A few months ago, I decided to pick up a book that was sitting on my desk collecting dust and read it. Little did I know that I would walk away challenged, convicted, encouraged, and excited about life, ministry, and the pastorate. Paul David Tripp's Dangerous Calling zeroes in on the pastor and his calling.
As a counselor, Tripp has seen the same situations appear over and over again: pastors who have given up; pastors who have fallen morally in unrecoverable ways; pastors who have little spiritual vigor; pastors who have walked away from the faith and their families; pastors who possess theological precision yet fail to love God and others. As he makes clear in the beginning of the book, this work evolved from what he believes is an unbiblical, unhealthy Christian culture of both the pastorate and the church's relationship with the pastor. This culture is evident in how we train men (chapter 3), in how we hire men (chapter 4), and how we treat pastors and their families (chapter 5). I must say, I wholeheartedly agree with Tripp's assessment of our current pastoral climate in churches. For example, think about this simple, yet profound question that he asks towards the beginning of chapter 5: "Does it seem right and healthy that in many churches the functional reality is that no one gets less of the ministry of the body of Christ than the pastor does?" (69).
The rest of the book addresses common problems and temptations that are intensified in the pastorate. These include familiarity (chapter 8), secret sins (chapter 9), mediocrity (chapter 10), self-glory (12), workaholism (chapter 13), and self-righteousness (chapter 14). Although every Christian experiences temptation in these areas, the very nature of the pastorate caters to an intense experience of these temptations.
This book is excellent. It serves as a much needed, overdue work in the midst of a flawed Christian culture. The pages not only place the pastor in the cross hairs of necessary challenges, but also the congregation as a whole. Take from a pastor's kid who is now a pastor, married to a pastor's kid who now functions as a pastor's wife, both parenting pastor's kids: it would be very helpful for you to read this book.
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