Becoming a Pastor:
Forming self and soul for ministry. Revised and Updated

(Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2014)

Table of contents

Becoming a Pastor is a book for every person who seeks emotional, relational, and spiritual maturity. More specific, it is written for lay or ordained leaders in the Body of Christ. The book explores what it means being either a pastoral leader who is also a Millennial or a Gen X-er or a Boomer. It then describes a path to emotional, relational and spiritual maturity and intelligence.

[T]he journey of becoming a pastor and the transformation needed for fruitful ministry are understood in very specific ways. I assume that some form of theological education, whether formal or informal, is needed, and address theological education only tangentially. Rather, I argue that you are becoming a pastor when you nurture and grow in various aspects of your self, the only self you bring to your ministry and that engages persons, the world, and of course, the self that enters into relationship with God. More specifically, you become yourself when:

  • You develop a deep sense of inner security: You are self-confident and can risk transparency, authenticity, and even the uncertainty of not knowing; you can tolerate being needed, yet find it essentially unnecessary;
  • You nurture your imagination: You can see beyond the obvious; you can empathically imagine what your parishioner with cancer is experiencing; you can see that the teenager’s rebellious behavior is a way of showing up the distance between his mom and dad, their marriage being the primary concern; your teaching and preaching speak of creativity;
  • You embrace your dark side: You engage your anger that lurks but does not speak; the envy that you hide with self-sacrificing cynicism or sarcastic humor; your shame that communicates you are vulnerable and insecure;
  • You become aware of the emotions you experience: possibly your depression or being burnt out, or the sexual yearnings you have for a certain parishioner; you can measure the temperature of your spiritual life and the nature of your relationship with the Triune God; you do not flee into false relationships as you try to get rid of your anxiety and internal chaos;
  • You can “see” others: You can allow others, including God, to be who they are and not who you think they are or who you want them to be; persons become subjects and not objects;
  • You engage life and ministry with a sense of playfulness: you laugh and have fun, your sermons are creative and your words not always calculated; the smile on your face removes that frown and serious-looking brow; your shoulders are no longer carrying the weight of the world and you have a bounce in your step.
In gratitude                                                                                                                     
Foreword by Dr. Allan H. Cole                                                                                                                      
Introduction: Created to seek transformation                                         
Two: The Capacity to Believe                                                                                 
Three: The Capacity to Imagine                                                                              
Four: The capacity for concern                                                                           
Five: The capacity to be alone                                                                               
Six: The Capacity to Use Others and to be Used                                           
Seven: The Capacity to Play                                                                                    
Conclusion: Ever becoming                                                                                    
APPENDIX A:  BECOMING A PASTOR: a brief summation                                
APPENDIX B:  ANNOTATED GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED                                        

Becoming a Pastor: Forming self and soul for ministry. Revised and Updated is available from