No pastor sets out to fail, but statistics say 15 to 20 percent of pastors leave pastoral ministry within the first five years. One seminary administrator said that every person he had heard of leaving the ministry had done so because of a relationship failure. We cannot escape relationships in ministry, yet few seminaries offer courses in how to build healthy relationships. The assumption is that the type of person who is called to ministry will have all the “people skills” they need, which sadly is not always true.
In Blessed Connections, seminary professor Judith Schwanz focuses on the person of the minister and the relational system of the minister’s life. She spotlights three areas of connection—relationship with self, relationships with other people, and relationship with God. Attending to these three primary connections will strengthen the pastor and cushion her or him against the pressures and stresses of daily ministry. Blessed Connections is ideal for seminary students and new pastors and includes “Assessment Journal” questions at the end of each chapter for personal application.