Shepherding God’s Flock: A Handbook on Pastoral Ministry, Counseling and Leadership (Paperback) by Jay E. Adams
Here is a textbook for students of pastoral ministry and a handbook for pastors outlining the three tasks of pastoral ministry.
Dr. Jay E. Adams is Director of Advanced Studies and Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. He received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, his B.D. from the Reformed Episcopal Theological Seminary, his S.T.M. from Temple University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. In addition to having served as a pastor and then a Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Dr. Adams has been the Dean of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, Laverock, Pennsylvania, since its founding in the early 1970s. He has written over fifty books, translated the New Testament into English (The Christian Counselor’s New Testament), and lectured throughout the world. His books deal with many aspects of pastoral ministry and counseling as well as Bible study and practical Christian living.
Review by JS in Florida – Essentially a handbook for pastors as well as a textbook for students of pastoral ministry, the work is divided into three sections: Pastoral Life which deals with the calling and general life of the pastor, Pastoral Counseling and Pastoral Leadership. This is an exhaustive without being exhausting as we are treated to an extensive tour of all of the different areas of ministry.
There is a two-fold perspective at work as Adams directs his book both to those pastors already in church ministry as well as to those who are preparing for such ministry. The approach presented is of the leader who acts as a motivator and director for other leaders within the church. “The pastor should repeatedly ask himself, `Is there someone else who could do this job?’ and `Can someone else help me do this (or a part of it)'” (Page 416). Delegation is pictured throughout as the key to growing, healthy churches. But this delegation is not random or happenstance. It will be successful only insofar as it is planned. Otherwise it will not happen, or worse, it will happen in a shoddy manner.
Adams’ insistence that pastors should do nearly all of their own counseling in conjunction with lay-counselors and that they should avoid referring their parishioners to counselors outside of their own local church seems to be extreme.
Adam’s advice for bringing about elder participation into the ministry of the church is to “start small. Begin with some easily attainable short-term goal, to take a step in the right direction.. Find persons who are ready to cooperate or who could be successfully challenged to do so and start with them.” (Page 194). This is a good formula for bringing any type of change into a church.
“A church that makes no attempt to promote Christian communication will discover that communication will take place anyway. To state the problem simply: if the communication that exists is not carefully established and maintained as Christian communication, then the sort of communication that develops will tend to be non-Christian communication; gossip, slander, half-truths will flow quickly along the grapevine.” (Page 380).