Putting on the Whole Armor of God

On today’s Warriors of Grace show continuing season two, Dave discusses union with Christ and the armor of God, why spiritual warfare is vital to spiritual warfare, and why one’s view of sanctification affects how one views spiritual warfare. What you’ll hear in this...

God the Best Portion of the Christian – Jonathan Edwards (1736)

Two hundred years after Calvin published his first edition of The Institutes, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon about being content in God. The title of the sermon was God the Best Portion of the Christian. Edwards’s text is Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but...

The Grounding of Hope

Colossians 1:3-5, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard...

Christine Chappell- Help! My Teen is Depressed

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Christine Chappell discuss how to walk with a teenager through depression, how the local church can help teenagers who are depressed and minister to them, along with her mini-book, Help! My Teen is Depressed (Shepherd...

To the Saints in Colossae

Colossians 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” Jesus is the center of Scripture, the one in...

Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us

Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Suffering at the hands of other people is extremely painful. However, even when this occurs, we can know that God’s sovereignty rules over all, and that he working out his will for our...
Biographies, Biographies in Pastoral Ministry, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace
Biographies in Pastoral Ministry

Posted On September 16, 2019

Pastoral ministry is isolating and discouraging. Few people in your congregation understand what you face. For some, building relationships with other pastors is difficult because of schedule and other sundry reasons.

People may not be growing as you desire to see them grow. Your preaching and counsel seem to fall on deaf ears. There are seasons where the church needs to be led in a healthier direction, but you are the only one who sees it which causes friction.

Biographies can be a great aid in pastoral ministry. The lives of those who have gone before us encourage us and remind us that what we are facing is not unique.

Pastors also spend a lot of time with books. The Bible, commentaries, systematic theologies, and various other books. Pastors typically read a lot. Martyn Lloyd-Jones encourages pastors to read widely in Preaching and Preachers. You must read for your mind, soul, and pleasure. Biographies can help you read for your soul and pleasure.

Can I Be Personal?

I have focused most of my reading in 2019 on biographies, other than what I read for ministry. It has been refreshing. My mind has been rejuvenated. My energy for the work of the ministry has increased. And my understanding of human nature has increased. I have also seen again and again that there is nothing new under the sun. Things I go through someone else in history has also walked through. I’ve been able to learn from other’s mistakes and their successes.

What follows are a few of the benefits you will receive by spending some time reading an excellent biography.

A Source of Encouragement

In seasons when I have been discouraged biographies have been a great source of encouragement to me. Biographies have a way of refocusing our attention on what’s most essential and encouraging us to be faithful for the glory of God and the good of the people He has given you to shepherd.

Reading about Charles Spurgeon or Martin Luther encourages us that we can be faithful in difficult circumstances but that many saints who have gone before us faced difficulties much greater than our own. Spurgeon’s fight in the Downgrade is always a reminder to me that what I am going through, though difficult, is not as bad as I think it is which for me is always encouraging.

A Mental Break

An excellent biography provides a needed mental break. Pastoral ministry is a great deal of mental work. Even in areas others might not expect, such as pastoral, biblical counseling. That takes a great deal of preparation. If we do not give ourselves a mental break every now and then we are creating the atmosphere for burnout to creep in and take hold of us.

Biographies have a way of transporting you to another world, a past world in many cases. You begin to learn that nothing is really new under the sun. What you are walking through has been walked through before by countless others.

An Emotional Break

Additionally, biographies provide an emotional break. Reading about the life of Spurgeon will help us get our eyes off our situation and see that others have gone through similar difficulties and even worse than what we are facing.

They will also give us an emotional break because we can learn without being in the middle of the mess. Counseling is an essential work for the pastor, but it can also be physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. It is rewarding but hard work. We often learn a lot about human nature through counseling, but it takes an emotional toll to learn this way.

Biographies teach us about human nature without having an emotional tie or investment in the situation. You can think through how you might counsel someone in this situation without being in the situation.

This invaluable emotional break will make you a better counselor but also preacher. Your increased understanding of human nature will help you in the counseling room and the pulpit.

What Type of Biographies Should You Read?

What kind of biographies should you read? The answer is it’s up to you. Since a biography is meant to refresh, you should choose those which pique your interest the most. I prefer reading about my favorite preachers and great historical leaders such as Presidents. Missionary biographies have been helpful as well.

Read for enjoyment. Read for pleasure. Read what interests you. There is no wrong answer here.

One type of biography that is a must is reading about other pastors. The encouragement and what you will learn is invaluable. I would especially encourage you to read biographies of other pastors if you feel isolated, don’t have a plurality of elders, or other pastors close to you.

Set a goal but start small. Who is your favorite preacher or world leader? Start there and see where it goes. You’ll be glad you did!

Related Posts

Biographies, Biographies in Pastoral Ministry, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Putting on the Whole Armor of God

On today’s Warriors of Grace show continuing season two, Dave discusses union with Christ and the armor of God, why spiritual warfare is vital to spiritual warfare, and why one’s view of sanctification affects how one views spiritual warfare. What you’ll hear in this...

Biographies, Biographies in Pastoral Ministry, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

God the Best Portion of the Christian – Jonathan Edwards (1736)

Two hundred years after Calvin published his first edition of The Institutes, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon about being content in God. The title of the sermon was God the Best Portion of the Christian. Edwards’s text is Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but...

Biographies, Biographies in Pastoral Ministry, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

The Grounding of Hope

Colossians 1:3-5, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard...

Biographies, Biographies in Pastoral Ministry, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Christine Chappell- Help! My Teen is Depressed

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Christine Chappell discuss how to walk with a teenager through depression, how the local church can help teenagers who are depressed and minister to them, along with her mini-book, Help! My Teen is Depressed (Shepherd...

Biographies, Biographies in Pastoral Ministry, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

To the Saints in Colossae

Colossians 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” Jesus is the center of Scripture, the one in...

Biographies, Biographies in Pastoral Ministry, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us

Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Suffering at the hands of other people is extremely painful. However, even when this occurs, we can know that God’s sovereignty rules over all, and that he working out his will for our...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share42
Tweet10
Share
Pin
Buffer