Letters to Nancy – By Mahan Siler
We’re listening here to the voice of an engaged and still-growing elder as he talks with us about what it means to be a congregational leader and about how to serve faithfully and sustainably in that role. Central to the book and at the heart of Mahan’s understanding of this vocation is a conviction that being a congregational leader is far more than a job; it is a way among other ways of becoming more fully who we are, pursuing our wholeness, and “working out our salvation.” He trusts that ministry can be a means of transformation for ministers and for those whom they serve.
These reflections on pastoral ministry, drawn from 25 years as a pastoral leader of a congregation and 20 years as a teacher of clergy leaders from multiple traditions, are letters to Dr. Nancy Petty, a former colleague, still serving the same congregation as senior minister. Each letter is based on a time when in Siler's experience one way of seeing pastoral leadership shifted to a different way to see pastoral leadership—a re-frame. He writes as a pastor in one generation writing to pastoral leaders in next generations. Siler imagines these re-frames being provocative in two ways: by offering a different way of seeing leadership; and by suggesting to the reader the same question—what re-frames have changed their ministry?
Siler lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Janice. They have four children and six grandchildren. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and among the founders of the Alliance of Baptists. His vocational life of 63 years happens to divide almost equally between being a pastor of a congregation and working with current or future clergy leaders of congregations. Learn more on Siler’s author page.