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Saturday, April 4, 2015

"The Organized Pastor" By Doug Serven (Julie Serven, editor). A Review

The Organized Pastor: Life, Love, Caring, Systems, Organization, and the Gospel MessageThe Organized Pastor: Life, Love, Caring, Systems, Organization, and the Gospel Message by Doug Serven
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"God calls both introverts and extroverts into the pastorate. He wants us to extend ourselves but not to burn out and hate people" is one of several penetrating observations made by Doug Serven, Senior Pastor of City Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Oklahoma City, in his Kindle book "The Organized Pastor: Life, Love, Caring, Systems, Organization, and the Gospel Message." This short, quickly readable piece is all about pastors extending themselves without burning out, giving up, hating people, or forgetting Christ.

Serven, with the editorial help of his wife, Julie, takes the reading pastor on a fast-paced ride through the woods, addressing your time, your people, your church and you. Most of the material is on managing time, with loads of helpful hints, suggestions and challenges. The author promotes employing organizing systems and using them to aid you in pastoring well. Yet using a system is not a cure-all, as he puts it, "Systems don’t make a great church. They don’t necessarily grow your church...A system serves you. You don’t serve it" (Kindle Location 738 and 743). These systems are tools, supports, friends who give you a hand up.

Each chapter of "The Organized Pastor" is short, and normally on task, with "Action Steps" summarizing the material just covered. But these action steps also make it easy for a reader to go back later and remember what they had read, or get back on target after they've gotten off the trail for a bit.

It's very obvious that Serven is deeply engaged with his topic, and wants fellow pastors to succeed in their vocation. The draw down is that his enthusiasm can be a bit overwhelming. Page after page is filled with doing things, and doing more things; and after you've done those things, then add these things too. All of this flows from the author's deep desire to help you succeed. Personally, with all I am doing already, I found the suggestions mildly suffocating. But Serven pulls it together in the final section of the final chapter, "Getting Rest--The Gospel Is For You, Too," where he hammers home the benefits of the Gospel of Christ for hassled, harried, hog-tied pastors.

"The Organized Pastor" would be a good, inexpensive read for a pastors' fellowship, ministerial alliance, or seminary "Introduction to Ministry" course. It could be easily read before the get-together and discussed in one meeting. It would also make a nice gift for a fellow minister. Get a copy and see what I mean.

Many thanks to the author for the free copy of the book used for this review.

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