I have been increasingly impressed with James Matichuk’s reviews on his blog Thoughts, Prayers and Songs. Yesterday he posted a glowing review of The Relational Pastor by Andrew Root that looks like a very good book for pastors and people in ministry leadership.
Ministry is relational. This seems like a no-brainer; yet as ministers we often fail to nurture relationships. We focus on preaching and teaching and fill our time with other tasks. When we do “relational ministry” we are often seeking to expand our own influence (or the church’s influence) in our communities. For example, “friendship evangelism” or “incarnational ministry” are ways of using relationships to accomplish something rather than enjoy relationships for their own sake.
The Relational Pastor points to a different way of ministry which is relational, theologically-grounded and respectful of personhood. Andrew Root is associate professor of youth and family at Lutheran Seminary and the author of The Children of Divorce, The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry and Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry. In The Relational Pastor, he widens his audience to address all pastors (not just youth pastors). I think this is a great book and its message excites me. Root offers a robust view of relationships, rooted in place. He commends a mode (not a model) of ministry which attends to personhood and participates in the life of God and other persons through the Incarnation. If you are a pastor or in ministry, you need to read this book!