MY FOUR FAVORITE AND MOST RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON PASTORAL MINISTRY

I’ve been asked by other preachers through the years for any recommendations I might have of books that would help a man be a better preacher and pastor. I find it commendable any time a preacher indicates this kind of desire to improve himself as a minister.

Of course the Bible is the ultimate resource and authority on all thing pertaining to the ministry (as is the case relative to anything else). But, there are other books, aligned with biblical truth, that can be used in a supplementary way, to the great profit of a minister and those to whom he ministers. I am going to mention four of these that have been, for as long as I can remember, at the top of my list of recommendations.

#1

The Minister as Shepherd

By Charles Jefferson

The Minister as Shepherd by Charles Jefferson (1860-1931) is a small book of only around 160 pages that exemplifies the truth that big things often come in small packages. I read it for the first time over forty years ago, shortly after I was called into the ministry. I believe it established some things in my heart and mind about ministry that have stayed with and helped me ever since. I’ve read parts or the whole of it again and again during these many decades, and it continues to stir me up to the great work that God called me to do as a pastor.

On page 136 of one edition of The Minister as Shepherd, Jefferson refers to an inscription that he saw on a solitary grave at the foot of the Apennines Mountains that said, “He was a good man, and a good guide.” These are my sentiments concerning this author. I’ve always been grateful for the sheer providence of God that brought this book to my attention so early-on in my ministry.

#2

The Reformed Pastor

By Richard Baxter

My original copy of The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter (1615-1691) in probably the most highlighted, underscored and filled-with-marginal-notations book in my entire personal library of over 5,000 volumes. This book is literally falling apart now, and is held together by a rubber band. Needless to say, I cherish it. Why? Because it has done me so much good for so long. I can't recommend it too highly to others.

Charles W. Eliot (1834-1936) once said, ““Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Certainly these are my sentiments regarding The Reformed Pastor. No book made a greater impact on me at the commencement of my ministry than this book. It did much to shape my mindset towards, and fundamentally established the course I would follow relative to, the pastoral office. This book has been and remains, a mighty good and valued “friend” to me, and is probably overall, the best book of its kind that I’ve ever read on the ministry.

#3

The Christian Ministry

By Charles Bridges