Take and read

October 20, 2009

A past president of Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, Weeks locates the often denigrated work of church administration under the rubric of pastoral care. By looking at best administrative practices in a host of congregations, Weeks helps church leaders to realistically and effectively claim this part of the church’s ministry.

Theologian Jinkins’s letters to his adult children about what it means to be a Christian are wonderfully written and rich in insight and candor.

A solid and compassionate guide to grief and mourning, this is the kind of book that ministers will both benefit from themselves and feel comfortable giving to those who are in a season of mourning.

Many congregations are struggling to rethink and reorganize their governance and board structures. Alban consultant Hotchkiss provides an excellent orientation for such rethinking that is based on ample experience in the field.

Jones follows his earlier book on congregations and discipleship (Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple-Forming Congregations, also published by the Alban Institute) with this very helpful reflection on leadership. In a time when large numbers of congregations must change or die, Jones provides theoretical and practical guidance for leaders.

Philosophy professor Ten Elshof argues that the emphasis on authenticity has paradoxically made it harder to look honestly at self-deception, though the phenomenon itself seems to be flourishing. Philosophical and practical, I Told Me So is also a fun read.

Ten leading African-American preachers offer essays on preparing sermons, as well as sample sermons from the rich and powerful tradition of black preaching and proclamation.

A teacher of preaching, Wilson analyzes the various genres of proclamation, encouraging preachers to rediscover preaching that is less about us and more about God.

Two gifted practitioners of the craft of pastoral ministry who also happen to be wonderful writers reflect on ministry from the inside. While acknowledging the challenges, they rejoice in the particular beauties of their calling and invite others to do so as well.

Two leaders of the U.K.’s Crowded House Church share their experience of doing church in a new way. Evidencing the influence of Lesslie Newbigin, Chester and Timmis imagine church as being our core identity rather than one responsibility to be juggled among a host of others.