Category Archives: Pastoral Ministry

The New Interpreter’s Handbook of Preaching

the-new-interpreters-handbook-of-preachingThere has been a revival related to preaching and homiletics in general. As seminaries have increased the offer in theological and pastoral studies, the need of more books on preaching has also increased. Most of these books are focused on how to prepare a sermon, providing the mechanical process of the preparation of a sermon. However, there is a need for more than that.

The book The New Interpreter’s Handbook of Preaching (Abingdon Press, 2008) is a very thorough resource that covers every single aspect and theme concerning preaching. The general editors are Paul Scott Wilson, Jana Childers, Cleophus J. LaRue, and John M. Rottman. The list of contributors is so extensive and all of them are very reputable scholars from different denominational backgrounds.

Articles are abundant and informative. Some themes presented in this book are “Illustration and Stories”, “Narrative Preaching”, “Preaching to Children”, “Preacher’s Creative Process”, and many more. The articles are divided and arranged into eleven major themes:

  1. The Bible
  2. Bible Genres
  3. Ethics
  4. Literary Criticism
  5. Poetics
  6. Preacher
  7. Social Location
  8. Experience
  9. Rhetoric
  10. Sermon
  11. Theology

This book includes an alphabetical list of articles that makes it easier for readers to find a given topic. Long articles include and outline containing the points developed in the article. Every article includes a bibliography at the end of it, which is always helpful for further reading or investigation.

Readers must be aware this is not a book that focuses on the preparation of a sermon, though that theme is included and well discussed. This book goes beyond that as topics like dressing and the preacher’s personal aspects are also included. Readers will find this book discuss anything you can think of preaching. This book can help readers to understand that preaching is more than the sermon and its preparation.

Pastors, preachers, and anyone in the pulpit should have this highly recommendable book. I fall short if I say that I recommend this book.

Buy it from publisher or buy it from Amazon

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. 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

Professional Spiritual & Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain’s Handbook, by Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts (ed.)

descargaPastoral care and chaplaincy are two disciplines that have been gaining attention in recent decades. Chaplains are found in hospitals, hospices, colleges, and military units. Their work is sometimes overlooked, but many people in time of crisis have been comforted by chaplains around the world. The same could be said for pastors, who are always there for others.

Literature on chaplaincy is not abundant, though it is easier to find a book on chaplaincy today than it was a decade ago. Pastoral care books are also gaining interest as pastoral care has become a professionalized discipline in some circles. Fortunately, Skylight Paths has combined both disciplines in a single volume and the result is a superb book.

The book Professional Spiritual & Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain’s Handbook, by Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts (ed.) is a book that covers practical issues and for both pastors and chaplains. With the contribution of experts and experienced professionals in the field, this book offers insightful perspective about daily issues pastors and chaplains face every day.

The book is divided in four parts, presented as follows:

Part I               Theology of Spiritual / Pastoral Care

Part II              The Process of Spiritual / Pastoral Care

Part III             Spiritual / Pastoral Care With Special Populations

Part IV             The Infrastructure of Spiritual / Pastoral Care

Chapters (33 in total) are essays addressing pertinent topics to pastoral care and chaplaincy. Foundational Listening and Responding Skills, Counseling and Interventions, Life Review, Gender Issues in Pastoral Care, are some of the topics presented in this book.

The focus of this book is not theory but practice. Every chapter is a challenge for pastors and chaplains to grow in their ministries and work. The experience of contributors as practitioners is an extra in this book. It is comforting reading a book that covers a practical themes when you know writers have been working in that area of expertise for many years, in addition to the theory and knowledge the also show in every chapter.

My final word on this book is that this book is a mine for those ministering in pastoral care or chaplaincy settings. I highly recommend this book to every pastor and chaplains no matter the discipline you are at.

Buy the book at Skylight Paths or Amazon

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. 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.

Spreading the Feast: Instructions and Meditations for Ministry at the Lord’s Table

prpbooks-images-covers-md-9781629951768It is alarming when a pastor or a minister in a given congregation only refers to 1 Corinthians 11 with the occasion of the Lord Supper. Of course this is not the only passage that clearly talks about this ordinance. When that happens, we can only think this minister is not familiar with the biblical and theological foundations of the Lord’s Supper. There are many books on Theology, many exegetical commentaries on the different books of the Bible, but there are few books in the Christian market that are devoted exclusively to the ordinance of Lord’s Supper.

Spreading the Feast (Howard Griffith, 2015, published by P&R Publishing) is a book that will change or affirm readers’ perspectives about the Lord’s Supper and does this ceremony really implies. The book is divided into two sections. Part one: Foundations (pages 25−73) is divided into three chapters. Chapter one (Theology) contains the theological foundation of the Lord’s Supper. The author goes from to the gospels to Paul’s writings, exploring also the meaning of the term covenant as it is related to the Lord’s Supper. Griffith provides a relatively brief but profound and effective theological perspective of the Lord’s Supper.

Chapter two (Inviting) is an exhaustive study on who is entitled to participate of the Lord’s Supper, based on the biblical point of view. Griffith develops the idea of including all believers who have been baptized according to the Lord’s ordinance, not matter if they belong to our local church or not. This chapter also provides three examples of invitation to the Lord’s Supper. The author closes chapter two with a warning section. Griffith refers to the warnings Paul addressed to the Corinthians in participating the Lord’s Supper.

Chapter three (Basic Themes) is devoted to the explanation of basic concepts and their meanings about the Lord’s Supper; what it means and what it does not mean.

Part two: Mediations (pages 77−144) is more personal and introspective. It contains meditations on passages that point to the Lord’s Supper. This part is divided into three sections: (1) Old Covenant Anticipations; (2) New Covenant Fulfillment; (3) The Riches of Union With Christ. This section is of great help for ministers as the author walks through the Scriptures reflecting and meditating on passages that support the importance of the Lord’s Supper.

Summarizing, Griffith has made a remarkable job in writing from his own experience as a pastor and theologian regarding the Lord’s Supper. I anticipate this book is going to be a point of reference for ministers today and in subsequent decades. This book has helped me to gain more awareness of the Lord’s Supper and its implications. It has impacted me not only as a pastor but also as a Christian for whom the blood of Christ was spilled.

I recommend this book, first to pastors and ministers who are in charge of ministering at the Lord’s Table. Secondly, I recommend this book to seminary students who are pursuing pastoral studies. Finally, I recommend this book to every Christian seeking to have a broader awareness of what does it mean participating of the Lord’s Supper.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. 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.

Integrating Exegesis and Exposition: Biblical Communication for Transformative Learning

Integrating-Exegesis-and-Exposition-CoverIntegrating Exegesis and Exposition: Biblical Communication for Transformative Learning

Author: Dr. Christopher Cone

Publisher: Exegetica Publishing & Biblical Resources

Date of publication: April 2015

Pages: 302

Price: $23.00

There are many books in the Christian market that cover exegetical issues and many other that cover biblical exposition. But there are few books in the market that provide readers with a bridge for the gap that exists between the aforementioned disciplines. The book Integrating Exegesis and Exposition: Biblical Communication for Transformative Learning, by Christopher Cone, serves that purpose in an extraordinary way. This is a book that, as its title says, informs readers about the process of integrating exegesis and exposition.

The book is divided in two sections. Section one deals with introductory issues and provides an integrative approach for transformation and replication. Section two provides an overview of the exegetical process and is the prevalent section (by extension) of the book.

Cone’s thesis is that teaching and biblical exposition is not an exclusive responsibility of the pastoral ministry but a ministry every single Christian should perform. He goes back and forth to this idea through the book. Of course he defends the biblical idea that pastors should be capable to teach others, but he argues that this aspect of the pastoral ministry should focus on preparing others to interpret the Bible by themselves. In other words, pastors should lead others toward exegetical independence instead of making dependents. He uses many biblical passages in a very exhaustive way in order to support his point.

The author advocates for an exegesis that is based on a literal grammatical-historical hermeneutical approach. He encourages pastors and Bible students to get familiar with biblical languages and textual criticism in order to be able to understand Scriptures from a deeper perspective.  Cone introduces the seven steps that LGH method requires for exegetical purposes. He presents every single step in an accessible way so even readers who are unfamiliar with these terms can understand. The seven steps section is a great addition to the book and a very useful tool for Bible students.

In section two, Cone begins by developing and expanding the seven steps of LGH method. He adds two points to the seven steps previously discussed. These two additional steps are (8) secondary verification and (9) development of exposition. Then he deals with hermeneutical issues before he begins discussing homiletical and expositional aspects. In this section, Cone presents the seven informal and formal methods for preaching and teaching. The author employs case studies of sermons and visual expositions that help readers to analyze real biblical expositions from different perspectives and approaches.

Cone also covers practical issues such as technology usage for exposition. While the author does not make a fervent defense in favor of technology, he does not censor it. Instead he acknowledges technology as a new tendency that has been growing in recent decades and that can be very useful if used properly by expositors for the purpose of teaching.

Summarizing, Cone’s book is a strong and solid resource that covers a sometimes ignored area as is the integration of exegesis and exposition. Integration is the main focus of this book, and Cone does a brilliant work in providing tools for the purpose of incorporating exegesis into exposition.   This book is extremely recommendable for pastors, lay leaders, seminary students, and Christians in general. I hope seminary professors teaching exegesis and homiletic would consider this book as a required textbook for students. Churches and Christianity in general would benefit from people who are able to learn, practice, and teach the principles enclosed in this book. As a pastor, seminary professor, and defendant of expository preaching, I found this book as one of the most useful books ever; a priceless resource and a treasure that every serious expositor should read.

You can buy it here. You will not regret it.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. 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.

More info about Dr. Cone

The New Pastor’s Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of Ministry

descarga (1)Helopoulos, Jason, The New Pastor’s Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of Ministry.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2015.

Paperback: 208 pages

The pastoral ministry is always a challenge, especially the first two or three years of ministry. The relationship that exists between a local church and a new pastor is full of ups and downs. In his recently released book (October 6, 2015), Jase Helopoulos addresses pastoral challenges in a straight to the point manner. He covers all the points that new pastors need to know regarding the pastoral ministry.

The book is divided into five different sections composed by forty-eight short chapters. Section 1 is devoted to the beginning of the ministry of a new pastor. Helopoulos provides a biblical perspective on the subject of call as the foundation for every pastor. In section 2 Helopoulos differentiates the challenges of the Senior Pastor position, the Assistant Pastor position, the Youth Pastor ministry, and the Church Planter ministry. He provides the reader with wise tips and advices for each of these four different positions as they have their own challenges and idiosyncrasies. Section 3 is the largest section in the book and it provides new pastors with practical ideas involving the pastoral ministry. The author shares tips about the pastor’s schedule, self-care, and the character of the pastors, just to mention few. These recommendations are addressed in a clear and specific manner and Helopoulos uses examples that every pastor can relate to his own ministry experience. Section 4 addresses the issue of pitfalls of young pastors. This section addressed the most common mistakes that young and new pastor commit in our first and following years of ministry. I saw myself reflected in most of the examples that the author provides in this section. Lastly, section 5 addresses the topic of joys of ministry. This section is wisely inserted at the end of the book so readers can finish reading the book considering the joys that result from serve the Lord and His Church.

The most remarkable characteristic of this book is its conciseness. The author does not engage in theological and exegetical discussions. Instead, Helopoulos provides the reader with real life situations and ideas that would help new pastors to enjoy a healthier ministry experience.

I wish I had a resource like this book when I started my first full-time ministry more than four years ago. If you are a new or a young pastor, I beg you to read this book for the sake of your ministry and your own person.

I received this book free from the publisher. 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.

Buy the book here

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