Amid the widespread discussion about “the future of the church,” an important point is sometimes overlooked: tomorrow’s church will depend to a great extent on the new pastors of today who will serve and guide our churches in the years ahead. George Mason’s Preparing the Pastors We Need: Reclaiming the Congregation’s Role in Training Clergy makes a timely intervention, asking us to redefine pastoral leadership by analyzing how, in fact, pastors are made in the first place.
The book highlights an exciting development in the training of pastors: pastoral residency programs and mentoring. Mason demonstrates that these programs work best when the congregations themselves—not just leadership or staff—are an active participant in the training. In this way, churches begin to reclaim their rightful role in the formation of the ministers that will serve them. And, at the same time, they become healthier and more effective churches.
Mason gives us the analogy of physician training. Medical school produces graduates with extensive knowledge of the body, but a practicing doctor will require several more years of internship and residency. Similarly, our seminaries and divinity schools produce men and women with good biblical knowledge, but they might not prepare a graduate for the task of helping a bereaved parishioner cope with the sudden loss of a loved one. Moreover, such areas as finances, budgets, personnel management, and vocational identity are also not well suited to seminary study.
Mason shows that congregation-based mentoring and residency are excellent ways to bridge this gap.
Praise for the Book
“Preparing the Pastors We Need is a practical, sophisticated how-to book wrapped in a love letter. Mason’s passion for ministry and his profound, tender respect for the congregation shine through.”
—Melissa Wiginton, Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary
“In Preparing the Pastors We Need, George Mason gives us the practical wisdom we need to be pastors and congregations sufficient to the task of raising up a new generation of pastoral leaders.”
—David J. Wood, senior minister, Glencoe Union Church
“George Mason has assembled a concise manual to help healthy congregations know how to shape a new generation of wise and gifted pastors.”
—Peter W. Marty, pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport, Iowa
“There is no more desperate time for quality and qualified pastors than right now. In Preparing the Pastors We Need, George Mason provides a refreshing and thoughtful approach and strategy to address the critical issues of leadership and its healthy generation for the future church.”
—Gary V. Simpson, senior pastor, Concord Baptist Church of Christ
Alban No. 427
($13.60 for members)