A pastor preaches, teaches, counsels, gives guidance, shepherds, leads, leads missions, learns from the history of the Church, and is a father and husband to his (her) family. Note that I have added “her” in parentheses. That is my belief suggesting that women can serve as pastors and that this book should not necessarily be restricted to men in the pulpit, but all pastoral staff.
Jason Allen has compiled a wonderful book of essays from faithful pastors who understand what it means to be one called by God to shepherd and lead a church. In an age where it seems the identity of the clergy is indistinguishable from other members of the church, this book gives serious depth to the definition of the pastor. My particular favorite section is “the pastor as preacher” where he tackles the necessity of preaching the Bible faithfully. I share his personal belief when he writes, “Yet, within the context of the local church, I believe preaching is the pastor’s preeminent responsibility” (57). I would submit that our preaching, how we proclaim the text, drives the rest of our ministry.
My only critique of this book is that, as one who affirms women in ministry, this book does not give that consideration. However, given who the general editor and contributors are and their theology of men and women in ministry, I would not expect a section on women in ministry to be in this book. Yet, I cannot help but wonder if the effectiveness of the message in this book would be aided if so. Perhaps it would not. I do not know for sure. While I also understand that this book is preeminently concerned with the (male) senior pastor, there are women who are in charge of teaching others within the local church who must bear the title pastor after their name (youth, children’s, etc.). Therefore, if they were to read this book, I find that they might be quite discouraged. Maybe this is misguided critique; maybe not.
Despite my critique, this is a fantastic resource for pastors of all years of experience to remember and reflect upon the seriousness of God’s calling upon their lives to shepherd and lead the local church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Moody Press through the Moody Blogger Review Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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