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Ministers/ Teaching Elders

Annotated outline of Here I Am, Lord, Now What?

 

An annotated outline

The book is presented in 15 separate modules. Each module begins with specific goals and objectives and an outline of its contents. Each module concludes with a selected bibliography. A brief annotated outline for each module is presented below.

Module 1: Transitions

There is an ending, a neutral zone, and a new beginning in all transitions. While these three are identified as phases, transitions do not always flow distinctly from one phase to another. The transition from seminary to parish receives special emphasis. The "Family Systems" and "Triangles" discussions are very helpful.

Module 2: Pastoral Authority, Tasks, Roles and Expectations

Pastoral authority and congregational analysis are explored in order to discern appropriate tasks, roles, and expectations. The contrast between the new (maybe untested) expectations of the pastor and the congregation’s memories of past ministers plus their dreams for the future are highlighted. A "Do’s and Don’ts" section concludes this module.

Module 3: Group Dynamics — Motivation, Working with Volunteers, Staff Relations

How these dynamics impact the life and mission of a congregation are explored. The discussions about why volunteers quit and what volunteers want and need are valuable resources to review regularly during a minister’s entire ministry. The "Staff Relationships" section is informative for heads of staff and associate pastors.

Module 4: Power, Authority, Communication and Empowerment

Understanding the nature of power, authority, and communication and learning to apply them to empower the laity is explained. A discussion of Rollo May’s five categories of power is included. The "Utilizing Power in the Church" section is especially informative.

Module 5: View from the Pew

The TAS2TE program evolved into three once-a-year gatherings for new pastors and their families. Modules 5 and 10 in the text reflect an opportunity participants in these yearly meetings had to ask questions of a panel of church lay people and professionals. Module 5 documents the process used to learn from experienced lay people from various congregations. The process is intended to reveal information about topics such as, “essential and nonessential but important roles of pastors” and “what lay persons like and dislike about the church.”(p 5-2) This module will reveal essential information for the new pastor coming from the intense theological training of seminary.

Module 6: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The module helps the pastors understand the value of all personality types, including their own, and to consider ways to apply type theory in their own parish. The last section discusses the implications of type for learning styles, worship experience, spiritual formation, power and authority, leadership, expectations of the pastor, group dynamics, and counseling.

Module 7: Stress, Burnout, and the Balanced Life

Areas of life and ministry that often trigger stress and ways to recognize the symptoms of stress and burnout in your own life are discussed. Participants are given guidance for developing an appropriate self-care plan. Time management is explored as a means of achieving a balanced life. The module contains four appendices: "Life Change Rating Scale," "Stressful Work Conditions Rating Scale," "Environmental Stress Rating Scale," and "Strain Response Survey."

Module 8: Authenticity, Integrity, and Clergy Ethics

This module discusses the role a pastor’s authenticity and personal ethics impact their professional behavior. Three themes shape a pastor’s authenticity: personal genuineness, a non-defensive leadership style, and a willingness to exercise spiritual leadership. A discussion of sexual ethics and helpful bibliography about clergy sexual misconduct is also included.

Module 9: From Learning to Loving to Leading

The pastor moves through progressive levels of leading a congregation. Learning and loving are viewed as preliminary to leading a congregation. Learning is a two-way process in which the minister and the congregation engage in a period exploration, listening, and observation. Loving happens through pastoral care. Descriptions of various leadership styles and qualities of effective leadership are also included.

Module 10: View From the Presbytery

This module contains the second of two learning processes experienced by participants in the TAS2TE of Ministry gatherings. Module 5 consisted of interviewing experienced lay people from various congregations. Module 10 provides a plan for interviewing presbytery staff and representatives. Areas of ministry explored with the panelists include transition and entry, staff relationships, and the presbytery/minister relationship.

Module 11: Sexuality

The goal of this module is to help pastors “understand their sexuality as an integral part of their humanity and their spirituality.” (p 11-2) The module begins with a discussion of basic principles and moves to a theological understanding of sexuality. The implications of sexuality for ministry section addresses: pastor as sex symbol, temptation, limits, addictive behavior, harassment, triangling, being single in the parish, and homosexuality. The final section explores the dynamics of gender differences in the parish.

Module 12: Conflict, Dealing with Difficult People

Participants in this module “gain an unusual understanding of conflict and their own behavior in conflictual situations; they do not become conflict managers.” (p12-2)

The first two sections review the nature and sources of conflict. Section 3 reflects on the way we look at conflict and the pastor’s potential roles in a church conflict. The final section describes several categories of “difficult people” in the congregation and explores approaches to dealing with these individuals.

Module 13: Organization and Administration

Administrative ministry is more than office tasks. Administration is understanding the congregation and its people, planning, directing, managing, overseeing, reviewing, and evaluating. Readers are offered processes for program development, moderating meetings, and conducting meetings.

Module 14: Economics, Stewardship and Personal Finances

Module 14 presents an understanding of this country’s economic system and financial planning. Topics discussed are basic economic concepts and terms, an understanding of stewardship, the pastor’s compensation package, and taxes. The tax laws continue to change regarding ministers so pastors are urged to augment this section with the latest IRS decisions about clergy tax liabilities. The Board of Pensions publishes an annual clergy tax guide. It is available from the Board website or (800) 773-7752.

Module 15: Professional Development, Personal Growth and Spirituality in Ministry

Module 15 is rich with helpful information about developing a balanced life for ministry. The "Professional Development" section addresses such questions as:

  • How do I know what gifts/skills to upgrade?
  • What is the relationship of career to one’s spiritual life?

The "Personal Growth" section describes life elements needing nurture when one is maintaining healthy personal growth. Participants will find the "Spirituality" section informative and helpful. Types of spirituality are discussed and ways to foster spiritual growth are presented. The module includes an appendix, "Questions to Facilitate an Exploration of One’s Spiritual Life."

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