Why Baker's Books are the Most Popular Amongst ULC Ministers
Two of the primary services performed by Universal Life Church ministers are weddings and funerals, and some ULC ministers go on to start their own congregations after becoming ordained online. These three topics (weddings, funerals and the founding of churches) are covered by the Baker's Wedding Handbooks collection in a way that is meant to give beginners an introductory look at each of them. These handbooks lack flash and pizzazz and are instead focused solely on educating pastors in a Christian style; they are thus ideal for ULC ministers who are looking to get a broad and cursory look into the world of being a Christian minister. The Baker's books are also relatively inexpensive when compared to other ministerial training guides; the entire set of three books only costs $45 in the "Ministry Products" section of ULC.org.
The Baker's collection was written by Paul E. Engle, a Grand Rapids, MI-based author, pastor of 22 years and religious teacher at seminaries both home and abroad. Baker's Pastoral Handbooks are steeped with his experience; it is virtually impossible to not become a better minister, in either the traditional or nontraditional sense, after reading one or more of the books from this collection.
The three Baker's books are completely manageable in length; they only comprise 608 pages between them and can thus easily be read within a couple of weeks.
Please note that these handbooks should be used merely as introductions to the subjects contained within them; people looking to become master wedding officiants should look for more in-depth guides or training courses elsewhere. They also solely focus on Christian ceremonies and do not consider the perspectives of other major religions, alternative religions, agnostics and atheists. In this way, those looking for ministerial guides with a diverse religious outlook should not buy Baker's handbooks.
Overview of Baker's Pastoral Handbooks
The Baker's books carried by the ULC Bookstore are described below. Feel free to ask us questions about their contents if their descriptions in this post do not answer all of yours.
Please note that individual books can be purchased from this collection; there is no need to buy the entire series if you are only interested in being a wedding officiant, for example.
Baker's Wedding Handbook
This handbook is split into three parts. The first discusses example "traditional" wedding ceremonies for eight major Christian denominations. The second lists pre-made "alternative" ceremonies that include contemporary weddings, renewal of vow ceremonies and civil marriages. The third and final section provides information that the wedding officiant can use to help plan the ceremony; these include sample hymns and prayers, alternative wedding vows, planning sheets and thoughts on weddings and marriage that should be shared with every couple whose wedding you officiate.
This is by far the most popular book sold by the ULC Bookstore; thousands of ministers have successfully relied on this book to teach them the officiant skills they needed to perform a beautiful wedding ceremony.
Baker's Funeral Handbook
The first thing this handbook does is break down funeral services into the styles used by nine major denominations. It also contains funeral resources like scriptures, quotes and hymns. Unlike many other funeral guides, Baker's Funeral Handbook includes passages for "special" memorial services, like those for unborn children, victims of car accidents and atheists (referred to as "nonbelievers" by Engle).
Minister's Service Manual
One of the many all-around ministerial guides that can be found within the ULC Bookstore, the Minister's Service Manual contains chapters on officiating weddings, providing spiritual counseling, leading worship services, starting congregations and a number of special occasions that ordained ministers might be called to preside over.
Discover More Books at the ULC Bookstore
The Baker's Pastoral Handbooks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the books offered by the ULC. Dozens of religious texts, spiritual guides, legal books and wedding officiant guides can be found in the ULC Bookstore in 's Ministry Products section. Any Universal Life Church minister interested in developing their knowledge of world religions, honing their wedding officiant skills or starting a church should devote a couple of minutes to poking around the Bookstore as you may find exactly what you need there.
Our previous Product Spotlight, which discussed the merits of the many wedding officiant books we offer, can be found on this blog post.
Keep checking back on the Universal Life Church blog for more Product Spotlights! Let us know if you have any questions about the information contained within this post or would like to see us to do a spotlight on a line of ministry products that particularly interests you.