Church In The Mirror

By Thomas W. Spann

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New edition - Church In the Mirror

About Church in the Mirror


This book is a discussion guide for church leaders on topics such as ecclesial stigmas, social justice, and research ministry. Out of his broad pastoral experience, Thomas Spann offers succinct counsel to seminarians and persons starting out in ministry on topics such as pulpit etiquette, confidentiality, and helping laity to claim their vocation as a ministry.

Thomas Spann shares the leadership workshop notes that he used in guiding a church to deepen its analysis of its origin, mission, structure, and resources for planning for the future.

Included in this book are creative vignettes that are intended to provide rich discussions on various aspects of the narrative behaviors of church folks. These fictional accounts give the reader an opportunity to engage the underlying theology and ethics in some of the practices and events.

The book concludes with a helpful study guide on each chapter. The study guide may be used in personal reflection and in a small study group.


What’s inside


Chapter One: Widsom-Sharing for Pastoral Ministry


Chapter Two: Cemetery, I Mean, Seminary: Death of a Joke


Chapter Three: Work with Youth


Chapter Four: The Value of Research as a Ministry of the Church

.. and more.

Chapter One

Wisdom-Sharing For Pastoral Ministry

Having served as a pastor, theological field educator, and a mentor, I know the value of gathering wise insights to share with seminarians and pastors who are entering their first years of pastoral works. I am a beneficiary of wisdom shared with me over fifty years ago. I dedicated this book to one of my mentors, Reverend Herman H. High, who served for over thirty-seven years as the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas. He invited me to spend two summers studying with him; this was the summer before and immediately after my first year at Bishop College. One of my favorite memories is sitting under a tree in his front yard listening to him share stories as well as quiz me on books that he had assigned me to read. He taught me ways to outline a sermon. He asked his peers to open their pulpits to me so that I could practice preaching and get some feedback. Reverend High’s wisdom, and that of so many other mentors, including, Dr. Melvin J. Banks, professor of political science at Bishop College, have guided me across the years. I have sought to be a faithful disciple by sharing their wisdom with college and seminary students, as well as lessons that learned from experience and disciplined observation.

In this chapter I share….

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I was invited to be the guest preacher for Men’s Day at Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. The theme for the day was “Man in the Mirror,” a song title made famous by Michael Jackson. The supporting scripture was II Corinthians 13:.5-13. Given the title of this book, it is fitting that I share the substance of that message.

Not only must men look in the mirror, but the Church of Jesus Christ must also not walk past the mirror.

The church must first look in the mirror of the soul. Look into the mirror of the soul with balanced eyes. There is a tendency to focus on “O wretched man that I am” (Romans 7:24) without appropriate attention to “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). There must be balance in observing our strengths and areas that need improvement.

There must be a balance between doing and feeling. We can overdo and under-feel. In American society, men have been socialized not to show their real feelings. This rugged woodsman approach has created a false sense of some pent-up feelings. A lot of energy is spent keeping our masks polished.

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Dr. Thomas W. Spann has authored several books.

Click on each title to read more and to place your order.

Memoir Front Cover I Went To Bishop College
Front Cover - A Light in the Bottom
A Girl Dreams of Preaching
Saying Amen through Advent
New edition - Church In the Mirror
The Learning and The Burning
40MidWeek-Meditations - Cover
A Necessary Transition
Cover I Feel My Help Coming
First Sunday - Front Cover
When Theological Reflection Goes to Church
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