Pastoral ministry is an occupation in flux. In this comprehensive study Jackson Carroll considers the many factors -- changing roles among clergy and laypeople, the opening of ordination to women, an increasing shortage of clergy, and more -- that are shaping congregations and ministers today. Building on Paul's image of Christians as "clay jars," Carroll paints a portrait of "God's potters" -- pastors whose calling is to form their congregational jars so that they reveal rather than hide God's treasure.
A veteran clergy watcher, Carroll uses data from what is likely the most representative survey of Protestant and Catholic clergy ever undertaken, as well as focus group interviews and congregational responses, to take a hard look at who is doing ministry today, what it involves, and how pastors are faring in leading their congregations. Significantly, his study covers clergy from a broad range of traditions -- Catholic, mainline Protestant, conservative Protestant, and historic black churches.
Replete with pertinent tables and figures, God's Potters culminates with specific strategies for strengthening pastoral leadership and nurturing excellence in ministry.