Pastors have one of the most demanding and joyful jobs in the world. They get to be with people at the most critical times of their lives- from birth to death. They preach the glories of the gospel from the text of Scripture. They meet with people in their office, at coffee shops, and at their workplaces every week. They oversee the ministry of the church under the care of godly qualified male elders. They perform weddings and do funerals. As you can see being a pastor is hard but gospel work. In their book On Being A Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work by Derek J. Prime and Alistair Begg, seasoned Pastors help people who are seeking to be in vocational ministry and those in pastoral ministry understand that the ministry of being a pastor is not simply a job; it’s a vocation.
This book will help readers understand that the pastor’s responsibilities are unique, demanding that he not only that he must nurture his own spiritual life but also those whom the Chief Shepherd has put under in his care. To this end, the authors provide practical advice for both the spiritual and practical aspects of pastoral ministry. They delve deep into topics such as prayer, devotional habits, preaching, studying, and specific ministry duties. This is an essential book for those preparing for ministry and those in pastoral ministry looking for a primer on how to further increase their effectiveness in their ministries.
On Being A Pastor is a needed book especially for those in seminary or those new to ministry. In Bible College and seminary, you learn the basics that will help provide you with a knowledge base that will help young pastors to be able to preach and teach the Word. After seminary though is when the real work begins. Yes, you get hopefully a great orthodox education in the Bible and in theology in seminary but you need to realize this is only the beginning of your education. I’ve been out of seminary almost three years—in fact it will be three years this month. In that time, I’ve learned more than I ever did in seminary about suffering, hardship, and trials. What was known in the head has become enflamed in the heart. My convictions haven’t changed at all from seminary—they’ve deepened and I’ve hopefully become more thoughtful, loving, and gracious as the truth that was in my head has now taken shape in my heart and thus increasingly in my life. Pastors and young ministry leaders need books like On Being Pastor to be taught by seasoned Pastors on what pastoral ministry is all about. This is what this book does so well whether on the call and calling of pastoral ministry, life and character of a pastor, goals and priorities, prayer, devotional life, study, preaching, pastoral care, pastoral care, the conduct of worship, the responsibility to lead, delegation, family and leisure, and perils tempered by privileges.
Chapter nine was most helpful to me. Here the authors explains how to visit people in their homes, hospital visitation, and more. One person described to me seeing the senior pastor at my church go in and out of the hospital throughout the day. My pastor was visiting a member at our church. This person was impressed by our pastors shepherding heart. This was twenty years ago my friend told me and they’ve stayed at the church ever since. Often times it’s not the things we preach that have the most impact it’s seeing that our pastor is really a pastor—he truly takes what he says on Sunday seriously throughout the week. This is why chapter nine is so important it takes the pulpit into the pew and the Word and the gospel to the people. In other words, visitation is where we love the people in our churches by being the hands and feet of Jesus to them to care, love, encourage, and support them. I also appreciated that the first six chapters were about the life, character, and spiritual growth of the pastor. This is an often missed perspective in many pastoral theology books in my opinion.
It’s highly likely you won’t agree with everything in this book and that’s okay. You’ll do some things differently from your current pastor and the pastors who wrote this book. With that said we still need to learn how to care for people through the Word and in pastoral care. This is what this book does so well. I highly recommend this book and believe Bible College and seminary students will benefit immensely from reading it and thoughtfully applying its message to their life and ministries.
Author: Derek J. Prime and Alistair Begg
Publisher: Moody (2004)
I received this book for free from Moody for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”