The phrase “finding one’s voice” has become a pervasive yet elusive metaphor for identity. How is the pastoral voice developed and what components come together to define a pastor’s voice?
In his new book, Finding Voice— How Theological Field Education Shapes Pastoral Identity, (Wipf and Stock Publishers) CTS Director of Field Education and Herald B. Monroe Chair of Practical Parish Ministry William Kincaid examines the role of pastoral voice from discerning a calling through the seminary experience and across the many seasons of ministry.
Kincaid was inspired to author the book based on a lifelong passion for mentoring. Prior to joining CTS, he worked with ministerial candidates and experienced ministry as a wonderful way for a person’s work to reflect his or her deepest and most energizing commitments and values.
The pastoral voice begins to take shape during the formal preparation for ministry, but continues to evolve as long as people are engaged in ministry. “Finding voice does not happen accidentally, nor does it simply arise over time. Instead, cultivating a pastoral voice involves an intentionality of experience and reflection around constituent aspects of voice,” he said.
The five aspects of voice reviewed in Finding Voice are:
- Understanding where you are
- Connecting to the greater faith story
- Embracing the vocation of pastor
- Discovering who you are as a person of ministry
- Finding your place in the system
In Finding Voice, Kincaid notes that the ebb and flow of these components and the conflicts that may arise between them help to articulate an authentic and compelling pastoral voice. While a number of books address navigating the field education requirements or managing the administration of field education programs, Finding Voice is a textbook that focuses on what students can learn now in order to flourish in ministry after they leave seminary.
The book also addresses broad cultural trends that are impacting the relationship between church and community. “Students who graduate from CTS face an exciting church and community landscape, but it is not one that lends itself to the status quo, sluggishness or vague leadership. Effective ministry will grow from clear and nimble leadership that interprets emerging changes and helps shape communities of faith,” said Kincaid.
Published on November 30, 2012, Finding Voice is available in the CTS bookstore.