Item description for THE PERFECT PASTOR? by D. Thomas Owsley...
Overview More than just a wonderful story, this book equips laypeople with the insights to relate to and support their pastor while providing pastors with a solid understanding for how to address the various expectations of church members. (Ministry & Pastoral Resources)
Publishers Description The Perfect Pastor? by D. Thomas Owsley, D.Min., is an engaging new book about the realistic, humorous, and poignant life experiences of a fictional pastor. More than just a wonderful story, the book is a tool for church members and pastors alike. It equips laypeople with the insights to relate to and support their pastor while providing pastors with a solid understanding for how to address the various expectations of church members. Dr. Owsley draws upon four decades of church experience, as both a member and pastor, to clarify the biblical requirements, roles, and responsibilities of a pastor. He taps into this wisdom to reveal what the Bible illuminates as a healthy, balanced relationship between pastor and church members. Through compelling anecdotes and profound observations, The Perfect Pastor? improves relationships between church members and their pastors and drives both groups to a greater proximity to God's purposes. D. Thomas Owsley (M. Div. Westminster Seminary California, D. Min. Geneva Theological Seminary) has been active with various lay ministries in local churches since he became a Christian in high school. He has served as a teacher, a deacon, and an elder before he walked the world of a pastor through service as youth director, pastoral intern, interim pastor, church planter, and senior pastor. These roles and the role of founder-principal of a Christian school paved the way for his "up-close and personal" view of the pastor. His search for "the perfect pastor" continues as he currently serves as senior pastor at Cornerstone Community Church (PCA) in Artesia, California. He and Lois, his wife of thirty years, have two precious daughters.
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Reviews - What do customers think about THE PERFECT PASTOR??
An eye-opener for pastors and their true encouragers Oct 21, 2008
If the fact of conflict in the local church makes you uneasy, don't pick up this book. But if you truly care about your church, and if you intend to be a source of substantive encouragement to your pastor, The Perfect Pastor? is essential reading. I know because I am a pastor who was engulfed by some of the same conflicts portrayed in these pages. My wife and I read this book to each other aloud, and it helped us endure and gave us courage to persevere in ministry.
The Perfect Pastor? is a compilation of the many details of a pastor's work held together by a narrative and supplemented with copious practical appendices and forms. The book examines not merely the tasks of pastoral work but the complex number of relationships which pastors must juggle within the context of serving as preacher, shepherd, and ministry organizer to his congregation. The author relates a variety of real ministry circumstances which would make an aspiring pastor eager to get started, and other true situations which would drive a sane man away from considering such a career.
In the midst of describing how a minister's work affects himself, his family, his leaders, his followers, his admirers and his detractors, the author sets forth the work of pastoring by largely focusing on the character qualities of the pastor himself, his church officers, and the young disciples who all fall under his care. Some of the narrative seems too extreme to be true, except that the situations and people involved are taken from true-life experiences of the author and other real pastors.
While purportedly written for an audience of lay people, this book could prove to be discouraging for the uninitiated and timid. Nevertheless, for those who have actually experienced the joys and tribulations of pastoral service to the kingdom of God, The Perfect Pastor? is a source of encouragement and practical application.
Helpful resource Oct 21, 2008
Pastors are people too. That's the message of D. Thomas Owsley's book, The Perfect Pastor? (Understanding and Relating to the Life and Work of a Pastor). The very nature of the position means that people often expect quite a bit of a pastor. But what they expect might have nothing to do with what the Bible says a pastor should be or do and much more to do with people's (accurate or not) preconceived notions regarding the office. Those entering the pastorate also often have their own ideas of what the job will be like. Entering into the reality can be like having a bucket of cold water thrown at you. Owsley's goal in this book is to help congregants understand what it is a pastor does all week (and why it's important) and to help new pastors, or those thinking of pursuing such a position, get a more realistic picture of what might be in store for them.
No Perfect Pastor? is essentially three books in one. The overall form of the book is a story -- that of a pastor, Dan, who loves what he does, but who struggles with a few members in his congregation who, through money and influence, attempt to force their own agenda upon the church. Within this overarching story is a guidebook, or textbook, that explores such things as the Biblical qualifications of a leader; the roles of the pastor, elders, and members of the church and how they work together; and the scope of a pastor's responsibilities and duties within the church. And at the end of the book is a series of appendices (A - S! I've never seen so many appendices in a book!) that essentially make up a resource handbook for a pastor or the leadership in a church. The appendices include such things as recommended questions that a pastoral search committee should ask of their candidates, a sermon evaluation form, how a congregation can work together to make corporate decisions and how to care and support your pastor.
I found the overall story to be interesting, particularly because this story was written by, and somewhat follows the life of, the new pastor of our church. Though he'd mentioned some of his experiences as he was candidating with us and as we got to know him after calling him to be our pastor, reading them in a story form and seeing not only what was happening in his previous congregations, but also getting a sense of his thought processes as he dealt with these issues, was instructive as well as indicative of the kind of man he is. He openly admits that he didn't always deal well with the situations he was put in. He struggled with wanting to simply avoid the problems and the people who were causing them. But in the end he realized that he had to cop to his own faults, not just recognizing them but admitting them to those he had wronged. And he needed to seek reconciliation. The story is a good way to get a sense of the trials and tribulations of a pastor as well as to get a sense of a pastor's joys and encouragements.
The guidebook, or textbook, part of the book was interspersed within the overall story. I personally found these parts to be rather arduous to get through, probably because I've studied a lot of these topics quite a bit in the past. (Including quite recently as we prepared as a pastoral search committee to begin our search for a new pastor.) However, for someone who hasn't studied these topics, this part of each story would be a good chance to slow down and explore what the Bible says about the role of leadership within the church.
I should add that Owsley doesn't just assume that pastors are good and it's the congregants who cause troubles. He clearly describes when a pastor, or another person in church leadership, has overstepped or made a misstep in their leadership role. And through the story he describes steps that can and should be taken to deal with a person in leadership who is either not living up to their role as a leader or who is abusing their leadership position.
The appendices are excellent and a fantastic resource not only for those in leadership in a church (or other religious organization) but also helpful for "plain old" members.
Obviously, this book isn't going to appeal to people who aren't church goers. But for anyone that is involved in a church (particularly a Christian church), this book is a good resource both for leaders and congregants. Though Owsley speaks often from the point of view of his own denomination, he always makes it clear when he is doing that. So, though there are differences in the form and format of leadership in various denominations, I think this book will still cross denominational boundaries without too much trouble.
Unique and Informative Dec 6, 2007
Pastor Owsley effectively meshes novel and textbook to open a window on the daily life of a pastor and to teach appropriate expectations for pastors and their congregations. While pastors will certainly be encouraged by this book, it is primarily designed for church members who wonder what their pastor does all week and what his job is supposed to be.
The greatest strength of this book is the style. It is a compelling story of a fictional pastor Dan and his joys and struggles as he ministers to his congregation. Through Dan's learning, teaching, and reflections, the reader learns about the biblical role of a pastor and how the congregation can support and encourage their pastor. With the narrative driving the book, I learned a great deal, but was always excited to pick it up and find out how the story continued.
This book is also a resource, with reflection and/or discussion questions at the end of each section and a number of appendices with handouts and checklists that would be useful for all church members, whether in positions of leadership or not.