Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Part-Time Pastor, Full-Time Church, by Robert LaRochelle | The Christian Century

Part-time Pastor, Full-time ChurchMy Christian Century review is up of Part-Time Pastor, Full-Time Church, by Robert LaRochelle The Christian Century.

To give you a taste, here is how it starts:

A majority of congregations in the United States average fewer than 100 in attendance. While some congregations manage to employ a full-time minister with the requisite M.Div. and standing in their denomination, many others can't afford this desirable arrangement. And many congregations that currently have a full-time pastor sense that the time is coming when they'll have to downsize their expectations for full-time pastoral leadership. This is especially disconcerting for mainline Protes­tantism, which prizes an educated ministry. Many congregations wonder if they can continue to be a vital full-time church if all they can afford is a part-time pastor.

Robert LaRochelle's Part-Time Pastor, Full-Time Church is an answer to the prayers of all those concerned about the future of the small church, whether they're denominational officials charged with helping congregations find pastors, local church leaders looking for ways to provide effective leadership or seminaries needing to offer appropriate educational opportunities for clergy called to bivocational ministry. In addition, this book is a gift to clergy considering such a call.

LaRochelle is a current practitioner of what he preaches—he serves as a bivocational pastor of a small United Church of Christ congregation while working full-time as a high school guidance counselor. Beyond this experience, LaRochelle draws upon the years he spent as an ordained deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. This earlier role provided him with important insights about training and about how pastors can fulfill expectations of congregations when they are also employed outside the church.  (to continue reading, click here). 

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