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. Originally published as Church Leadership & Strategy, this second edition includes a new chapter and litany.
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, assistant professor of theology and New Testament at Cedarville University; Editorial Director, Center for Baptist Renewal
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, professor of theology, Concordia University, St. Paul; 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
“Thus, I began to care more intentionally and classically for the individual souls of the congregation, giving them Jesus as I was called to do, rather than giving them myself, my ingenuity, or my next great idea. I learned that leadership and the care of souls go hand in glove when soul care leads the way.” (Pages 10–11)
“For it was also at this point that I began to see the care of souls and the historic role of the pastor as the physician of the soul was far more than my ability to be a good leader.” (Page 10)
“If leadership is all the church needs in a pastor in order to grow and thrive, what need do we have of the Holy Spirit and the word of God?” (Page 12)
“pastoral ministry is nothing less than tending Jesus’ lambs and sheep, for whom he died and rose again.” (Page xv)
“Pride is a wicked vice the devil will try to use in order to bring down many a pastor. That is why personal prayer and meditation, confession and absolution with a father confessor, and the regular exercising of your faith (apart from sermon prep or Bible study prep) are essential to combat and treat such attacks of the devil.” (Pages 4–5)
The Lexham Ministry Guides, edited by Harold L. Senkbeil, offer practical, proven wisdom for the church. But wisdom takes time. The authors in this series developed their wisdom through years of ministry experience and conversations with colleagues. These books invite you to enter into these conversations to better serve the Savior’s sheep and lambs with confidence. You will find hands-on tools, lessons from years of ministry experience, and an array of resources to apply to your own ministry context.
Learn more about the other titles in this series.
Harold L. Senkbeil is 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 award-winning The Care of Souls, Christ and Calamity, and Dying to Live.
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 Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession?: The Mission of the Holy Christian Church.