(but is too embarrassed to ask) – Christopher Ash

Publisher: The Good Book Company, Pages: 128

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” – Hebrews 13 v 17

How do you serve your pastor? To so many of us this question looks the wrong way around. The goal of Christopher Ash in this book is for it to not only make sense but to be an obvious question that we frequently ask ourselves. Our Pastor is often someone we pray for (or at least he certainly should be). We pray for his sermon preparation, his health, maybe his wife and family but is that where our service ends. How should we view our ministers and in what ways can we serve them? If you have never considered these questions or are searching for answers then this ook is for you.

The first part of the book has examples of ten different pastors, all on the same Sunday morning. All with different lives, circumstances and congregations. Some feeling uplifted from their Sabbath the day before and others stressed, discouraged, questioning or struggling. The intent is to make us consider not just WHAT a pastor does but WHO he is? Do we really know our Pastor? Because if not, how can we pray and support him in a specific and heartfelt manner?
The first few chapters continue on this theme of acknowledging your Pastor’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs as a reminder that they are human beings with feelings, temptations and limitations. As well as why we should get to know them and care for them.

The main bulk of the book then consists of Seven Virtues of church members that impact our pastors. Each explaining in an understandable, simple way; what the virtue is, why we should adopt it and how we can do so. These consist of:

  • Daily repentance
  • Committed belonging
  • Open honesty
  • Thoughtful watchfulness
  • Loving kindness
  • High expectations
  • Zealous submission

The final chapter before the conclusion is entitled “Somebody needs to know your pastor!” This is specifically targeted at elders and senior lay-leaders, explaining that pastors need pastoral support too and there should be one or more members of the church that know him well and that he can turn to for support. I also feel as though this chapter could be applied to a pastor’s wife (which is vaguely touched on) as that too can be a role where all of the stress and energy of service exists without the same level of “being served” that other members experience. The conclusion simply calls us to examine our own congregation and our own hearts to see where we lack in these virtues and how we can improve.

Overall I think this is an excellent book for any member, elder or even pastor to read. I myself (and my whole congregation) was given a copy from a visiting pastor and I myself am very thankful. It is a topic that is almost always overlooked but can be so critical concerning the health of a congregation both in the attitudes of its members and the wellbeing of its shepherd.

If you care about your pastor and how to serve him as he endeavours to serve you, grab this easy to read short book with powerful contents that maybe your pastor wishes you read (but is too embarrassed to ask.)

“The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read” is available from the Covenanter Bookshop for just £4.99. and is available from 10ofthose.com, for our friends across the water.

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