Book Review: On Pastoring

On Pastoring:  A Short Guide To Living, Leading, And Ministering As A Pastor, by H.B. Charles Jr.

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Although the experiences of this gentleman is far different from the experience of most pastors I happen to know personally, I often find it interesting to read about the subject and in this case the author provided a great deal of insight and advice to the reader about the subject of pastoring [1].  This experience began for the author at the age of seventeen (!) when he succeeded his late father as the pastor of a Baptist church in Los Angeles to the present-day.  Rather than providing a detailed discussion of the “call” to ministry that is commonly spoken of, this author writes instead an intensely practical and also challenging set of advice in short chapters for those who are already serving in the ministry about issues that ministers would ask for help if they could trust someone to give them good advice.  The fact that the book also encourages those who are not ministers (like this reader) to be appreciative of pastors in the face of widespread cynicism about ministers in contemporary society is also something that will likely be appreciated by this book’s target audience.

In a bit less than 200 pages this book manages to cover thirty chapters worth of information in three parts.  The author begins, appropriately enough, in looking at the pastor’s heart.  Included in this part are the fact that we should focus on our service to God, that a real pastor is godly, that pastors have no business seeking worldly prominence, and that we should be faithful where God has us and not be filled with dissatisfaction about our present location.  The second part of the book focuses on the pastor’s leadership, where the author discusses how to raise up young (and possibly immature) ministers, being patient when dealing with cultural/organizational change, handling conflicts and planning one’s preaching and even some tips in the sort of books that should be in a pastor’s library.  The third part of the book looks at the public ministry of the pastor, looking at the sufficiency of God’s word over life experience, the importance of being a worship leader, expository preaching, making meetings worthwhile, and even ways that a congregation can encourage their pastors, closing with some brief but poignant lessons learned by the author over the course of his life.

This book encouraged me to read more from the author, and that is among the highest praise that I can give for a book.  The advice was intensely practical and the author managed to toe a difficult line between being open about his own foibles and weaknesses while also demonstrating himself to be a man of godly character, not least because he managed to seek and find such worthwhile counsel from his wife and other pastors with whom he had a relationship of respect.  Despite the fact that the author and I have some very different beliefs about God’s word, this book wisely focused on those areas where particular biblical worldviews made less of a difference than a shared commitment to live according to the Bible and to serve God and one’s brethren as best as one is able without letting one’s service be sabotaged by ungodly lives or a blind and arrogant search for celebrity status.  The author is certainly a tough-minded one, but he is also genuinely interested in the spiritual and moral well-being of his reading audience, and that sort of goodwill counts for a lot in a book like this one.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: On Pastoring

  1. Pingback: 2 Clement, Hebrews, And The Metadata Problem Of Homilies | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: A Mentor’s Wisdom | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Words To Winners Of Souls | Edge Induced Cohesion

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