Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Systematic Approach to Ministry, April 17, 2010

This review is from: Pastoral theology;: A handbook of scriptural principles written especially for pastors of the Lutheran church, (Hardcover)

I inherited this book upon ordination. It was one of the first books I read upon becoming a pastor, and one that can be read over and over again. Since Concordia Publishing House has started to "reprint on demand" this book should still be available through them, and possibly also through in the near future.
It is full of sage advice for the pastor. And a young pastor does well to look to older pastors who have had some success in the ministry for council, even if that success is nothing more than being able to stay in the saddle to the finish line. There is a lot to be said for that alone, as the washout and burnout rate for pastors can be quite high. Fritz, managed to influence generations of successful pastors, and is still doing so today. Recently I even heard President Bugbee of the Lutheran Church in Canada reference Fritz as a mainstay in pastoral formation, a book that has helped him immensely, and we could use more pastors like Bugbee.
Here is but just a fraction of some of the great stuff he has to say: "Since ministry is the only profession in which a man can use, either directly or indirectly, all knowledge which he has acquired, and since, ceteris paribus, the minister with the best intellectual equipment can do the most effective work, it ought not to be a question with what little knowledge a pastor can get along, but rather how much he can acquire, The Church needs and educated ministry. There is no conflict between religion and real learning, or science. The Church rather cultivates true scientific learning and uses it, not to convert the sinner-- that only the Gospel can do-- but to bring the Gospel to all kinds and classes and types of men.
The intellectual fitness of a pastor must be acquired by special training (college and theological seminary) ; but the mainspring for such intellectual fitness must be his own personal Christianity, derived from, and sustained by, diligent study of the word of God."
It may also be nice if synods as a whole would return to such sentiments, as well as pastors.
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