Table of Contents
Dozens of resources help churches seeking new pastoral leadership, but what about the ministers who are seeking a specific ministry call? How can a pastor discern when to stay or where to go?
Denominational leaders Riley Walker and Marcia Patton begin this practical and spiritual guide with the conviction that it is God's Spirit that guides ministry transition. Therefore, the transition process is essentially and uniquely spiritual, as ministers evaluate their current ministry settings and consider new contexts. The book does not offer a specific course but a plan for the journey. The authors identify:
• Common areas of concern• Frequent pitfalls and missteps• Oft-traveled routes to a successful transition
When the Spirit Moves includes practical resources such as:
• Personal skill assessments• An overview of the typical search and call process• Sample interview questions• Best practices for ending one's service with integrity and grace
"If you are in the position of considering a move, this is an essential resource. If you are involved in assisting clergy in the search and call process, especially if you are in regional judicatories, then this is a book for you also to read. This excellent book will better equip you to make a good, prayerful, and careful decision about whether to move and then where to move." Bob Cornwall, Sharing the Practice, Fall 2011
"Offering both practical and prayerful suggestions, When the Spirit Moves provides a helpful analysis of the many steps that are involved when a clergy person moves to a new ministry setting. The chapter on involuntary resignations will be especially helpful to the surprisingly large number of clergy with this experience. This book is an important addition to the literature about ordained ministry." Molly Dale Smith, Editor, Transitional Ministry: A Time of Opportunity, and President, Transitional Ministries in the Episcopal Church
"If your ministry is at a crossroads and you're wondering whether to make a change, this book is for you. Reading it is like sitting with a wise friend who asks the right questions and prods you gently but firmly to consider all aspects of your decision. Beginning always with the spiritual and with the call God has placed on your heart, it expands your decision-making process to take into account such practical realities as your skills, interests, family relationships, and other life commitments. I will share it with the clients at our ministry development center, and I heartily recommend this book to you." Mark Sundby, PhD, LP, Executive Director, North Central Ministry Development Center
"This book provides a good overall perspective for ministers in all stages of the transition process. It is useful to clergy who are seeking their first call, as well as to those who are mid-career and others who have had significant struggles in their current call. It provides a structure for understanding internal and external emotional, psychological, and spiritual forces that should help to shape the discernment process and concrete suggestions about leaving a church or call situation with God's grace that allows healing to take place and ministry to continue." Lenore Wilkinson, PhD, Director, Ministry Development Services, Presbyterian Samaritan Counseling Center
"Resources to help pastoral search committees do their work abound. But helps for ministers who are struggling with transition decisions are far scarcer. Walker and Patton have put together a thorough guide not only for discerning when it is time to move, but for determining the skill set needed for a new ministry setting. Their practical approach includes suggestions such as establishing a discernment committee to help the minister see his or her options more clearly. They urge ministers to trust that their call to ministry is a broad and encompassing oneone that accompanies them from one ministry context to another. They offer constant encouragement even in the most difficult of circumstances, including termination." Clarissa Strickland, Networking Specialist, Congregational Formation, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
"Reminding readers of important biblical connections to God's call as well as sharing examples of present situations, Walker and Patton help clergypersons contemplating or already in a transition to deal with that mysterious and critical time of questioning and hoping for renewed ministry. It is a complete resource, addressing the deeper theological questions of staying or leaving a ministry, as well as the more practical concerns of pastoral transitions." Dr Thomas M Richard, Executive Secretary, National Association of Congregational Christian Churches
"An invaluable aid for pastors who are considering a transition in their ministry. Walker and Patton address practical matters in deciding when to leave, how to leave one's current ministry well, and how to engage in a new ministry, while never losing sight of the larger spiritual and ethical perspectives. Drawing on their own experiences as well as those of many other pastors, they offer a roadmap to help pastors negotiate this challenging and sometimes hazardous terrain." Ross Peterson, Executive Director, Midwest Ministry Development
"Covering a wide scope of topics in discussing pastoral calling and the variety of ways one might answer that call, this book offers much in the way of practical guidelines, based in spiritual wisdom and years of experience and reflection. It is plain in speech, and even-handed in its treatment of ministry practice issues. It uses fictionalized vignettes to illustrate teaching points and best practices." Rev. Stephen Ott, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Career Development and Ministry, Dedham, Massachusetts
Riley Walker, DMin, MDiv, has been Executive Minister of American Baptist Churches of the Dakotas since 2002. Prior to assuming this denominational position, he served as Area Minister for the American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky, and pastored churches in those two states since 1974.
Dr. Walker's areas of expertise include:• Conflict mediation and prevention• Spiritual formation and development• Effective leadership skills
Marcia J. Patton, PhD, MDiv, MAR, is the first executive minister of the newest American Baptist Churches USA region, the Evergreen Association. Evergreen Association is unique among American Baptists because it is organized around ethnic caucuses and does its work by consensus.
Prior to this appointment in 2004, she spent thirteen years as Associate Executive Minister with the American Baptist Churches of Northwest, and served as associate minister for churches in Pennsylvania, Utah, and New Jersey. Dr. Patton serves on the transition team with American Baptist Churches USA, and as a delegate to the National Council of Churches Assembly.
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