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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” — John 14:27

A Pastoral Rule

Reflections on the Rule

Helper or accuser?

Pastoral leadership is hard work.  The challenge of sustaining faithful service to Jesus Christ and those who seek to follow him is real.  And it is an abiding challenge.  How can it be done?

Across its history the church has discerned disciplines that sustain faithful service in pastoral leadership.  These disciplines have been gathered together to help pastoral leaders measure their own practice of ministry –  to be grateful for areas where they are strong, and to identify practices that can strengthen them as pastoral leaders.  These documents have often (though not always) been titled “Rule.”  Rule in this sense is akin to “ruler” – a measuring device that brings more precise knowledge. 

“A Pastoral Rule” is such a measuring device.  It gathers wisdom about the practices that sustain pastoral leaders.  “A Pastoral Rule” identifies faithful disciplines in three areas of ministry: personal disciplines, personal conduct, and structures of mutual accountability.

 Download “A Pastoral Rule”

“A Pastoral Rule” is offered as an invitation.  It was written by members of the Core Cluster of the Re-Forming Ministry program, a program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Theology & Worship.  It is offered in hope that pastors will find this helpful for sustaining faithful ministry (see the Letter that introduces “A Pastoral Rule”).

We invite you to read “A Pastoral Rule” and consider how it might help you sustain faithful ministry.  

Try it!  We invite you to commit to following “A Pastoral Rule” for a year.   If you would like to make that commitment, you are invited to make your commitment public.  Send an email to Karen Russell indicating your commitment, and we will add your name to the list. If you’d like a printed copy of the Pastoral Rule email Barry Ensign-George.



  • Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery has shared the "rule" with several pastors in our presbytery, all of whom found it helpful in their ministries. We will be encouraging all pastors in our presbytery to find and participate in a covenant group. by Greg Coulter on 08/11/2011 at 1:36 p.m.

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