Seminary is a time where future pastors and ministry leaders get poured into for the purpose that they can pour out their lives into the people of God. Seminary I’ve learned can also be a spiritual dangerous time where you read the Bible so academically that you never read it devotionally. In seminary, you learn all sorts of stuff about theology and ministry. What is left out in seminary training is how to handle difficult people, along with how to minister in hospitals and more. To address this my friend Jason Helopoulous, a seasoned Pastor wrote The New Pastor’s Handbook Help And Encouragement For The First Years of Ministry.
The New Pastor’s Handbook has five parts. In part one, Jason looks at the beginning of one’s ministry in the local church—how to know if you’re called to vocational ministry and candidating for a ministry position. In part two, the author looks at a variety of ministries in the local church: senior pastor, solo pastor, youth pastor, and church planter. Part three provides a litany of encouragements such as biblical languages, preaching, church history, listening, hospital visitations, among a lot of other topics. Part four considers how to handle the difficulty of ministry such as dealing with difficult people, taking things to seriously, and more. The final part of Jason’s book looks at the joy of ministry and how it is an eternal work, a trusted position, and concludes with a call to persevere in the work of ministry.
The New Pastor’s Handbook is a book I’m deeply grateful for. The part of the book that helped me the most is the section on the pitfalls of ministry. Being in ministry is hard work. It’s hard to deal with difficult people. It’s so easy to overthink situations, especially when dealing with difficult people. It’s hard to not let difficult people/circumstances affect you, move on from them, and continue to minister to people when they hurt or frustrate you. This is why Charles Spurgeon’s advice in his book Lecture to Students is so good—we must first be Christians before we are pastors. We must be growing in the grace of God in order to minister effectively. Jason does a great job of explaining these points in his book. As Robert Murray M’Cheyne said a holy minister is a mighty weapon in the hands of God.
The New Pastor’s Handbook is a book every Bible College and seminary student called to pastoral ministry should read, digest, and implement into their lives. This book will help young men to learn from an older and seasoned minister in the trenches serving the Lord. The wisdom that Jason shares is priceless and should be taken to heart by every man entering ministry. This book will also help those in ministry to be reminded of the holy and awesome responsibility that is ministering to the people of God.
I highly recommend The New Pastor’s Handbook and believe it will help young and seasoned ministers to minister the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God. In reading this fantastic book, I was helped, convicted, comforted, instructed, and equipped to better serve the Lord where He has me and for what He is preparing me to do for the rest of my life. Pick up this book and be encouraged, challenged, convicted, and equipped to serve the Lord in the capacity that He has called you to all for His glory.
I received this book for free from Baker Books 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.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.