The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers, By David Hansen

The Art of Pastoring

Ministry Without All the Answers

Revised Edition

by David Hansen

The Art of Pastoring
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: September 24, 2012
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4104
  • ISBN: 9780830841042

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Named one of the Top Ten Books by the Academy of Parish Clergy

Hundreds of books, tapes, workshops and seminars promise to answer these impossible questions. Some offer a set of practical guidelines; others suggest a system or pattern to follow. Some stress various ministry functions; others feature case studies as models of success or failure. Some are helpful. Others are not. But in The Art of Pastoring, David Hansen turns pastoral self-help programs on their heads. He tackles the perennial questions from within his own experience.

From the Inside Out

Hansen's fresh, bold narrative grows from nearly a decade of ministry. He draws you into his life and into the lives of Florence-Victor Parish in the mountains of Montana, including unforgettable encounters with unforgettable people--a stubborn pioneer woman who still chops her own firewood though she's blind and 90 years old, a championship rodeo cowboy who was baptized in his boots, and many more.

Hansen's goal is to help you discover "that pastoral ministry is a life, not a technology . . . [that] life as a pastor is far more than the sum of the tasks I carry out. It is a call from God that involves my whole life."

From Calling to Living Parable

Every pastor has encountered those who struggle to hear God's voice in a hospital room, who reach for Jesus in the sacraments. No systematic answers can meet their deep, eternal needs. What can touch them, Hansen contends, is a life itself, a life lived as a parable of Jesus. "As a parable of Jesus Christ," Hansen writes, "I deliver something to the parishioner that I am not, and in the process I deliver the parishioner into the hands of God."

It is this knack for getting to the heart of things that makes The Art of Pastoring valuable for pastors in any setting--rural, suburban or urban. Parachurch workers, missionaries, church leaders and ministry volunteers will also find inspiration here.

In this significantly revised new edition, Hansen includes new insights into his view of pastorate as parable and adds a new postlude in which he comes clean on his "constant attempts to leave the ministry."

"This book literally saved my ministry. "

From the foreword by Ian Stackhouse, Guildford Baptist Church, Surrey, UK

"Hansen's The Art of Pastoring is a gem that most pastors should read every few years to recenter their lives and ministries on and in Jesus Christ. I do not fly fish, nor do I tend sheep. Yet I understand what Jesus means when he says to 'tend my sheep;' I also understand what Hansen means when he says that the pastor is the fisherman's fly."

Scott W. Sunquist, dean, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

"One of the most vexing questions students and graduates face centers on pastoral identity. Complicating this, most parishioners have no idea what are realistic expectations. David Hansen's The Art of Pastoring gives concise, centering answers. It is a pastoral theology drawn from years of pastoral experience, and it brings back into focus what a pastor is truly called to be and do. It is a much-needed corrective in a day pastors have succumbed to being therapists, CEOs or artists. It belongs in the curriculum of any school serious about training pastors."

John Johnson, associate professor of pastoral theology, Western Seminary, and pastor, Village Church, Portland, Oregon

"The 'art' of pastoring, indeed! Not a science, not a technique, not a manual-driven set of programs, but a deeply felt, highly nuanced story of God's transforming grace being manifest by his servants. No one paints this picture of the life and ministry of the pastor better than David Hansen."

Dr. David Horn, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary


Foreward to the Revised Edition
Preface to the Revised Edition
An Ebenezer Story: Introduction
1. Beginning
2. Call
3. The Holy Spirit
4. Temptation
5. Eschatology
6. Preaching
7. Prayer
8. Friendship
9. Sacrament
10. Leadership
11. Leaving
12. Reward
Appendix 1: Sightings
Appendix 2: Beneath the Surface
Questions for Discussion


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David Hansen

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.