Recently, I felt that as a pastor I needed a refresher on what pastoral ministry is all about. I found Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry by John MacArthur, Jr. and the Master’s Seminary Faculty to be a challenging and encouraging read on God’s call to ministry.
Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry reads much like a manual on pastoral ministry and would certainly be appropriate for a college or seminary class on the subject. This 439-page book is split into four main parts. First, biblical perspectives are considered. Second, issues concerning preparation for ministry are discussed. The third section is devoted to personal issues with which the pastor will grapple. The fourth section discusses various pastoral perspectives.
The end of the book includes suggested reading for the pastor as well as three appendices to help the candidate for ordination. There are also three helpful indices of authors, scriptures, and subjects discussed throughout the book.
I appreciated Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry, firstly, for its conservative stance on pastoral ministry. It is obvious that this book was written not to capitalize on trendy issues within the church world, but to present a manual on ministry that would be current for many years. I also liked the wide variety of topics and in-depth consideration of various issues.
The conservative holiness reader should be aware of various theological differences he or she will probably find with these writers. First, the Calvinistic doctrine of these writers is evident, although usually not blatant. Secondly, it is suggested that only males are called by God to pastoral ministry. Thirdly, these writers suggest that a man is not fit for the ministry unless all of his children are born-again Christians.
While John MacArthur, Jr., is the editor of this book and his influence upon the faculty of The Master’s Seminary is understood, I found several promotions in the first few chapters by various writers of MacArthur’s books, etc. to be a little nauseating. Furthermore, several chapters delved into such deep Biblical word study that the point and practical application were lost upon me.
Regardless, the strong loyalty expressed by these writers to the authority of God’s Word and the primacy of preaching in pastoral ministry were refreshing to me. Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry would serve as an excellent manual for the ministerial student, an positive encouragement for the seasoned pastor, and a great introduction to the pastor’s passion and purpose for the layperson.