Loving God & loving others

…..lies at the heart of gospel service and meaningful pastoral ministry. The Art of Pastoring has just been revised & released by David Hansen and IVP Books. Heres my reflection on this 5 star church leadership resource.

We are too often taken hostage by new ideas, unrealistic pressures and false measures in church based life. The main thesis of David Hansen’s writing is the pastor must minister “as a parable of Jesus Christ to the people we meet”. Nothing cheap or easy is offer here. Nor should it be.

The winding narrative of this book reads more like a journal not intended for public consumption, full of observations, insights and provocations that beg to be answered. One of the conclusions drawn from this writing is that this is not offered from an expert’s polished perspective, but from a man experienced in the crucible of pastoral ministry and acquainted with the doubts and failures that accompany his service. It is compelling in its honesty: a folksy and unpretentious book:- the real hardships, joys, challenges and practicalities of the pastoral ministry.

The clear prophetic faithfulness is seasoned throughout the book. Hansen asserts that the two essential components of shepherding are “a love for people and a love for God.” Hansen’s vision of pastoral ministry is rooted deeply in following Jesus.

The fishing metaphor may grate a little on you, if you are un-inclined as I am! Yetwithal in re-reading this I was re-energised by the mysterious, beautiful, challenging invitation of pastoral leadership. I found myself tearful at times repenting of my lack of trust, resolving to strive less, and to seek the Spirit of God more.

There are no quick fixes or silver bullets here but a strategy of the preached word of God and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Warm-hearted, relaxed, relational stuff from a wiser-older colleague in the trenches who offers his narrative and insight to fuel our faithfulness. This is a must read for every person engaged in or considering pastoral ministry : an essential help towards healthy church.