The Rev. Stan Toler said great pastors share six characteristics:

– They know how to pray.
– They have personal integrity.
– They have great flexibility.
– They are team builders.
– They have a sense of direction.
– They have a great commitment.

Need more information? Get the book.

Toler, senior pastor of Trinity Church of the Nazarene, hopes to share the wisdom he’s gleaned during his pastoral career with other clergy. His new book, “Stan Toler’s Practical Guide for Pastoral Ministry, offers “real help for real pastors, he said.

Toler’s 61st book serves as a hallmark of sorts. Toler, 56, said it heralds the beginning of his 40th year in the pastorate and 11 years as pastor of Trinity.

He said he was called to preach at age 7 and preached his first sermon when he was 14.

“My first sermon was five minutes. I ran out of things to say, so I gave an altar call and I went forward, he said, laughing.

Jokes aside, he said the new book “represents my life work.

“I have the heart of a pastor, so this book is really the culmination of pastoral service.

Toler said much of the wisdom and advice included in the book is information he shares on his speaking engagements across the country. He said he is also hoping to share his practical advice through a new leadership institute named after him at Mid-America Bible College. Putting the words of wisdom in book form is just another part of his commitment to sharing what he has with others.

“I wanted to make a statement about my passion for ministry, but most of all I know the challenges of pastoral ministry, he said.

“My dream was this would be a practical guide for pastors. Every practical aspect of ministry is covered, I believe.

Facing challenges
Toler, a West Virginia native, said he started pastoring in 1967. Much has changed since then, and today’s pastors face many unexpected challenges.

“I wouldn’t have dreamed that churches would have been involved in lawsuits. Divorce in the church wasn’t an issue, and now you have divorce recovery ministries. In addition to courthouse dramas and the breakdown of the family, Toler said pastors have to deal with money issues much of the time.

He keeps his advice to pastors simple.

“Keep the main thing the main thing. You have to value the souls of unchurched people”, he said.

Also, pastors should continue to raise dollars for ministry and focus on discipleship “helping people grow and developing well-rounded members.

Pastors, he said, should also train people in the area of compassionate concerns.

“This is to help people see others as Jesus sees them and then reflect that everyday”, he said.

What is his next book?

“The Richest Person in the World”, published by Harvest House. Its premise takes his ministry one step further.

“You become rich by giving your life away”, he said of the book’s concept.

“You sow and you give, and God blesses. I call it giving living.”