From one pastor to another...
No one is ever fully prepared for the ministry. For pastors just starting out, those needing a little rebalancing, or those growing tired in the trenches, a short guide to the basics is a welcome relief.
In On Pastoring, H. B. Charles gives 30 instructive reflections on the pastor's heart, leadership, and public ministry, covering topics like:
Being a pastor means wearing many hats, weathering lots of pressure, and bearing great responsibility. Let H. B. Charles be a trusted advisor as you do the serious work of shepherding a flock of God.
As I type this review, I’m just five years away from retirement…and I’m only 42 years old. As expected, I have been in much prayer about what will follow. A sense of deep longing/desire (some might call it a “calling”) has been churning within me for several years to enter pastoral ministry. Along with speaking with other godly men about this, I decided to read some books pertaining to ministry, how to discern if this is a call or simply a fanciful dream, etc…which is I why I selected “On Pastoring” for review. And I’m thankful I picked this up!
The book wasn’t overly theological or scholastic, as it wasn’t much of an exposition of scripture about the role and responsibilities of pastors. However, it was saturated in experience and practicality. In just 30 brief chapters spanning 189 short pages, H.B. Charles Jr., pastor-teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, opens up about many of the ins-and-outs, ups-and-downs, good-and-bad about pastoring…from personal preparation to sermon preparation, from ministering during meetings to godly leadership. Obviously, many suggestions he made might not suit some, while other insights may very well bless the reader.
While it appeared the intent of the book was to challenge and encourage pastors (by use of such phrases as, “we must…”), I found the book to be helpful as a way of gaining insight to help determine if this was a pursuit for which I am/would be prepared and suitable. I found myself asking, “Would I be able to do this-or-that?” and “Could I be committed to such-and-such?”
I certainly was challenged and encouraged by insights. As a result, I long even more-so to continue this pursuit…in spite of its various challenges. I guess time will only tell what the Lord has in store.
On Pastoring is a book by a pastor, for pastors. Written in a conversational style, and illustrated throughout with personal anecdotes, H.B. Charles has produced a book that gives an honest assessment of the work of pastoral ministry and provides Biblical exhortation and practical lessons that he has learned along the way. The book covers a wide variety of topics; the pastor's spiritual life, his preaching ministry, and leading the church.
The short chapters are full of wit and wisdom, grouped together in three sections: The pastor's heart, the pastor's leadership, and the pastor's public ministry. However, it is not necessary that your read the book straight through, each chapter can stand alone. Where some books on the ministry are not very applicable to pastors of small churches, this book's focus was upon faithfulness to God. I found it very encouraging to press on in the work of the Lord and think seasoned pastors and those who desire to get into the work would learn and be encouraged by the book.
There are books that are written about how we wish things could be in the church. There are books written about how things should be in the church. This book is written from the perspective of how things usually are in a church, which makes it both challenging, and encouraging.