This summer my reading list included “On Being a Pastor” by Derek Prime and Alistair Begg. Last year I read “Mentoring Leaders” by Carson Pue which I’ve blogged some extracts from. I found Prime and Begg to be a useful antidote to Pue’s exclusive focus on visionary leadership.
Both books start in the same place by focusing on the character of the pastor. Mentoring leaders then focuses entirely on the role of the leader as visionary and strategic implementer of that vision. Prime and Begg have a chapter on leadership and vision but only after considering the other roles of the pastor including establishing the priorities of the pastor in ministry, prayer, devotion, study, preaching, pastoral care and worship.
I’ve spent most of these year feeling uncomfortable in my own skin but “On being a pastor” has assured me that what I am doing as a pastor is along the right lines, though I know I don’t always execute things well. I am driven at times by an ungodly desire to be seen as successful and this extract has been a great help:
We are naturally concerned to be successful shepherds and teachers; but our overriding concern must be to live a godly life rather than to achieve what others may consider success. As we make personal holiness our aim—God’s stated priority for our personal life we may leave it to God to add to us whatever else we need (Matthew 6:33; 1 Peter 1:15-16). Paul’s example helps here. While throughout his letters he exhibits a concern for spiritual success in terms of fulfilling his ministry (Romans 15:20; 1 Corinthians 9:22, 27), in sharing his ambitions he emphasized that above everything else he wanted to know Christ better, and to take hold of that for which the Lord Jesus took hold of him. He was constantly aware that he had not yet arrived and that he had much to learn and more of Christ to enjoy (Philippians 3:10-14). To share honesty such ambitions and convictions is spiritual maturity (Philippians 3:15).