Every once in a while a book comes across your desk that is invaluable to the ministry. It’s a book that you want to keep within an arm’s reach for ready reference. The Pastor’s Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry is one of those rare gems for ministry execution.
There are, of course, countless volumes that have been written concerning how to execute the role of pastor. Most give the same advice with a somewhat altered vocabulary, but if you view the table of contents, you’ll find a repetition. In a way The Pastor’s Book might succumb to that, but it’s the meat of this book that is so valuable. The subtitle of this volume is spot on. It is Comprehensive and, most importantly, Practical.
I have just begun my pastoral ministry (a little over a year ago and well past the time that I received my AARP card). Before I was called to the position, I read virtually everything that looked helpful. Most of the material was useful, but it was more theory and instruction that practical advice. I wish I had this book before I began, but I’m sure glad it’s readily available now.
Longtime pastor R. Kent Hughes is the author with Douglas Sean O’Donnell as the contributing editor. Together they have compiled the most informative volume for the pastorate that I have seen. One endorsement stated “The Pastor’s Book should be on the shelf of every young preacher …” Well, that’s certainly true, however, we should amend the word “young” to “new” and should also add that it should be on every pastor’s shelf.
Hughes breaks down the pastoral ministry into three parts: Christian Gatherings, Parts of the Worship Service and Ministerial Duties. The areas covered are typical, however, the practical worth is atypical. For every area addressed there is a wealth of samples, examples and practical application – something a new pastor (and likely an experienced one) will find invaluable. Hughes does not intend that his way is the best way but rather presents thoughts and ideas that may be applicable for your own congregation.
This is probably not a book you will sit down and read from cover to cover – it’s 592 pages including index – but it should be the first book you reach for when information and advice is required.
Crossway has done an exquisite job in packaging this volume. It is hardback with a linen-like cover and even includes a ribbon marker for immediate reference. The binding is solid and should endure a long ministry haul.
Pastors and pastors-to-be, this book should be required reading. It should be a textbook on the ministry of the pastorate.
Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Crossway for a fair and honest review.