Friday, October 29, 2010

Hey, You RevGals and Guys Out There ~ Resources?

So . . . in less than two weeks, I spend an evening with our Committee on Preparation for Ministry, which I hope will end with my being certified ready to receive a call.  And I realize that I could use some help ~ well, duh ~  but I have a specific request: resource suggestions.

I am going to be (at least I hope I am going to be) a third career pastor.  I live in an inner-ring suburb of a midwestern city, but I could accept a call to any size church in any type of environment as long as it's within a reasonable driving distance. Most likely possibilities: solo pastor of a small congregation, or associate pastor focusing on education and pastoral care and spiritual formation. I would describe my theology as Christ-centered and progressive.  (Last week I said to a relatively new member of my home church, a woman with a conservative background, that I see us as pretty middle-of-the-road, and she responded, "WAY liberal.")  I would describe my ideal worship service as a cross between something found in the Book of Common Worship and Gregorian chant.  I have spent most of my time over the past several years with adults of my own age bracket and those a generation up, meaning that I am out-of-touch with teens, young adults, and even young middle-aged adults. 

So . . . what would your top three book or website or podcast or whatever suggestions be for someone like me?

Later clarification: I wasn't talking about the meeting (although the advice below is excellent; thank you, Betsy), but about moving from my seminary and this present life in limbo to the reality of first call, and about how many things I don't know ~ don't even know how to think about, or even that I should be thinking about them.)


  1. Books (in no particular order):
    1. Reframing Hope - Carol Howard Merritt
    2. Christianity for the Rest of Us - Diana Butler Bass
    3. Twelve Keys to an Effective Church - Kennon Callahan (old but still some good stuff if used to assess strengths of a congregation)
    4.New Beginnings, A Pastoral Start-Up Workbook- Roy Oswald
    5. Managing Transitions - William Bridges
    6. Web of Women's Leadership: Recasting Congregational Ministry - Susan Willhauck and Jacqulyn Thorpe

    Alban Institute
    Middle Voice (link on my blog)

  2. I'm not sure what to suggest that might be new to you, but in your position, I might go back to one or two of my absolute favorite, formative books and ponder them anew. They presumably have been trusted guides in leading you to where you are now, with your gifts and passions, and it is upon those strengths that you go into this interview. Sort of a "remember where you came from" approach to preparation! Prayers for you in these next few weeks and for those who will listen to you that evening.

  3. web site: Busted Halo
    book: Googling God

  4. Either The Fourth Turning or Millennials Rising by Strauss and Howe...Tribal Church...After the Baby Boomers...Almost Christian...Oh God Oh God Oh God!...

  5. how many things I don't know ~ don't even know how to think about, or even that I should be thinking about them

    Exactly what I felt when we bought the restaurant. Pretty much what every thinking person would want to know before embarking on a new endeavor. But we have learned, haven't we, that one can never be entirely prepared to go into something new. You just have to close your eyes, hold your nose and jump...

  6. More breakfasts with me!

  7. OK, I suppose I should be more serious (though I will be in Cleveburg the Saturday after T'giving). As I reflect on my time searching for a call, and this is me, not you, I would suggest time in reflection and prayer. I have a tendency to read a book, go to a website and think that reading solves my issues.

    On a practical side, is there something you could volunteer with? An alternative service (on the west side?) Is there a congregation that could use your help? Are you on the pulpit supply list?
    Work your connections and think off the wall.

    I panicked and took the first call when I later found that Liza was working to pull together a couple of things that would have worked for me. I didn't talk to her but just said yes (of course, after being rejected by 133 churches I was a little raw).

  8. Ah, now I see what you are asking! My approach with times like this, when I don't know what I don't know but want to find out, is to take them as an opportunity to search and click on the internet. I start with a word or term that seems relevant, and scan through until I find a blog or article that's intriguing. Then I click on a link I find there, and another from there, and so on. It's fun and feels somewhat indulgent, but it also leads me down paths I wouldn't have anticipated and yet from which I learn/discover/explore so much.

    Once upon a time, I learned to do this with the card catalog in the library; now I've changed to an internet m.o.

    And FWIW, your blogs have been the starting point for many such journeys for me!

  9. I would steer well clear of manuals !!
    But this link really made a huge impression on me when I read it recently because it speaks straight from the heart, is immnesely moving and is a powerful testimony to faith and how it grabs us !!
    It is by someone called Heather King and this is the link:

    She also has a blog called Shirt of Flame

    Blessings to You !!