Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Brief Review: So you think you want to be a pastor

Ah, the life of a pastor. You can set your own schedule. Go hang out in Stabucks all day. Bang out a sermon or two in a couple of hours. And then work only one day a week.

Well, maybe not!

If this is your idea of what it means to be a pastor, you’re way off the mark.

And if this is your idea of pastoring and pastoring is something you are planning to do, then you seriously need to read Jason Helopoulos’ new book, The New Pastor's Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of Ministry (Baker Books).

The book offers more than 40 concise and well-written chapters touching on nearly every aspect of what it means to be a pastor, from discerning a calling to handling administrative tasks to managing discouragement.

While this is an excellent resource for new or about to be pastors, seasoned ministers will find value as well. No matter how experienced one is in their field, it never hurts to revisit the basics.

One of my favorite bits of advice offered comes in chapter 10. Helopoulos warns, “It’s difficult for a pastor to grow if he isn’t reading.” He states bluntly, “A reading pastor makes a better pastor.” He specifically encourages pastors to read above one’s ability, to read commentaries, theology, history, biographies, and fiction. Essentially, to read often and widely.

Amen! Preach it!

Other noteworthy cautions are to avoid being super-spiritual, be careful of moving into new things too fast, and be humble but not hesitant in regards to the Gospel.

Anyone in ministry will find something of value in this little handbook. Even laity who read it should gain a better appreciation of how much their pastor is doing, much of it unseen.

BTW: October is Clergy [aka Pastor] Appreciation Month!


NOTE: To comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: I selected this book to review and received it free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Are you a pastor? Planning to be one? Does this sound like a useful book? Are you a layperson? Do you actively serve in ministry in your church? How do you define ministry? Do you believe all ministry-related activities are the responsibility of only the pastor or other paid church staff? Why or why not? Leave a comment sharing what you think!


  1. I appreciate my pastor's sense of humor. It's evident in personal conversations as well as in sermons and classsrooms.


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