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The Imperfect Pastor

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Imperfect Pastor.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Zack Eswine(Author)

    Book details

Dear Pastor,

Desire burns within you. You've trained and dreamt of doing large things in famous ways as fast as you can for God's glory. But pastoral work keeps requiring your surrender to small, mostly overlooked things over long periods of time.

You stand at a crossroads. Jesus stands with you. You were never meant to know everything, fix everything, and be everywhere at once. That's his job, not yours.

So what now? Let the apprenticeship begin.

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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • Zack Eswine(Author)
  • Crossway; First edition (21 Aug. 2015)
  • English
  • 9
  • Religion & Spirituality

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Review Text

  • By Stephen Steele on 28 January 2016

    This is an extraordinary book. It had some promising endorsements so I was expecting it to be helpful if undoubtedly filled with some gospel-centred buzzwords and a few quotes from Lewis, Edwards etc. Instead it’s a brutally honest take on ministry from someone who was predicted to be ‘the next big thing’ before his pastor-mentor killed himself, his wife left him to bring up 3 young kids and all his ministry dreams started to fade. As a result he was brought face to face with what really matters in ministry. Many assume that it’s about ‘doing large things in famous ways as fast and efficiently as you can’, but is it actually the case that ‘almost anything in life that truly matters will require you to do small, mostly overlooked things, over a long period of time’?It’s all too easy to end up like James and John, subtly yearning that our ministry for Jesus would provide us with a platform for greatness – whether a call to a more influential church, a writing ministry, a reputation as a scholar or whatever. I know of no other book that even asks the questions that Eswine is asking. What does it look like to ‘remain put while other colleagues seem to advance and move up to more exciting and seemingly influential ministry callings’? ‘What if an elder’s game speed requires us to slow down?’ How did we end up in a place where ‘the brokenness of people actually feels like an intrusion keeping us from getting our important work for God done’? ‘Do I possess a stamina for going unnoticed? Can I handle being overlooked? Do I have a spirituality that equips me to do an unknown thing for God’s glory?’ What if ‘the thought of living and ministering in one or two unknown and ordinary places for fifty years and then going home to be with the Lord feels like death’?There is much encouragement here for those struggling to keep going in seemingly insignificant callings while colleagues move on to bigger and (apparently) better things. ‘You needn’t repent of doing only a long, small work in an extraordinary but unknown place. Standing long in one place for a while allows the roots to deepen. It allows pastors to become pastors.’ God has planted you where he has for a reason – you don’t have to move to another part of his vineyard to find significance. ‘Obscurity and greatness are not opposites’.Some might argue that Eswine’s approach is defeatist and an overreaction to his own sad experience. Certainly some could twist what he’s saying into being content with mediocrity. And yet he warns about those who keep going but have inwardly ‘long given up on anything extraordinary being given by God or accomplished through us’. He’s not saying that we shouldn’t seek to achieve great things for God – just that we might need to redefine what greatness means. ‘When did it happen that a life purposing to help ordinary people in their ordinary struggles locate God became too small a thing?’I can think of no better book to place in the hands of final year theological students as the aspirations that made them put themselves forward for ministry in the first place are perhaps already in danger of turning to cynicism. When the chance to become ‘a medium-sized fish in a small pond’ beckons. When everyone is convinced of the great things you are going to achieve. And when the temptation will soon come to start looking over the shoulders of the handful of people God has given you whom you are meant to love.But it’s not just for those starting off. Whether you’re already the next big thing, whether you’ve given up on your ministry dreams long ago, or whether you’re just getting on with what God has called you to get on with in relative obscurity, this is a book to read (preferably in paper so you can write all over it) and take to heart. And then to get back to work. Because, as Eswine says ‘I have prayers to say for persons you’ve never heard of’.

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