Pastor's Progress

A friend wrote in his church newsletter that a series of books he'd just read changed the way he viewed ministry. His wife, he reported, said it changed him.

We were curious.

"What is this terrific series that has transformed your ministry? Is it Maxwell, or Anderson, or Schaller? Is it purpose-driven or tsunami-driven? What's it about?"

"Mitford," he replied, almost sheepishly. "It's a small town in North Carolina, a quirky mountain village. The main characters are an Episcopal priest and his dog. The people are odd, and this pastor, he—just—loves 'em." The Mitford series of novels, by Jan Karon, is a publishing phenomenon.

But this was so out-of-character for this aggressive, goal-oriented pastor. Once a manufacturer of bomber jets, he came to ministry later in life. In 12 years at his only pastorate, he has relocated the church to 20 acres out by the interstate, personally supervised construction of new facilities, hired staff, and watched his sweet neighborhood church triple ...

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