The New Pastor’s Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of Ministry (15/4)

Are you a young budding pastor? Or going to be one soon? Then perhaps you should strongly consider getting this book in preparation for your ministry. Jason Helopoulos writes as an older pastor giving sound advices to young and budding pastors. Helopoulos writes in short and succinct chapters each with a clear focus that can allow readers to read them along side the daily devotion.

The New Pastor's Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of MinistryIn the first section Helopoulos deals with an important area that all pastors have to undergo, their calling. He explains what a calling is, and is not, and how one should discern his calling. He also deals with the practical issue of how to choose a candidate pastor as a church elder. From that Helopoulos moves to explain the different roles a pastor play. He pulls out the important points of what is required from a youth pastor, or what is necessary for an assistant pastor. I found this helpful as most books on pastoral usually focuses on being the solo or senior pastor’s role.

Next, Helopoulos gets down to the daily ministry of pastors. He gives helpful and practical advices to pastors, giving them reminders and encouragement along the way. This section will be helpful for any pastors. At times pastors will need some aligning from their work and this will be a good reminder for them.

Thereafter Helopoulos talks about the pitfalls young pastors usually fall for. This is also another section that isn’t covered much by other books. This section will raise many points that young pastors should take special note. This will help them start well in their ministry.

Laslty, Helopoulos talks about the joy serving the Lord as pastors. He ends of the book with a great encouragement to pastors. Although pastoral can be tough, draining and demanding, Helopoulos reminds readers that they are the ones who has been given the privilege to serve God in a full-time capacity and supported financially for it!

All in all, this is an excellent book for those who are starting out in their pastoral ministry. Older pastors will not doubt find section 2 very helpful for your work too, but this book really seeks to serve the young budding pastors.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Am I Called? (28/9)

What would be the first thing you would do if you feel that you have calling to serve God at full-time  capacity? What are some guidelines you would use in making this decision? And how should you evaluate yourself? Should anyone who have this ‘call’ go ahead and serve God?

Am I Called?Am I Called?’ by Dave Harvey answers many of these questions and more. The book is divided into 3 parts. First, defining/hearing the call, second, diagnosing the call and third, what to do from the call till the time you actually go in and serve.

First Harvey brings out the importance of everyone who thinks that they’re called to the ministry to be called by God first, that is, that they are firstly christian! This might seem to be a topic that’s unnecessary or superfluous for a book that’s about pastoral calling. But Harvey is right to address the call that Christ’s servant must first have: Christ himself in them! It is quite dangerous to assume that just because you have such a calling that you’re without doubt a christian. But Harvey is right to show that God only calls to ministry, those whom He has fore-known and, fore-called to be His sons.

Next, Harvey moves on to discuss about the different qualification a man must have he if he is called to the ministry. Harvey does not derive these qualifications from experience of from his own wisdom, rather he points the readers to various passages that talks about such qualifications and shows what it means for the individual. I felt the section on the agreement of the community with regards to the call was one that was addressed excellently. Harvey is able to show clearly that although the call is individualised, yet it is never individualistic. God calls us, and we are affirmed about this calling in us, though the community. If no one agrees about your call, it’s probably not a calling from God.

In the last section, Harvey then talks about what a person can do, if he’s truly called but still have some time in between his calling and his service. He gives tips and also general directions on what the person could do during this time to prepare himself for the ministry. I felt that this chapter could have been elaborated and lengthened a little bit more. Some of them were really short advises that should have been addressed at a greater length.

Harvey has also very helpfully, placed stories of different individuals called by God as a start-point for his chapters, though the link is that clear, overall, I thought it was a good start to introduce these preachers to would-be preachers. If it creates a desire to want to dig up more information about into their lives, it would certainty be beneficial to them.

If pastors wants to study this book along with some of their leaders, it would be necessary for him to generate some discussion questions to fully utilise the book. But overall the book is short, clear and extremely helpful for anyone who’s clueless about what to do when he feels ‘called’ by God.a

Rating: 4.25 / 5

If you’re interested you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.