Book Review – The Art of Pastoring by David Hansen

Ministry Without All The Answers

I enjoy reading books that go against the natural grain of my personality. They challenge me and give me a fresh perspective. For me, this was one of those books. My personality is very analytical, process driven, and task-oriented. Most books on pastoral ministry fit well with what my personality naturally gravitates to as they deal with the process and programs to grow a church or the principles of leadership to lead a congregation. This book, however, deals with the heart of pastoral ministry.

The focus of the book is not what a pastor does so much as what a pastor is. It is relational. It is practical, although it doesn’t give you ten steps or an outline. It is about being, not about doing. This is a side of pastoral ministry, I would dare say, we all need to pay more attention to; for our sake and for the sake of our family and the precious people we pastor.

I will leave you with a few quotes that I thought especially notable and a recommendation to read the book if you desire to have the heart of a pastor. [Buy the book on Amazon.]

The pastoral ministry is a life, not a technology.

My life as a pastor is far more than the sum of the tasks that I carry out. It is a call from God that involves my whole life.

Task-driven ministry elevates the method above the Spirit. It subjugates our life with Christ to management technologies. Our day is divided into hours and tasks rather than opportunities to do God’s will. The problem is that when I fine-tune my week I am out of harmony with the kingdom of God.

The pastoral ministry cannot be employer-driven, trend-driven, or task-driven. Pastoral ministry must be following Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ called me to this work, and following Him must be integral to realizing His calling.

Jesus understood from the beginning that His was a life of sacrifice. His life flowed toward the cross at all times. He never climbed ladders of success. The devil showed Him plenty. The people begged Him to climb. But Jesus rejected ladders and consistently chose the downward road to sacrifice.

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Going Deep: Book Review

“The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” – Richard Foster

Teaching and training are, and always had been, important keys to revival. However, these important aspects are often overlooked or given a back seat to the charismatic sermon or new program. Why? Because teaching and training are difficult and time-consuming. It takes hours of hard work and dedication; not to mention patience.

“Disciples [deep people] are not manufactured wholesale. They are produced on by one, because someone has taken the pains to discipline, to instruct, and enlighten, to nurture and train one that is younger.” – Oswald Chambers

When we look at the ministry of Jesus Christ on this earth, we see that Jesus method was teaching and training. For many months, the Lords’s disciples watched Him, listened to Him, and tried to emulate Him. It took time and effort and a handful of failures, but eventually the Word, the Gospel, the message of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit finally reached the core of their souls, and were changed to change the world.

In Going Deep, Gordon MacDonald explores how the Church might go about developing deep people today. This book is a follow-up to his story of a New England congregation struggling with unity, Who Stole My Church. In this sequel, the author picks the story back up, focusing this time on cultivation: how to develop new generations of deepening people who will rise to positions of influence in and beyond their congregation and do it in ways that fit the changing realities of our time.

In his celebrated style, Gordon transports the reader to a fictional setting, telling a story that is full of lessons in leadership. He identifies modern challenges to developing people of depth and offers timeless insight on how to cultivate spiritual maturity and exhibit life-altering faith.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in fulfilling 2 Timothy 2:2. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.combook review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”