The Vulnerable Pastor

The Vulnerable Pastor : How Human Limitations Empower Our Ministry

4.32 (120 ratings by Goodreads)
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Missio Alliance Essential Reading List of 2015
Hearts Minds Bookstore's Best Books of 2015, For Church Leaders's Top Reads of 2015
Englewood Review of Books Best Books of 2015, Praxis

Leadership Journal's Best Ministry Books of the Year

Often as pastors we feel like we need to project strength and competency in order to minister effectively. That's why we go to conferences and emulate the latest superstars. But we know we can never live up to those images. Deep down, we know our own limitations, our weaknesses, our faults. We fear that if people knew who we really are, we'd be disqualified from ministry.
Not so. Mandy Smith unpacks the biblical paradox that God's strength is revealed through our human weakness. Transparently describing her pastoral journey, Smith shows how vulnerability shapes ministry, through our spiritual practices and relationships, influencing our preaching, teaching and even the nuts and bolts of the daily schedule. Understanding our human constraints makes our ministry more sustainable and guards us against disillusionment and burnout.
We don't have to have it all together. Recognizing our weakness makes us rely on God, so our weakness can become a ministry resource. God has called you to lead not as a demigod, but as a human, so the world can see that the church is a place for humans like them.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 14 x 140 x 17.78mm | 318g
  • Inter-Varsity Press,US
  • Illinois, United States
  • English
  • 0830841237
  • 9780830841233
  • 323,100

Table of contents

Foreword by David Hansen

Introduction: God Is an Odd Leader

Part I: Getting Over Ourselves: Vulnerability with God

1. Filled with Emptiness

2. What Makes Us Feel Weak. And What Doesn?t: A Confession

3. Save Me! Vulnerability and Salvation

4. Feeling Exposed: How Vulnerable Pastors Handle Emotions

5. I Need You! How Vulnerable Pastors Pray

6. Letting the Bible Read Us: How Vulnerable Pastors Read the Bible

Part II: Being True to Ourselves: Vulnerability Behind the Scenes

7. Learning to Like the Mess: How Vulnerable Pastors Create Culture

8. Changing the Mold: How Vulnerable Pastors Recognize and Develop Leaders

9. Taking Our Own Sweet Time: How Vulnerable Pastors Use Their Time and Energy

10. Thriving for Others: How Vulnerable Pastors Measure Success

Part III: Practicing in Public: Vulnerability with an Audience

11. Welcome to the Process: How Vulnerable Pastors Teach and Preach

12. The Right Kind of Desperate: How Vulnerable Pastors Engage with the World

Epilogue: Unfading Treasure in Jars of Clay

Discussion Guide


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Review quote

The Vulnerable Pastor is a great book for Christians, and especially pastors, who feel discouraged and ashamed of weaknesses in a culture focused on strength, performance, and having it all together. Smith prophetically calls the church to renounce the idol of strength in leadership and to rely on God's strength in our weakness. The practice of becoming vulnerable is a means by which a new generation of pastors can develop the necessary virtues of courage and humility.--Ty Grigg, Covenant Quarterly, Winter 2016
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About Mandy Smith

Originally from Australia, Mandy Smith is lead pastor of University Christian Church, a campus and neighborhood congregation with its own fair-trade cafe in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a regular contributor to Leadership Journal and PARSE and the author of Making a Mess and Meeting God. She is also the creator of The Collect, a citywide trash-to-art project. She and her husband live with their two children in a little house where the teapot is always warm. David Hansen is pastor of Heritage Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has also pastored in Montana, the setting for many of the stories in his book The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers (IVP). Hansen is also author of Loving the Church You Lead: Pastoring with Acceptance and Grace (Baker).
In 1999, Hansen was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has been a contributing editor for Leadership Journal, and is a frequent speaker at pastoral ministry conferences.
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Rating details

120 ratings
4.32 out of 5 stars
5 49% (59)
4 38% (45)
3 11% (13)
2 2% (2)
1 1% (1)
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