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The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry: Preparing a People for the Presence of the Lord Paperback – February 13, 2012

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The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry: Preparing a People for the Presence of the Lord + Preparing for Ministry: A Practical Guide to Theological Field Education + Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (February 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830838244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838240
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"David Rohrer writes like Eugene Peterson. Just as Peterson used Jonah's story to call a generation of pastors to 'vocational holiness,' so Rohrer uses John the Baptist's story to call this generation of pastors to point to Jesus. In our look-at-me culture where congregations glorify pastors, this book should be required reading for all who wish to 'make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'" (Scott Cormode, Hugh De Pree Professor of Leadership Development, Fuller Seminary)

"I work with pastors and seminarians every day and truly believe that there are few vocations which are more challenging. David Rohrer not only captures an authentic portrait of the often conflicted life and work of a pastor but points us in a direction of new vision, hope, healing and joy for the journey--all birthed from the unlikely story of John the Baptist. This is a refreshingly honest and biblically faithful book, and I will be recommending it not only to pastors and seminarians but also to anyone who loves the church and church leaders." (Stephen A. Hayner, president, Columbia Theological Seminary)

"This is a quiet and compelling witness of a pastor who has the courage to go against the consumer-driven, anxious and statistics-obsessed fashions that are a plague on the American church. Pastor David Rohrer doesn't underestimate the difficulties and challenges that face churches and pastors today but has chosen to cultivate a pastoral presence rooted in treating congregations with dignity and souls with holy respect. And he has lived to tell the story. Pastors, read this book. Friends, it is possible to do this." (Eugene H. Peterson, pastor emeritus of Christ Our King Presbyterian and translator of The Message)

"Being a pastor is a hard, weird and wonderful privilege of God's grace. Dave Rohrer honestly explores these realities in ways that hold together the tensions and hopes of a pastoral vocation. This candid book is as encouraging as it is sobering." (Mark Labberton, director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute for Preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of The Dangerous Act of Worship)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 12 customer reviews
It is simple yet engaging and profound.
Michael Leake
If you are thinking about, already involved with, or experienced in pastoral ministry, this book should be in your library.
C.H.E. Sadaphal
If our experience of Christ is real the Holy Spirit will draw people who are ready to come to us.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Morgan on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read quite a lot of books, and to be frank, there is a lot of mediocrity out there. I understand that reading and books is a very subjective activity and what is mediocre to one is wonderful to another and vice verser.

David Rohrer's book, The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry is quite simply wonderful. For me it is the best book I have read this year, and in my humble opinion should be read by every single person in pastoral ministry, regardless of denomination or structure.

Rohrer tackles the issues of being in pastoral ministry with what I can only call a spirit enabled wisdom. He consistently hits the nail on the head. There is no condemnation in this book. There ARE, however, plenty of challenges. There is also a wonderful dose of encouragement.

Here is an example of both:

"We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to seeding things into our lives that destroy our confidence. The narcism that sends us looking for congregational affirmation also sows the seeds of self-doubt and insecurity. When these seeds begin to germinate, the sound of our own voice commands more of our attention than the voice of God. In the face of criticism, fatigue and failure, it is easy to forget that our ministry fits into the greater reality of God's story. It is easy to forget that we do our work in response to God's call in the name of Jesus. Instead of seeing ourselves as participants in the work of God by the mercy of God, we myopically fixate on all that we are not, all that we might have been and all that we should be. The abstractions of our fears displace the concrete reality of God's love and grace, and like Elijah after his bout with the prophets of Baal, we are left with nothing but fatigue and the sinking feeling that we are alone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Jeremy on March 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is so much hype around the contemporary pastor and church, especially concerning style and personality. Pastors are not called to be rock stars or self-help gurus, not are they called to be CEOs of a franchise company. The biblical role of pastor is lost in today's market-driven world and it is killing everyone! Young pastors are becoming disillusioned, old pastors feel like failures, and the church folk are nothing more than market research and polls number of the pastor's approval/disapproval rating. IT IS SICK, and Rohrer calls us all out.

The job of the pastor is simple: preach the Word and point people to Jesus. We are but vessels of His power and message. Rohrer is not ignorant of the tensions of ministries, but seeks to address them in this book while still keeping the focus on Jesus and the Gospel.

Pastors, put down you Barna report and pick up this book. Read it and then go back to preaching the Word regardless of the people's response.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Helen Holter on April 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry" by David Rohrer is an eloquent, reflective voice that speaks far beyond pastors and seminarians: It is a wake-up call for us parishioners and our unholy expectations of our pastors.

I'm not a pastor or seminarian, just a mere follower of Jesus. In reading Dave Rohrer's book, as a parishioner I see how easily I press my pastors into molds of jovial parsons, cult-of-personality theologians, and Jesus knock-offs. As Rohrer insightfully writes, I realize how faith is cheapened when I vicariously--unconsciously--live out my own faith through my pastors, letting them do the hard work while I sit back, happy to be spoon-fed their divine answers. I don't fully appreciate their role as proclaimers of the presence of the Lord--like the archetype prophet John the Baptist--in pointing us to follow Jesus, and to invite others along the journey. Nothing more, nothing less.

There's also a prophet of common sense in Pastor Dave's wife, Mary Ann, with her contrarian wisdom and warnings for pastor-spouses to honor both the holiness of their calls and the holy gift of their families. Otherwise, we parishioners could eat them all for lunch. With compelling honesty, David Rohrer invites us on that wild roller-coaster ride of faith: messy, bumpy, and unpredictable--yet always pointing to Jesus.

The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry: Preparing a People for the Presence of the Lord
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Leake on April 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
There is a spot on my stomach--somewhat stretched from too much McDonalds--that is a reminder of my days as an avid baseball player. I am not certain that it would classify as a scar. It's nothing gnarly. It is not a portrait of a painful injury or anything of the sort. It is simply a discoloration of the skin that certainly belongs in the scar family but probably as a sissy third cousin.

That "thing" on my stomach comes from not one play but a lifetime of aggressive baseball. It probably originally came from diving for ground balls playing shortstop or second base. It grew more pronounced with each stolen base and head first slide. It comes from stretching singles into doubles. And also of doing really silly things like trying to score from second on a potential double-play.

Honestly, I never really think about that "scar". But it is there and in a very real sense it is a part of who I am. It has become a part of my life though there was nothing cataclysmic that birthed it into existence, nor does it possess a neon light that causes me to notice it in my every day life. Some books are like that. You probably only vaguely remember them but they have somehow become a part of you. They get under your skin and shape you in ways that you really are not aware of. (For some reason I feel like Garth from Wayne's World right now).

I think David Rohrer's book The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry will be like that scar. Nothing earth shattering. Nothing that I will really fully remember. But something that will latch onto me and become a part of who I am.

Weird skin analogy over...
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