Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Surviving Your First Year As Pastor - Angie Best Boss

I have to don a presentation from this book coming Mon. So I have no choice but to read the entire book. But the book is thin ... so, ok la ... can be read in the bus or toilet ..... 10 chapters .. it covers :

a) Knowing what you are getting into .... hahahha .... basically it is preparation of what we are getting into -- ie to be a pastor of new church. This section does more of a mental preparation -- as one goes around getting background info about the church and community that the person will be going to.

b) First things first ... moving on ... I guess the author tries to give a bearing to a person who is thrown into a new place-- what to do and where to start . I like the advise given by the author that when we are new, try not to do any changes. Many come into a new pasture and try to fix what seem not right by introducing change and change almost immediately. Here I would really appreciate respect and understanding of the current and historical situation before change is introduced -- hence, change to be introduced after 1 year is better idea. I also like the powerful statement that we must earn the right of being a pastor. A pastor has only the right to preach until other rights earned ..... :0

c) Putting things in order - this section is an important section and huge area - time management and touching the sensitive area of how much will the pastor be paid and the benefits ... from working experience, I normally do not like to discuss this area and I am still wondering if I need to discuss this .... I am not convinced by the author. However, the section of time management and juggling the time between sermon preparation, counseling, church meetings, admin work, other church activities and family time - I felt that justice have not been done in this section and wish more could have been done.

d) Visitations - home and hospital - I do believe that this area is taught in the seminary but perhaps is good to go thru the points like a crash course of visitation ethics etc. Couple with this, the (f) section - effective keys to counseling comes handy and again, all this would have been covered in courses like pastoral care or crisis management. With this, off course its good to be reminded that we are journeying together with our congregation - at their birth, baptism, marriage and death ....

e) Preparation of Sunday Service - I find this area quite helpful .. especially for someone who is new and dono know how to handle and where to start planning for the CE of the church.

f) Balancing Family time - depending on culture, society and location of the church .. I find that the proposals rather ideal .... having said that --- if it can be done ... like coming home for dinner ... it will be excellent cos I have not seen a pastor rushing home for dinner appointment with the family for a very long time.

g) The last 2 areas deal with issues of how to maintain our well and keeping it from running dry ... the phase is : the spiritual condition of our church depends on our spiritual life. Yes .. we cannot lead the people to go where we have not gone. Last -- handling conflicts and when to leave ....

If I were to re-name or re-title this book, I will call it Dummies Guide to Be A Pastor.

Though this book has written many good points, I still feel that this book is not balanced ... ie -- it has not touch the area for lady pastors .... how would a lady pastor wear different hats of being a pastor, a wife .. a mother ... a daughter in law ... a daughter .. can we have people writing on these areas as well and break away from the male dominant mentality. The church has also been very silent about single pastors ... how can a pastor carry out the role competently and effectively as a pastor ... as a counselor .... who knows ... perhaps some day I will write a book from this perspective and from Asian context .... :_) who knows what the future holds eh ...

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