What motivated you to write The Pastor’s Ministry?
I wrote The Pastor’s Ministry to address the enslavement many pastors feel to their schedules and the struggle to understand how their time should be used.
This book is designed to cut through the requests and expectations of church members and leaders to show, from God’s Word, what priorities the pastor should focus on daily.
The Pastor’s Ministry also captures the essence of Practical Shepherding and is to be a companion to The Pastor’s Family, a book I wrote with my wife, Cara; many of the smaller books I’ve penned for our ministry are consolidated into this one resource. It represents my pastoral theology in one place.
Who do you think needs to read this book today and why?
All pastors, as well as those who hope to be. Various church leaders would benefit also, as many topics discussed in the book would apply to the ministry of a deacon and other staff roles. It would be beneficial for church members as well, helping them have biblical expectations of their pastor and be better informed about how to pray for him.
You said, “The aim of this book is simple: to reveal the priorities that God sets for every pastor.” Can you explain in more detail?
The priorities the staff, deacons, other leaders or even church members set for the pastor are often not what God desires the pastor to do. We serve God’s people, but we answer to the Chief Shepherd for how well we care for his sheep. So, Shepherds need to spend their time shepherding.
You outline the importance of guarding the Word of Truth by entrusting it to faithful men. How can pastors do this on a daily basis?
A pastor should always be looking for the next generation of future pastors to train and raise up; we need to raise men up to serve alongside us now, but also to replace us later. I’m amazed with the amount of pastors who don’t feel this is a responsibility, but if we don’t, who will?
The Pastor’s Ministry mentions culture a few times throughout the book. How important is it for pastors to understand the culture where they proclaim the Gospel?
The gospel is the power of God to salvation for all people, regardless of culture, but that doesn’t mean we should neglect learning how that gospel will be best understood and received in a given context. We guard the truth and preach God’s word, but do so in such a way that will remove whatever cultural barriers that might hinder the work. I’ve learned, for example, that what communicates love to a widow in America might be offensive to a widow in England. Likewise, visiting the sick in an American hospital is vastly different than in heart of Africa where there are few hospitals. Understanding these differences is critical to sharing the gospel in different contexts.
Brian, your book often references the time and commitment pressures pastors experience; how does The Pastor’s Ministry help readers better understand the calling and priorities of a pastor?
The ten priorities outlined in the book provide a pastor a template to evaluate his daily schedule. Everything in a pastor’s weekly schedule should typically fall in one of these ten priorities. I recognize there are some exceptions, but generally these guidelines help the pastor stay on track and focused on shepherding, while others are equipped to take care of tasks such as mowing the lawn, balancing the check book and turning off the lights.
For those control freak pastors who feel they’re the only ones who should handle these types of tasks, this book will challenge them to examine their hearts and figure out why they feel they must do everything. The hope is they will use this as a tool to help them delegate and involve others in these needed tasks.
Prayer is often neglected, which you practically address in The Pastor’s Ministry. How do you see this play out in your church staff currently?
We have a prayer guide where every member of the church is put on a list that is divided into 28 days. Each day we pray for those three to four families listed. By the end of the month, every member has been prayed for and hopefully checked on through the awareness that comes with the guide. For larger churches and staff, this list can be divided among the staff and elders to work toward the same goal.
On page 71 you wrote, “A pastor’s sanctification should set the pace for other’s pursuits of holiness.” How does the book further explore this idea?
I’m convinced that as pastors we cannot take our people where we personally have not been. We must lead by example (Heb 13:7), and the book digs deeper into how we can do this while living authentically alongside others. .
Suffering and death are difficult experiences, and many look to pastors during those times. How does The Pastor’s Ministry provide guidance for those situations?
I am convinced the two best places to do ministry are the hospital room and the funeral home. And yet, many pastors, especially younger ones, run from these settings. This book spends a good bit of time exploring ministry in those situations, why they are special places for us to be and, most importantly, how to minister in these key times.
The Pastor’s Ministry is very practical. With that in mind, what was the hardest chapter to write and why?
It’s a tie between two chapters, the first being Guard the Truth. It sets the tone for the entire book so I really wanted to get it right. There’s also much that could be developed on that topic, so narrowing it was a challenge. The other difficult chapter was Pray for the Flock, simply because I feel like a failure most of the time in this area. It was like a critic sat on my shoulder the entire time I wrote that chapter and reminded me how much I need to grow in prayer for my people. I stabbed him with my pencil once I finished.
When readers finish The Pastor’s Ministry what do you hope they do in response to what they’ve learned? Is there a specific call to action for your readers?
My hope is that a pastor would feel empowered to do what God has called him to do because the path has become clearer than ever before. I hope the confusion on how to prioritize would be lifted and he would be free to shepherd without guilt, regardless of other voices trying to dictate what he is supposed to be. I also pray a pastor would have a renewed zeal for this work, remembering why he is a pastor and reminded of this important labor we are privileged to do on behalf of the Chief Shepherd until he returns.
If you could tell a prospective reader one thing about The Pastor’s Ministry what would it be?
If you never read another book about the role of the pastor and his task to shepherd, , this book is written in such a way that you’ll have a firm handle on what God’s Word says about this noble calling and how to do it faithfully.
Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:
• REACT. Do something.
• RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
• REPOST. Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.