• Three Great Little Resources for Pastoral Students

    Earlier this week, I received three small books, all in pastel colors from Zondervan Publishers. The three books, written mostly by Brian Croft, with forwards from a variety of people had all been revised from previous works.. The series is called Practical Shepherding and Brian of course is a practical shepherd- senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Kentucky and founder of Practical Shepherding (an international pastoral equipping center).
    The three books that I received (out of a series of seven), Prepare Them to Shepherd, Visit the Sick and Conduct Gospel Centered Funerals are all about one hundred plus pages- small enough to each digest after lunch. I appreciate Brian’s narrative style of writing and very practical excerpts, here is one from Conduct Gospel Centered Funerals,

    “Prepare for the unexpected. Just when you think you have seen it all, the next funeral will surprise you. You may have seen fights break out, arrests made, uncontrollable wailing, family members and pallbearers fainting, caskets dropped and knocked over, shouting matches between family and funeral directors, or funeral attire that would make most people blush, but that doesn’t mean the next funeral will not be a fresh, new experience. Be prepared to see anything.” (51)

    I found all three books highly readable and entertaining, as well as relevant to pastoral ministry. The one downside is that of course some of the practical suggestions where very subjective.  I found myself asking, would I do that? Obviously, each pastor must use their discretion at any given time but it often sounded like “this is what you need to do in this situation.” In any case, it is very encouraging to see a series of books that has a practical nature about them when it comes to pastoral theology. Each book is not so theologically stiff that it is written by “armchair” theologians who have no real sense of what practical ministry is about.

    So would I recommend these to our students- Yes and No.  For the content and the practical application to ministry- yes; for the price- no.  Surely, Zondervan can print a 100 page book for under $15.99 Canadian and quite frankly the paper looks recycled and is not nice at all. Sorry Zondervan but you will have to do better.  As for Brian, thank-you for producing some very practical pastoral ministry books for our emerging pastoral leaders.