the shape of leadership

Reading Recommendations for Pastors

Three books to help you grow as a leader

Influence Magazine on December 10, 2019

A Pastoral Rule for Today

John P. Burgess, Jerry Andrews and Joseph D. Small (IVP Academic)
“[N]othing today is more important for strengthening pastoral leadership than grounding it again in what Christians have regarded as the central spiritual practices of the faith,” write the authors of A Pastoral Rule for Today, an insightful little book. To help pastors develop a personal “rule” that “delineates basic rhythms and practices that define the life of a pastor,” they examine how leading pastors from the Christian past — such as Augustine, Wesley and Bonhoeffer — thought about key topics germane to ministry. They conclude with a suggested pastoral rule organized around “personal disciplines, conduct in ministry, and structures of mutual accountability.” 

Pastor Paul

Scot McKnight (Brazos Press)
What do pastors do? Many things — perhaps too many. But what do pastors do them for? Because of busyness, pastors can lose sight of the end for which their activities are but means. Pastor Paul is a thought-provoking study that mines the life and thought of the apostle to identify pastors’ fundamental purpose: “to nurture a culture of Christoformity” (see Romans 8:29; Galatians 4:19). Chapter 1 sketches “elements of a Christoform culture.” Chapters 2–8 describe what such a culture looks like in terms of relationships, economic stewardship, Scripture interpretation, evangelistic witness, subversion of worldliness, and practical wisdom.

Shepherding God’s People

Siang-Yang Tan (Baker Academic)
Shepherding God’s People
examines the “biblical and theological foundations for pastoral ministry” and “areas of pastoral ministry” (Part 2) such as preaching, worship and counseling. It emphasizes “faithfulness and fruitfulness in Christ (John 15:5), through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 5:18, 6:10-18), made perfect in weakness, brokenness and humility (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) rather than in success or excellence of the wrong kind.” Designed as an introductory survey for seminarians, this book doubles as a refresher course for seasoned ministers. Each chapter concludes with a list of recommending readings, should a specific topic interest you.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 edition of Influence magazine.

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