- For any pastor of any church, no matter the size
This guidebook by W.A. Criswell touches on all aspects and functions of today's pastor. Dr. Criswell deals with wide areas of concern including the pastor's role in Christ's plan, the preaching and study duties of the pastor, the pastor's relationships, the pastor's administrative duties, the personal life of the pastor, and such pastoral duties as weddings, funerals, counseling and pastoral dos and don'ts.
About the Author
Wallie Amos Criswell was born in Eldorado, Oklahoma in 1909, but the dust bowl drove the Criswell family to the Texas panhandle on the border of New Mexico. At age ten he professed faith in Christ at a revival meeting. By the time he was twelve he made a public commitment of his life to the gospel ministry, delivering his first sermon as the funeral message for a beloved pet dog. Criswell was licensed to preach at the age of seventeen and soon thereafter held student pastorates at Devil's Bend and Pulltight, Texas. He received his B.A. from Baylor University, and his Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of First Baptist Church Chickasha, Oklahoma and First Baptist Church Muskogee, Oklahoma prior to being called as pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas in October of 1944. He served for fifty years as senior pastor of First Baptist Church, for many years the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, preaching more than five thousand sermons from its pulpit. He became the historic church's first Pastor Emeritus in 1995.
Dr. Criswell published fifty-four books and was awarded eight honorary doctorates. The Criswell College, First Baptist Academy, and KCBI Radio were started under his leadership. He served on the board of trustees of Baylor University, Baylor Health Care System, Dallas Baptist University, and The Baptist Standard. He also served as a member of the Annuity Board and as Chairman of the Trustees of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway Christian Resources). The Baptist Banner characterized his contribution to the Southern Baptist Convention as "historic": He is known as the patriarch of the "conservative resurgence," returning the SBC to its Bible-believing roots. Twice elected president of the SBC, in 1968 and 1969, during the 20 years that followed he was perhaps the most popular preacher at evangelism and pastors' conferences in America, while also preaching extensively to mission fields worldwide.
Criswell's theology is best described as conservative and evangelical. He believed in Biblical inerrancy, the eternal security of the believer, and Jesus Christ as the authority of spiritual truth and the sole path to salvation of sinful mankind.
Criswell's theology and ethics reflected the era in which he lived. Criswell preached dispensational premillennialism from the pulpit. Criswell drew upon the theology of C.I. Scofield. Premillennialism offered a more pragmatic view of the limited scope of possible social reform, looking ahead to the rapture in which Christians are removed from the world before the end-time judgments of the tribulation and Armageddon, after which Christ himself returns to transform the world and establish his kingdom.
As founder and chancellor of the Criswell College, Dr. Criswell gave his later years to preparing young preachers to preach the Word of God. He emphasized that a sermon should take God's truth and "make it flame, make it live!" "The word we preach from our pulpits," he declared, "ought to be like the Word of God itself--like a fire and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces (Jer 23:29)."
Criswell's concern for the inner city led to support of more than 15 mission chapels staffed with pastors and to sponsorship of Dallas' largest shelter for the homeless, the Dallas Life Foundation. W. A. Criswell went home to be with the Lord January 10, 2002. His ministry continues through the messages he preached and the lives he touched during seventy-five years of pastoral service.
One of the better guidebooks to help pastors as they learn (or refresh) skills related to being the shepherd of a local congregation. It provides practical guidance on how to marry, how to bury and the many others things a pastor will likely be called upon to do.