Ten Commandments For Pastors New to a Congregation
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The opening months of a new pastorate are decisive for how that ministry will unfold, so great care should be taken to begin wisely and well. Simply transplanting programs and habits that worked elsewhere, ignoring the specific dynamics of the new congregation and its people, making too few significant changes, or making too many insignificant changes will create problems for the new pastor that may never be overcome. "Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation" offers specific, down-to-earth principles and guidance on how to make a good beginning, one that will lay the foundation for years of fruitful ministry. Drawing on twenty-five years of parish ministry, during which he has mentored many new and transitioning pastors, Lawrence Farris here provides ten guidelines, illustrated with relevant examples, that identify potential pitfalls and show how to avoid them. Such areas as preaching, pastoral care, self-care, community and denominational commitments, and role clarity are addressedwith an emphasis on practical approaches to ministry in a new setting. Farris also gives clear advice on how to learn the new congregation and its setting, how to set appropriate personal and professional boundaries, and how to stay focused on what matters most in a new ministry. Lively, practical, and brief enough for the new pastor to have time to actually read it, "Ten Commandments for Pastors New to a Congregation" is a must-read both for pastors on the move and for individuals preparing for first-time ministry.
Lawrence W. Farris, who has served three pastorates in Maryland and Michigan, teaches comparative religion at Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville, Michigan.