Sustaining Ministry: Foundations and Practices for Serving Faithfully

Book, 2017, 135 pp
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Sustaining Ministry offers an account of the moral foundations of pastoral ethics and the underlying interpersonal dynamics that make the practice of ministry powerful--and also morally dangerous, even for those with the best of intentions. Wheeler examines the personal disciplines and spiritual practices that help sustain safe ministry, including the essential practices of prayer and spiritual accountability. She equips ministers to abide by ethical standards when they come under pressure and offers practical strategies for navigating challenges. The author also stresses personal vulnerability and "unselfish self-care."

"With unusual good sense and insight Professor Wheeler has written a book that is sorely needed if we are to understand pastoral theology as integral to the theological task." -- Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke Divinity School

"Many contemporary analyses of clergy ethics take a backwards-looking view of the power dynamics inherent in pastors' relationships with their flock. These analyses then offer a rules-based model for the prevention of clergy ethics violations. [...] Wheeler points beyond a rules-based model to the necessity of practicing the deeply rooted Christian spiritual disciplines that form emotional and moral health. These practices [...] are the tools that will most fruitfully shield churches and their clergy from ethics abuse and will build abundant communities of faith." -- Kathryn Greene-McCreight, author of Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness

"While policies, procedures, and professional codes of ethics are important, Professor Wheeler reminds us they cannot do all the work of moral and ministerial formation. [...] we are called to develop deeper reservoirs for sustaining ministry through practices of prayer and accountability. These practices help ministers and Christian leaders live into the goodness of God so that they in turn are better able to help churches and communities grow in God's goodness and to faithfully extend that goodness outward to the world." -- Wyndy Corbin Reuschling, professor of ethics and theology, Ashland Theological Seminary

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