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The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers Paperback – October 24, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This book literally saved my ministry. " (From the foreword by Ian Stackhouse, Guildford Baptist Church, Surrey, UK)

"Hansen's The Art of Pastoring is a gem that most pastors should read every few years to recenter their lives and ministries on and in Jesus Christ. I do not fly fish, nor do I tend sheep. Yet I understand what Jesus means when he says to 'tend my sheep;' I also understand what Hansen means when he says that the pastor is the fisherman's fly." (Scott W. Sunquist, dean, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"One of the most vexing questions students and graduates face centers on pastoral identity. Complicating this, most parishioners have no idea what are realistic expectations. David Hansen's The Art of Pastoring gives concise, centering answers. It is a pastoral theology drawn from years of pastoral experience, and it brings back into focus what a pastor is truly called to be and do. It is a much-needed corrective in a day pastors have succumbed to being therapists, CEOs or artists. It belongs in the curriculum of any school serious about training pastors." (John Johnson, associate professor of pastoral theology, Western Seminary, and pastor, Village Church, Portland, Oregon)

"The 'art' of pastoring, indeed! Not a science, not a technique, not a manual-driven set of programs, but a deeply felt, highly nuanced story of God's transforming grace being manifest by his servants. No one paints this picture of the life and ministry of the pastor better than David Hansen." (Dr. David Horn, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

About the Author

David Hansen is pastor of Heritage Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has also pastored in Montana, the setting for many of the stories in his book The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers (IVP). Hansen is also author of Loving the Church You Lead: Pastoring with Acceptance and Grace (Baker). In 1999, Hansen was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has been a contributing editor for Leadership Journal, and is a frequent speaker at pastoral ministry conferences.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; Revised ed. edition (October 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830841040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830841042
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Clint Walker VINE VOICE on January 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
The first time I read the Art of Pastoring I was just out of seminary and interviewing for a church in Montana. The church in Montana was pastored by David Hansen, and he had mentioned in passing that he had written three books. I went out, purchased the books, and read them right away. I was immediately intrigued with Dr. Hansen's approach to pastoral ministry. Centered in love, prayer, study, and a theology of the cross, Dave struck me as someone who was doing things right, and someone who I could learn from. And so I packed up my stuff, and headed to Montana to serve Belgrade Community Church and to learn a little bit about what a pastor was in the process.

I worked with Dave for his last 9 months of pastoring in Montana as the Assistant Pastor to Youth and Young Adults. In those 9 months I got to work with Dave a learned a few things about him. First, he was one heck of a pastor. He ministered to others by simply loving them, loving the Lord, loving the Word and teaching and preaching it faithfully. He was a good pastor to me. He invited me into his life, nurtured my gifts, encouraged me on the right path in ministry. I still go back to the study I did with Dave, and some of the conversations I had with him about faith, the Word, and ministry. I still remember many of the sermons I heard him preach...probably the only pastor I can say that about.

It is now 15 years since I first read The Art of Pastoring and met Dave. And I must say, the book still encourages me and it haunts me. It encourages me because it reminds me of God's faithfulness, and it challenges me to return to the basic relational realities of the call to ministry and living it out everyday.
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Format: Paperback
I have had the first edition of "The Art of Pastoring" on my shelf for several years and picked at it a couple of times, but never got into it for one reason or another. The revised edition allowed me a fresh look, and it is a look I have enjoyed. There are no firm answers in this book, and I have found in over 25 years of ministry that anyone claiming to have answers just hasn't been in ministry long enough. Hansen sets the myth of "having all the answers" aside and just gives us real life stories.

Most of his stories come from his rural pastorates in Montana, but I found the stories applicable in my own urban setting.

The refreshing attraction to Hansen's book is his incredible honesty. I found my story in this book.

When he describes his calling to ministry, he said his first desire was to be a history teacher.

"I had two options. I could be a history teacher; I couldn't be a pastor. One was possible, the other was impossible. Since being a pastor was impossible, I decided to do that. I prayed: `Lord, being a pastor is impossible, so if you will be with me all the way to help me, I will be a pastor.'"

That is so similar to my own calling it was uncanny. I had grown up planning on being a historian or a journalist. When I was called into ministry on a student missions trip my senior year in high school, I was completely thrown off. No one else was surprised, but I was totally shocked. It was, to me, the impossible.

For those with a few years in ministry, this book is a great encouragement. For those going into ministry, this book is a MUST read.

I teach in a college that has about half the students preparing for Christian ministry. They are fed dreams of megachurches.
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I read this book in a day and a half. I never do that, but the Forward intrigued me and the book quickly pulled me in. I am interested in the role of Pastor - how to define it, what it looks like from day to day, who the Pastor stands responsible to, and so on. I am convinced that with the past 30 years (at least) of the corporatization of the pastoral vocation, we stand in an arid landscape and don't know exactly where to find water.

Hansen's book is water in a dry land. Hansen refuses to be boxed in by the all too common expectations every modern pastor knows, and instead, has his eyes on Christ and Christ's ministry to people. My experience resonates with his when he says, "When I began the pastoral ministry, I had lots of books prescribing pastoral ministry - the so-called how-to books. I had books on how to preach, how to administrate a church, how to do pastoral counseling and how to lead small groups. They didn't help me" (pg 11). Each chapter addresses an important component to the pastor's ministry as he discusses things like the pastor's call, preaching, prayer, and leadership. Within each chapter his experiences as pastor of a yoked parish in Montana plays the central role, but as he makes clear the stories he relates are about the theology that shape them.

Pastors need to leave the dry land of management techniques and rediscover the fertile soil of Christ's kingdom among us. Hansen is clear about his relationship with what we would call vision and mission statements, and he would rather see a pastor reading theology and preaching Christ. You can't go wrong if you learn how to preach Christ from the pulpit.

In my opinion Hansen wrote a necessary book 20 years ago and I am thankful for its new edition and my fortuitous discovery of this gem. From now on I will refer my pastor friends to this book and refer myself back to it when I need a course correction back to the good country.
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