christ and His people. This would be a good book for the Bible College, or seminary student to read who is thinking and praying hard about entering pastoral ministry as this book will help these students to have realistic expectations about pastoral ministry. This book will help young Pastors also who are facing the same struggles Daniel is facing but with wisdom. Either way this book will help seminary students and young Pastors to begin to learn how to deal with opposition and obstacles in life and ministry.

Title: Pastoring the Pastor: Emails of a Journey Through Ministry

Author: Tim Cooper and Kelvin Gardiner

Publisher: Christian Focus (2012)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Christian Focus book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Pastoring the Pastor: Emails of a Journey Through Ministry
©2012 by Tim Cooper and Kelvin Gardiner
Published by Christian Focus Publications
eBook

This is an easy to read and even easier to enjoy little book. The authors invite us to look over the shoulder of a young pastor as he composes a number of emails to his uncle, who is a veteran pastor and as he reads the responding emails. The email addresses give us a hint of how the relationship begins. The young pastor is daniel@hubris.com, his uncle is eldon@charis.net! Eventually Daniel moves to the same email provider as his uncle Eldon.

We vicariously experience the thrill of a new pastorate and reality as it sets in. We also get to read the email of a few others (with their permission of course) who give us their unique perspective on how things are going at Broadfield Community Church. We are comforted by uncle Eldon's wisdom and insight. We move from feeling like eavesdroppers to being invested in Daniel's ministry. It is a delightful journey.

I recommend this book to new pastors (and their wives) and to church members who would like to get inside of the head and heart of their pastor. Even older pastors will enjoy the memories and be challenged to become Eldons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Pastoring the pastor, by Tim Cooper and Kelvin Gardiner, is a new publication from Christian Focus, endorsed by folk like Hector Morrison, Timothy George and John Woodhouse. It is a true to life account of a new pastor's first two years in ministry in small-town America, recounted by the emails he exchanged with his uncle and other people.

It's a very easy book to read and although there's no way that it's a pastoral theology, still it gently makes some really important points about the nature and goals of Christian ministry. In this way it reminds me of Preaching with Freshness, by Bruce Mawhinney, though it's not as "teachy" or as thorough.

I did find a certain cultural gap between the world the book is set in and the world I've inhabited. In my ministries in Wales and France I have never encountered anyone like the people in this book. But maybe that's a good thing. If the characters were more true to life we'd be tempted to start classifying our church folk as our Compton, Krinks or Murkowski...

There's a certain theological or methodological distance, too. I have never thought of my fellow-elders in the way that our protagonist thinks of his elders, or of my calling as he does.

However I very much enjoyed "Pastoring the pastor". Read the book. It will do you good. It may make you laugh. It may make you weep. It will help you to reflect on your ministry, and that without confrontation or condemnation. That is, unless you read it too quickly... Perhaps it's a book to read twice. Firstly to enjoy the story, then to reflect on the points being made.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Pastors have it made don't they? They only have to work one day a week, everyone looks up to and respects them, and they easily make friends with everyone. The good life!

Well, I'm pretty sure no one reading this feels this way, but what is it like being a Pastor? What kinds of things do they have to deal with? What are their struggles? What are their hopes? How can we help?

Pastoring the Pastor, is window into the world of pastoral ministry. This clever little book allows us to see the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with the job. The story will grip and pull you, as you begin to see the inner lives of those who aim to faithfully serve their congregations.

The book is unique in that it consists entirely of email correspondences between the various people involved, most of which is between Daniel Donford, a young, but ambitious pastor stepping into his first job, and his older Uncle Eldon, who has a lifetime of ministry behind him. The conversations are brief, as well as sharp at times, but it is through these that we glimpse the inner life and struggles of ministry leaders.

I love this book. While many books are written in the abstract or theoretical plane, this one lives where the rubber meets the road. This is real life. My heart was truly opened to the difficult and multifaceted role pastors play. I was confronted with the often hidden or neglected truth that pastors are people too. They experience life just as we do, only under more scrutiny and with higher expectations.

I highly recommend, Pastoring the Pastor, to Pastors needing to be encouraged and for the congregations who desire to love them more effectively.

I'd like to thank Cross Focused Reviews for sending me this free copy for review.
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on February 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a pastoral theology with a difference. Instead of the usual systematic and logical dissection and examination of the pastor's office, call, duties, relationships, etc., we have an email dialogue between rookie Pastor Dan and his Uncle Eldon, a mature Christian elder in another congregation. There are a few other email exchanges thrown in, revealing a bit more of the story from different angles, but the vast majority is the varied correspondence that passed between Pastor Dan and Uncle Eldon when Dan went to his first congregation...and started sinking.

Although the email correspondence is novel and entertaining, initially I didn't think I was learning much from it all, and almost gave up. But as the book progressed, I realized more and more that some fairly fundamental lessons were subtly yet powerfully seeping into my life via the narrative. I like system, logic, bullet points, and summaries as much as the next person, and yet I found this "story" approach surprisingly effective in communicating important and memorable lessons for ministry.

Admittedly, some of the correspondence stretched belief and some of it is simply silly (e.g. the congregational barn dance), but some of the most ridiculous parts of the story are, I'm afraid, all too real, as many pastors will testify.

Uncle Eldon is a wise mentor to his novice nephew and dispenses a wide range of priceless encouragement, rebuke, and direction that will be applicable to most pastors, and especially to those just starting out. It's like an inside look into ministry, a sort of "ministry reality show," that should help prepare seminary students for the transition from classroom ideals to the treacherous bogs of pastoral ministry. Read it with a notebook on hand and you'll be surprised at how frequently you'll jot down valuable counsel.

But it's not just for pastors, it would also be a helpful read for every Christian, giving you insight to what ministry is like behind-the-scenes and how your actions and words can impact pastors and their families for good and evil.

Above all it's an encouraging story of transforming grace as we watch a proud and self-sufficient young guy be shaped and and transformed in the ministry for ministry, and in the process watch his congregation be similarly and beautifully metamorphosed by God's almighty grace.
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on March 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book takes us through the first couple of years of a new pastor in his first church. Things happen, as they always do in new relationships, but God is faithful to his people, and he brings the young man through it all with compassion and grace. I will be recommending this book to all my pastoral students for a long time.
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on November 5, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
What an insightful and powerful book! The author has done an excellent job in weaving together the journey of a young pastor in a fictionalized setting. The struggles of Dan are real and the insights from Uncle Eldon exceptional. A must read for all pastors-for those just starting out and seasoned pastors alike! God can really use this book to help you in your ministry-in understandng people, situations and how God might want you to deal with them. Most of all, be ready for God to do a work in you!!
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