In the past few months I’ve been reading pastoral ministry books for my own spiritual and pastoral good. In case you missed some earlier reviews, I said Paul Tripp’s Dangerous Calling wasn’t overly helpful because of its narrow audience: it isn’t for pastors who are weary, tired, and who need encouragement. In fact, I had to force myself to finish it – it ended up being more discouraging than encouraging for me.
I did, however, appreciate Bruce Mawhinney’s Preaching with Freshness; it is an excellent resource for pastors who are need encouragement in faith and life. Along those lines, I highly recommend this 2012 Christian Focus publication, Pastoring the Pastor by Tim Cooper and Kelvin Gardiner. It is similar to Mawhinney’s book, yet is set in a different context so it doesn’t overlap too much.
Pastoring the Pastor is a email dialogue between a younger pastor and an older one. The subtitle says it: “Emails of a Journey Through Ministry.” At first I was thinking it might get a bit cheesy and far-fetcher. I was quite wrong. This email dialogue is based on a true story, therefore it is realistic, engaging, practical, and on top of this, biblical. This email dialogue was also encouraging, refreshing, and helpful for me as a pastor.
Here are a few highlights from my reading – again, it is the advice of an older pastor to a younger one.
“[The church you pastor] is not a problem for you to fix, it is a community of people for you to love in the name of Christ, and shepherd in the ways that he has for them. Rest in the Lord and be his man in the ministry and I predict you will have a life of joy at the deepest level; try to manipulate the church to fit your dreams and your life of misery has only begun.”
“The other thing that I think you need desperately, and it is something we in church leadership neglect so freely, is friends and relationships outside the church. You need to have someone to talk with about things other than the church, God, or nuances of theology. It’s okay, in fact, to have an interest in sport, or literature, or the arts, or travel, or anything that is wholesome and recreational.”
“Before appointing an elder, make sure he understands that any authority that might be attached to the role is given that he might serve, not that he might set himself apart.”
I could go on. If you’re a pastor who needs some solid wisdom, encouragement, and new motivation to keep proclaiming God’s whole counsel in and out of season, I highly recommend Pastoring the Pastor. I usually don’t read theological/biblical books on Kindle because I like to take many notes; however, this one is in novel form so I did enjoy it on Kindle. Either way – hard copy or electronic – it’s a good one for a pastor’s shelf. If you’re not a pastor but know one who is going through the grind of the ministry, gift him with a copy of this book. I’m thankful to the authors and publishers for getting this book out; I trust it will benefit Christ’s church around the world.