“If we pay the minister that much, it won’t be a calling any more; it will be a profession.” Many Christians assume that professional standards ought not to apply in the church. This reflects the attitude that what applies as good practice in the “real” or natural world does not apply in the spiritual world. Careful analysis, good planning, and diligent follow-through are somehow at odds with trusting the Lord.In this very helpful book, Dr. Wendell McBurney shows congregations (and particularly elders) how they can go about good, effective planning, particularly for the personal and professional lives of ministers.
Publication Date: September 2020
Topic: Church, Pastoral Ministry,
“Dr. McBurney’s passion for the equipping of elders in support of their pastors shines throughout this book. The importance and the gravity of planning is limned. In Vital Churches, you will find wisdom and encouragement that will profit all ruling and teaching elders. I was challenged and convicted.”
— L. Edgar Barnhill III, Esq., Ruling Elder, First Presbyterian Church of Coral Springs, Florida..
"Vital Churches is a valuable guide for elders as they care for their pastors. I am encouraged to see a chapter on the unique expectations and needs of the pastor’s wife and family. The examples of challenges that a pastor’s wife faces are thoughtfully presented and accurate. Each is accompanied by practical suggestions for elders and congregations as they support and encourage their pastors. This book presents many helpful action steps that can be taken on behalf of pastors and their families."
— Mrs. Catherine Metzger, pastor’s wife and mother of four children, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
"In this gem of a book, Wendell McBurney brings to the forefront a much-needed topic to consider: the vitality of our churches’ pastors. He astutely understands that it’s one thing to survive the rigors of pastoral ministry, it’s quite another to thrive. With wisdom and experience compassion and courage, McBurney provides a much-needed antidote to the problems that plague many of our pastoral leaders and their churches. If the statistics are true, too many of our pastors are burning out and leaving the ministry. Moving from the forest to the trees, he provides all the necessary concepts and processes that can help any pastoral leader, along with his leaders, thrive in ministry for the long haul. Every pastor and elder wanting to be faithful in ministry needs to read this book—my students will be reading it!"
—Rev. Julius J. Kim, PhD., President, The Gospel Coalition Visiting Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California, Escondido, California
"Many professions are taxing, not just pastoral ministry. But the pastorate has unique stresses that ruling elders do not always recognize as different from the strains they experience in their own careers, or how best to care for their pastor. In this book, Dr. McBurney offers both insight and practical instruction for ruling elders as caretakers of both their pastors and their congregations."
—Michael LeFebvre, PhD., Pastor at Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian, Brownsburg, Indiana, Adjunct Professor, Old Testament Studies, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Fellow with the Center for Pastor Theologians and author
1. Pastor McWeary
2. Attention Elders!
Planning in the Church
3. The Scriptural Model
4. Prayer that Permeates
5. Some Planning Proverbs
6. Mission and Ministry
7. The Planning Sequence
8. Objectives Are Not Things You Do
9. Goal Versus Objectives
10. An Inventory for the Future
11. Sensitivity to Gifts of Grace
Planning with the Pastor
13. Time Allocation
15. Let the Pastor Be Pastor
16. The Other Half
17. Physical Vitality
18. Team Ministry
19. Team Leadership
Planning for the Pastor
20. Before Requesting Sabbatical Support
21. Concept Development
22. Preparing a Request
23. Assuring Permanent Finding
Planning for Tomorrow’s Pastor
24. The Next Generation
25. A Pastor’s Testimony
26. Experience of a Pastor’s Wife
About the Author
Wendell Faris McBurney is a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, having served his denomination for over fifty years as an elder, preceded by eight years as a deacon.