Updated book from a pastor’s pastor

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John Bisagno: A pastor’s pastor
Bisagno’s classic handbook provides updated answers for new generation of pastors and church planters

Stephanie Ridge 
(512) 501-4399 x703

NASHVILLE, TN(ANS) — In ministry, a field plagued by high dropout rates, pastoral encouragement and guidance is paramount. One veteran pastor is trying help: Dr. John Bisagno is a “pastor’s pastor,” and while nearly 1,500 quit the ministry every month – 18,000 each year – Bisagno continues to mentor young pastors, even a decade into his retirement.


Thousands of church leaders have been touched by Bisagno’s pastoral care, including Rick Warren who credits him for growing one of the world’s greatest churches, Houston’s 22,000-member First Baptist Church.

Recognizing the new challenges and troubling dropout rates in church leadership, Bisagno is passing down all the insights, lessons, and wisdom he’s gathered from 50 years in ministry into a single volume.

The book, Pastor’s Handbook (B&H Publishing Group, September 1, 2011, 978-1-4336-7149-4, $24.99, 400 pages), is a major expansion and revision of Bisagno’s Letters to Timothy: A Handbook for Pastors, a collection of more than 100 brief chapters of practical insight for handling real life pastoral issues – “things that might have fallen through the cracks in seminary.” Originally published in 2001, it is currently being used as a textbook in all major Southern Baptist seminaries.

“These truths were produced in the crucible of trial and error and refined at both the cost of failure and the surprise of success,” he says. “For years I have longed to see something in print that would spell out the ABC’s, the practical “what-to-do’s” and “what-not-to-do’s” of the ministry, which could have made it so much easier. Now I’ve had the opportunity to revise and update my original book.”

More than a decade later, the fully-revised Pastor’s Handbook now includes 160 chapters encapsulating dozens of topics relevant to today’s church: “The Seeker Friendly Church,” “Solving Worship Wars,” “Multiple Campuses,” “New Media,” “Home Groups, “Internet Pornography,” “Biblical Inerrancy,” “Calvinism,” “The High Cost of Overnight Change,” “Homosexuality,” “Christianity and Islam” and more.

In addition to new chapters, several of the original ones were also updated, factoring in new world issues and the author’s survey of pastoral colleagues.

“My prayer is that an entire new generation of pastors and church planters will use this book to develop the necessary perspective, convictions, character, and skills needed for ministry in the 21st century,” says Warren, in the book’s foreword.

JOHN R. BISAGNO is pastor emeritus of the 22,000-member Houston’s First Baptist Church where he preached for 30 years. He has also authored 25 books and now serves on the adjunct faculty of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Bisagno and his wife, Uldine, have three children and eight grandchildren. They live in Houston, Texas. Learn more atwww.johnbisagno.com.

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