Christ’s sheep need shepherding. That’s where you come in.
With more than 60 years of ministry between them, Harold Senkbeil and Lucas Woodford have come to understand that everything in ministry—even administration, leadership, and planning—revolves around the ancient tradition of the care of souls. Pastors are entrusted with the care of a flock by the Good Shepherd and are called to be faithful to this task. But pastoring seems to be getting more and more difficult.
Based on a sound theological framework, Senkbeil and Woodford present a set of practical tools for church leadership and strategy. Calling on their vast experience, they encourage pastors to protect, guide, and feed their flock as Jesus would, bridging the eternal wisdom of the word of God with the everyday practicality of hands-on leadership.
This book is both a cautionary tale and hopeful manifesto. On the one hand, it pointedly warns pastors of misplaced identity and unhealthy expectations. On the other hand, it lays out clear and practical principles for developing the right priorities in ministry. I walked away thinking, where was this book when I started in ministry?
—Brandon D. Smith, Editorial Director, Center for Baptist Renewal; host, Church Grammar podcast; Elder at City Church (Murfreesboro, TN)
Senkbeil and Woodford know what they are talking about. As seasoned pastors and church leaders, they argue that spiritual disciplines (for example, prayer, worship, and reading the Bible devotionally) are the sine qua non of pastoral ministry. The Holy Spirit promises to work through the word and sacraments to form pastors who care for souls—that is, pastors who have a Christ-like character and temperament. Pastoral leadership and strategic planning are important—and the book is chock-full of practical examples. But these ministry tasks remain in their God-given place. They are penultimate, never ultimate. Both the newly ordained and seasoned veterans will profit from the wisdom in this book!
—Reed Lessing, senior pastor of St. Michael Lutheran Church (Fort Wayne, IN) and coauthor of Prepare the Way of the Lord: An Introduction to the Old Testament
In Church Leadership & Strategy Pastors Woodford and Senkbeil offer an honest and transparent assessment of the realities and pressures of modern pastoral ministry. Weaving together practical suggestions, lessons from experience, and an array of resources, Church Leadership & Strategy helps shape servant-leaders for healthy and holistic pastoral ministry.
—Michael W. Newman, President of the Texas District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and author of Hope When Your Heart Breaks: Navigating Grief and Loss
The Lexham Ministry Guides offer practical wisdom for the church. But wisdom takes time. The authors in this series scraped wisdom together from the nitty-gritty of experience. You won’t find plug-and-play answers in the Lexham Ministry Guides. You will find hands-on tools, lessons from years of ministry experience, and an array of resources to apply to your own ministry context.
Harold L. Senkbeil is an Executive Director Emeritus of DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care. His pastoral experience of nearly five decades includes parish ministry, the seminary classroom, and parachurch leadership. He is author of numerous books, including The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart and Dying to Live: The Power of Forgiveness and Sanctification: Christ in Action.
Lucas V. Woodford is the District President of the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. He previously served as pastor for fifteen years. He is Fellow of DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and author of reat Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession?: The Mission of the Holy Christian Church.