Good Books to Strengthen Pastoral Ministry, Issue 80

February 4, 2016 by Presbyterian Foundation

Augustine heard the voice of a child saying, “Take and read, take and read.” He opened a Bible, began to read, and was set on the path of committed discipleship and faithful pastoral ministry as the Bishop of Hippo and a theologian for the ages. Let's assume that pastors do not need to be encouraged to read the Bible. But what else can we read that will enhance our preaching, teaching, and pastoral care?

Suggestion for February reading:

  • Mary McClintock Fulkerson & Marcia W. Mount Shoop, A Body Broken, A Body Betrayed (Eugene OR: Cascade Books, 2015)
     This slim volume, written by two Presbyterian ministers – a theology professor and a pastor-theologian – is essential reading for both teaching and ruling elders, both of whom share responsibility for the celebration of the Lord's Supper in the congregation. It will not be easy reading. The book's sub-title alerts readers to the important and difficult discussion that lies ahead: “Race, Memory, and Eucharist in White-Dominant Churches.”
Presbyterian Eucharistic liturgies and our ingrained sacramental practices express a shared story. The words and actions of our Eucharistic worship tell and show a story about God and ourselves that is grace-filled, open, inclusive, and hope-filled. McClintock Fulkerson and Mount Shoop ask us to consider, “But what about when our stories are incomplete? Or worse yet, what about when our stories about ourselves are lies? What about when stories dis-member or contort part of the Body of Christ by denying truth, silencing dissonance, or ignoring wounds?”
Our sacraments – Baptism as well as the Lord's Supper – are both joyful expressions of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit and dreary testimony to the church's history and practice of racial exclusion. Officially segregated congregations have been replaced by too many de facto segregated congregations throughout the PCUSA. The authors expose the “not knowing” of the majority church's purported color-blindness, and the ways that the sacramental rhetoric of reconciliation and redemption conceal the racialized dis-memberment of the body of Christ.

The analysis is painful, particularly because it is an explicit critique of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) practice. Yet the analysis is particularly important, for the same reason. Unlike the description of our situation, the remedies offered by McClintock Fulkerson and Mount Shoop are general and vague. But that is to be expected because the situation must be faced by each pastor, each session, each congregation; each must then enact its own remedy.

Wills Emphasis
One major reason people don't include the church in their will is because they've never been asked to do so. Perhaps no one at the church ever considered such a conversation. Or perhaps it seemed too threatening or impolite. In fact, many members are eager to talk with their pastor about end of life issues, including ways they can help the church through their wills. And the Foundation can help you talk to members about estate planning in meaningful, natural ways.
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Don't Miss 2016 Stewardship Kaleidoscope
By 2020, donors under 40 will give nearly $100 billion dollars to the  nonprofit sector. But these young donors or millennials are unlike any generation to date. Are you ready to engage them? Age and Generosity: Why a One-Size-Fits-All Stewardship Program Doesn't Work, and How to Fix It is just one of many workshops at the 2016 Stewardship Kaleidoscope in San Antonio, Feb. 29 to March 2. In this workshop, Karl Travis, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, will compare and contrast the generosity inspirations of each living generation and explore elements of a stewardship effort which speaks to all, no matter their birth year.
Stewardship Kaleidoscope is a conference for Presbyterians and offers real tools for real ministry. With more than 34 workshops and presentations, Kaleidoscope offers opportunities to learn and share ways to create a giving spirit in your church community. The Presbyterian Foundation and New Covenant Trust Company are premier ambassador sponsors and have staff members leading the following workshops:
  • Asset-Based Stewardship for the Small Congregation
  • Creating a Culture of Generosity
  • Endowments 101
  • Stewardship and Philanthropy in Multiracial and Multicultural Communities
  • Practical Planned Giving 101
  • Fostering Generosity as a Spiritual Discipline
  • What Does an Effective Generosity Team Look Like
  • Electronic Giving: The Tools
  • Planned Giving: 25 Ideas to Get You to the Next Level
  • Courageous Generosity Leadership – The Pastor's Role
  • Legacy Gifts: Making a Difference … Forever!
  • Donor-Advised Funds – What Stewardship Leaders Should Know
  • Transformation of Congregational Stewardship: A Real-Life Example
  • Narrative Budgets: Making the Transition from Line Items to Changed Lives