I really like Jonathan Dodson’s book The Unwavering Pastor.
I like it because Dodson is honest. When I first read one of Dodson's books, it felt like he understood my experience as a pastor better than I did. Dodson knows a pastor’s heart, a pastor’s anguish, and a pastor’s temptations. He shares his joys and struggles, and it makes me feel less alone. It may do the same for you.
I like this book because it’s biblical. Dodson doesn’t just write from his experience; he brings the wisdom of Scripture to bear on a pastor’s experience. He’s a pastor who’s struggled with God’s word open in front of him. Because of that he provides good counsel for pastors who want to struggle well too.
I also like this book because it grounds the pastor in the gospel. “Jesus bends down to minister to us,” he writes. “When we are low, he goes lower to lift us up. Jesus sympathizes with your struggle. Will you receive his strength and believe in his heart for you? Collapse into his arms if you have to and receive the ministry of Jesus!” What pastor doesn’t need that?
If you’re a pastor, please read this book. If you sit under a pastor, please consider buying your pastor this book. It’s just that good.
I had the pleasure of engaging in a delightful conversation with Jonathan Dodson on The Gospel for Life podcast, where we discussed this book and much more.
You can listen to the podcast episode below, or find The Gospel for Life podcast on your favorite podcast app.
- Pastors experience betrayal and deep wounds in ministry that can linger and cause profound pain.
- The book of 2 Timothy is rich for pastors in understanding the nature of suffering in ministry.
- The gospel allows pastors to be honest about their weaknesses and struggles, following the example of Paul.
- Spending time with wiser and more experienced pastors can provide valuable insights and correction for personal growth and leadership.
- Pastors should prioritize caring for and spending time with those who have been sinned against or are suffering.
- Suffering is a part of ministry, but it is worth it in Christ. Clinging to Jesus and seeking wisdom from seasoned pastors can help navigate challenges.
"When we stand up and proclaim God’s word as true and authoritative, We are challenging idols, and behind every idol, there is a power, a satanic power, that Christ has yet shamed through the victory of the cross."
“There are deep betrayal wounds that happen in ministry that just linger in their sting. Those relational wounds are of a frequency and depth in vocational ministry that aren't quite present in a lot of other jobs.”
“The suffering makes us better pastors for several reasons. Primarily, it puts us in touch with a suffering Savior. We uncover his compassion for sufferers that we can't manufacture without experiencing it ourselves.”
“Don't despair. Cling to Jesus. And remember, he is a suffering Savior with scars on his hands.”
- Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson
- The Unwavering Pastor: Leading the Church with Grace in Divisive Times
- The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations Through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus
Download a PDF transcript of this episode.