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About a year ago I was approached at a conference by two men from Moody Publishers. “We’d like to talk to you about writing a book,” they said. I was flabbergasted. “About what?” I replied.

“What would you like to write about?” they responded. And that is how it started. Dave DeWit, an acquisitions editor, and Dr. John Koessler, a professor at Moody, came to my office last December. As we talked the idea for a book about shepherding God’s flock took shape.

I have been writing articles and columns for several years for, a publication of Christianity Today Inc., and occasionally other publications. My work had caught their eye and apparently they feel I have enough name recognition among pastors to sell books. Last May, with much help, I gave them a book proposal which was accepted. In late July I be-gan writing in earnest, and am planning to sub-mit a finished draft by the end of November. As of late October, I have finished the Introduction and seven chapters out of a total of eleven. The editor’s feedback has been very encouraging.

I undertook this task with the permission and blessing of our Elders. I’ve tried to do most of the work on my own time, but I also have their permission to scale back some at church in order to write. That will be necessary in November as I try to finish.

The book is entitled, Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls and is scheduled for publication in early May, 2012. In the proposal I summarized the book this way:

Grace is the pastor’s stock-in-trade. When Jesus Christ, the Lord of the church, calls a pastor He instills a kind of heightened instinct for grace; what we call ‘a shepherd’s heart. Often, pastors become disoriented by leadership demands, congregational expectations, and the wounds of ministry and forget how to use the grace of Christ in the everyday work of pastoring. Through striking word pictures and stories that resonate with every pastor, this book will reinvigorate pastors’ instincts for doing grace in the churches they shepherd. 

The book will be approximately 35,000 words, which translates to about a 160-page book. I’ve been told it will cost $13. Moody Publishers are investing significantly in this project. I have seen the cover art, met with sales people, and learned about my role in marketing. Soon I will be asking a certain prominent pastor and author to write the Foreword and will be seeking endorsements from a number of recognized ministry leaders.

This is all quite a trip! I have never aspired to write a book. In fact, I never wanted to write a book. Articles were more my speed. But this opportunity has been extraordinary and very rare indeed. I have had fun writing though it is very hard work. As I write about the role of grace in pastoral ministry I tell lots of stories. Many VCL folks are in these stories. (Curious?) I am more and more grateful for what a wonderful church this is to shepherd. I can’t wait for you all to see what I’ve written.