The book, “Pastor. The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry,” authored by Willimon William is a comprehensive and educative guide to the ups and down of the pastoral ministry. The book can be described as a gift to anyone who is interested in the field of Pastorhood. It can act as the reason why someone chooses to go into the field or chooses to opt out. Willimon is candid in his descriptions and makes sure that the target audience is aware of his position. From the book, the author clearly demonstrates that pastor hood is not as easy as some fractions of the society believe.
He states that the societal changes have made the calling even harder and notes that now, more than ever before, pastors are more prone to sin than their earlier counterparts. One of the main ideas reflected in the book is the fact that the responsibilities of a pastor are not clearly cut out and hence it becomes quite hard trying to define the borders and scope of work. The author notes that the role of the pastor is not to meet all the needs of the society, but rather he advises that their role is to shape and realign the needs of the people to what Christ expects (Willimon, 96).
He goes on to state that pastors are not equal to doctors and hence they should not try to ease all the pain in people’s lives. (Willimon, 106) The book advises pastors to live honest lives and try as much as possible from living in falsehood. This is given as one of the elements of a strong individual. It also helps in time management and in general healthy living. In going through the book, one of the things that come out is the fact that pastoral ministry is not a job but rather, it is a “call from God” (Willimon, 326).
The author states that, “The ordained life would be too great a burden for anyone, were it not that God calls us to do that which God is already doing”( Willimon, 355). The author, being a pastor with vast experience, advices other pastors that it is good to memorize sermons from other pastors. This is to help them have a wide array of interpretations and to build on their pastoral knowledge. He also goes on further to advice that pastors should aim to be good storytellers. This is because it helps in delivering the intended message and boosts their creativity in interpreting the Bible (Willimon, 161).
Some of the issues that the pastor has avoided in the book include the role of women in pastor hood and the issue of male elders in the church. A thorough review of the book further shows that he has tactfully stayed away from the topic of sexual orientation in relation to ordination. The book has a holistic perspective to theology and it touches on almost all relevant spheres of being a pastor. The author merges the various dimensions of ordination and weaves the life of a pastor into one yarn.
For any aspiring pastors, the book acts as a revelation to the tribulations and challenges that can be expected and helps in encouraging them that the challenges can be overcome by associating with more experienced pastors. In conclusion, the book is necessary read for people both in the pastoral field and outside to have a better understanding of the work of God. The author has written the book in a simple method and hence everyone can understand it and be better informed when making their decisions.
Willimon, William. Pastor. The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry. Abingdon Press. 2002.