The book deals with the subject of pastoring using 1 Timothy 4:12-17 as its foundation. I appreciate Stowell's emphasis on character - who a pastor is and not just what a pastor does.
A highlight for me is this: After presenting shaky platforms for pastoral leadership such as personal charm, popularity, programs, self-promotion, politics, etc., Stowell writes,
What then is the platform from which a shepherd can effectively break down the encasements of resistance, capture hearts and minds, and effectively infuse the biblical functions of ministry to affect lives and develop a community of belief that resounds to God's glory?
It is the platform of RESPECT. Granted, this foundation for ministry is not a spectacular, engaging, or compelling thought at first. In our fast-paced, fast growth, big-bang ministry environment, the platform of respect seems to be a rather mundane foundation. Yet, Paul's admonition to Timothy makes this platform his precise point when he exhorts Timothy to "let no man look down upon your youthfulness ... show yourself an example of those who believe" (1 Tim. 4:12).... While "respect"is not trendy, it is the element that can keep a shepherd leading over the long haul. Even when people disagree, they can still respect their leader. Leaders who engender respect draw people's attention to their character and stimulate a hunger in those who follow to replicate that character in their lives. When followers respect their leader, even though he calls them from their comfort zones and challenges them to deeper levels of commitment that require personal sacrifice, the fact that they respect him will keep their hearts open to the challenge... (p. 89-90).
This applies whether you shepherd a church of 1000s or a house church of a dozen, but each setting has its own challenges.