Pastor’s often walk into their calling with the wrong idea of who they are to be and what they are to do. Zach Eswine in his aptly titled book The Imperfect Pastor provides a much needed corrective for the pastor and the prevalent misunderstandings surrounding the role of the pastor.
The first section of this book addresses the nature of the pastor call its roots in desiring to serve, our need to embrace our humanity in ministry, the necessity of addressing prior influences on our views that might be damaging to our ministry, and the unknown nature of our calling. The second section addresses temptations we face in ministry that run counter to our call, really the ways try to be Jesus in all the wrong ways.
The third section addresses what we need to do to change internally as opposed to just externally. Flowing out of the internal change is a change is how we minister. It might seem so obvious but pastoring is rooted in caring for people. What are often viewed as intrusions upon our ministry are actually the heart and soul of it. A pastor who doesn’t minister to the sick, the dying, those grieved by death, those afflicted by sin is no pastor at all. He reminds pastor’s that they need to get to know really know the local church that God has placed them in as there were more likely than not pastors before you and influences in the church culture and theology that need to be understood by the pastor. Eswine calls us to rethink how we exercise and view leadership in the local church. Because ministry as Eswine states is “an apprenticeship in Jesus” we can be romantic realists in the local churches God has placed us in.
Eswine’s book has proved to be convicting for myself and has helped me adjust how I view my role as a pastor. If you’re a pastor get this book now. If you’re a church member buy it for your pastor. If you’re preparing for ministry read it. I hope that this book finds its place on many required reading lists in colleges, seminaries, and pastoral internship programs. A free review copy of this was provided through Netgalley.