Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by Pastor John Piper is a 286 pages long ‘plea’ to Pastors for radical ministry. As is often the case with Piper’s books, this book has floods of wisdom trapped in it. And in my humble view, this book should be an essential read for pastors.
Its general argument is that the professionalization of the pastoral ministry is ruthlessly enslaving modern pastors. However, a ‘professional’ ministry is not our calling as pastors. Christ bids us to an ‘unprofessional’ pastoral ministry. He has called pastors to be heralds, prophets and his slaves. In other words, As Piper puts it, ‘Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry’. So, If we seek to be more ‘professional’, we will end up being spiritually dead. In short, Piper’s message is, pastors, we are not professionals.
Bonhoeffer has a lot to teach us about preaching. His vision for preaching is starkly different and much radical from ours.
It seems to me that the modern world doesn’t have much respect for preaching. Our world simply doesn’t understand (or doesn’t want to understand) the glory of preaching.
I don’t want to shame us but I think it is true that often we think that preaching is just the thing that we do in the middle of the service in which the pastor of a church ineloquently babbles his way through to tell us new rules from God. We think that It wouldn’t matter much if we spend more time in ‘worship’ (songs) and less time in hearing a sermon.
Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers (Psalm 141:5)
I was reading Psalm 141 for my devotion today. It’s a beautiful song of lament. The writer pours his heart out to God, begging him to hear, protect and guide him. It’s astonishing to me that he not only prays to God for direct intervention but also pleads to the Almighty to use earthly means.
“Don’t attempt to resolve conflict by email or text… Emails are great for scheduling meetings and forwarding information. For resolving conflict, they are worthless. You cannot hear the tone of voice, see body language, and quickly clarify meaning or correct misunderstanding.” (p.89)
Help for the New Pastor is one of those books that you must keep on your bookshelf and don’t lend it to anyone else (Jk, it will make a great ordination gift). Dr Charles Wingard has had decades of experience in pastoral ministry both in small and large congregations. This book is dripping with Bible-saturated wisdom that would be extremely helpful for those who are starting out their ministry.
“I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands on my time are proof to myself–and to all who will notice–that I am important.” (The Unbusy Pastor, p.18)
Eugene Peterson is an excellent writer. He was a solo pastor for a small(ish) congregation for about 2 decades which makes him a seasoned and insightful pastor. This is evident from many of his books that bleed mature wisdom. The Contemplative Pastor is no exception. This short (171 pages) book is filled with profound insights.
The aim of this book is to persuade pastors to return to the art of Spiritual Direction. It follows a simple digestible methodology to achieve this end. The book is chunked into three parts: