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Handle That New Call with Care: Accepting or Declining a Call to a New Congregation

By David Campbell
August 2009 | Review by David Magowan

Synopsis

'Should I stay put or should I move on to another sphere of pastoral ministry?' How frequently a minister may find himself asking this question — and how much does he have to strive in prayer to discern the mind of God who has called him with a holy calling to shepherd his church! Of course, the assumption of the question is that there is a call being extended to a new pastorate. Some men find that they have to wrestle with the question whether they should leave the pastorate altogether — either for a different ministry or in order to retire or to take up some other kind of work. This helpful little book examines the principles for the accepting or declining of a call to a new pastorate and examines them in the light of the Bible, the history of the church and God's providence.

  • Publisher: Day One Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1846251535
  • Pages: 128
  • Price: £3.69
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Book Review

This is a book I felt like writing! Its subtitle is ‘Accepting or declining a call to a new congregation’, and having just been through that process myself, I was aware of the dearth of literature on this subject.

The book is written not only for ministers, but for elders and members of churches whose pastor is considering a call to another congregation. David Campbell draws on Scripture (the example of Titus is helpful) and the recorded experiences of ministers from the past.

A key truth to remember is that our Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church. Ministers are his servants and they must submit to his sovereign will. They must seek the Lord that he might impress upon their conscience a clear sense of duty and direction.

There are separate chapters considering good reasons to stay and good reasons to leave. These are excellent and would serve well to assist any minister in the careful and prayerful consideration of any move. I was particularly struck by the description of what is referred to in the book as the pastor’s ‘working capital’, namely his present congregation’s confidence and love, which may be relinquished when he moves, and which takes much time and effort to accrue in another situation.

Further advice is given on coming to a decision and the involvement of fellow ministers and elders in that process. A final chapter warns that the grass is not always greener in another pasture.

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