Review of the Pastorum Series: Part One

Pastorum Series Collection (7 vols.) by Elliot Ritzema, Jeffrey E. Miller Logos Bible Software 2012

It is my privilege to  review the new Pastorum Series Collection from Logos Bible Software. Logos Bible Software makes the most comprehensive Bible software on the market and they’re always thinking of new resources to add to their library and creative ways they can help lay people, pastors and students get the most out of the Bible.  Here are resources for pastors that will save time and add depth to your preaching and your worship service.

The Pastorum Series help pastors (and other worship planners) as they prepare sermons and plan Sunday worship.  This collection promises to jump-start sermon preparation time and give some creative suggestions for delivery and application. The seven books in this collection include:

  • 400 Prayers for Preachers, with Slides
  • 300 Quotations for Preachers, with Slides
  • Study, Apply, Share: Mark
  • Study, Apply, Share: Luke
  • Study, Apply, Share: Philippians
  • Study, Apply, Share: Hebrews
  • Study, Apply, Share: James

Elliot Ritzema edits two books, one gathering quotations, the other prayers from the Christian tradition . Jeffrey Miller compiles sermon guides which help you delve deeply into the passage and focus delivery. I will look at Miller’s resources  in my next post. Here I want to take a close look at what Ritzema’s quotation and prayer collections add to worship planning.  Both of his resources denote that they are for ‘preachers’ but worship leaders and anyone who has significant input into worship planning can also benefit from these resources.  I know Elliot personally (you can find a link to his blog on the right) which makes me a little biased, but I have tried to assess these resources based on their usefulness for church life.

Can I Quote You On That?

Proverbs 25:11 says that, “a word aptly spoken is like an apple of gold in a setting of silver.” In 300 Quotations for Preachers (with Slides) Ritzema  has collected a number of apt words from across  the Christian tradition.  There are theological voices as diverse as Augustine and James Arminius, patristic and occasional pagans, medieval theologians like Anselm and Bernard of Clairvaux and Puritans like Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter and John Owen. And more!  Each of the quotations is paired with a relevant scripture passages and suggested preaching themes.  Additionally, there are also slides  included which could be copied and saved (or just cut and pasted) straight into your presentation software and used on Sunday morning (you can also send it right to your PowerPoint).

Here is a screenshot of  this resource  in Logos with the accompanying slide:

300 Quotations
Kempis Slide

Unlike print quotation collections, Ritzema does  not repeat quotations under every relevant theme (these resources are fully searchable, so that would be redundant).  I am still using Logos 4 and  could search this resource using the Logos search tool, and the ‘cited by’ tool  pulled up particular scripture passages. However, in Logos 5 this  resources (and the prayer collection below) is further integrated into the Logos ecosystem. In the Sermon Starter Guide, you can find  resources and quotations that relate to  preaching theme and scripture passages (one more reason why I should just go ahead and update).

. . .The Words to Pray

Readers of this blog will know that I love prayer collections and occasionally share prayers here. especially as they relate to the liturgical calendar. The saints of old have a lot  of wisdom to impart and their words draw us into deeper communion with God. Like 300 Quotations, 400 Prayers For Preachers (with Slides)  is remarkable for the breadth of material that Ritzema draws on.  There are prayers from the Bible, from Patristic sources, from medieval saints and orthodox liturgies, from Protestant Reformers and Nineteenth Century Evangelicals. No matter what your theological tradition is, you will find prayers which deeply resonate with you and your church.

While  Ritzema culls together diverse voices, these prayers were selected  specifically for use in worship.   Each of  the prayers are 100-150 words long (or shorter) and are paired with pertinent scriptures and preaching themes. There are prayers that call us  to worship, prayers which focus on theological themes, prayers that address particular events in the life of the church (i.e. Baptism, prayers before communion, prayers for consecration of buildings or leaders, etc.). The prayers come with an accompanying slide which reproduces a significant phrase from the prayer.

Because seeing is believing here is a screenshot of a prayer from Richard Baxter, and the accompanying slide:

400 Prayers Baxter

Baxter slide

My Thoughts:

I liked both of these resources especially for the breadth and depth I found here. Often Christian quote books have quotes of dubious origin which are basically just a Christian overlay of motivational posters.  In choosing to draw on the deep well of the Christian history, Ritzema has collected wise words and beautiful prayers which will enrich your church life. Pastors and other leaders who plan Sunday worship will find these a rich resource, particularly if they already are using Logos as they prepare for Sundays.

My small wish is that these quotes and prayers were also tagged according to the liturgical calendar as well.  As these resources are made to augment the liturgy (whatever your church normally does in a worship service is the liturgy), it seems like the logical next step. Of course with scripture passages included, you can relate these prayers to the Lectionary so liturgical churches can still make ready use of these resources as well.

My next post will look deeper at Jeffrey Miller’s resources and make some comments on the collection as a whole.

(Notice of material connection: I received this resource from Logos in exchange for my honest review).

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