You may know Eugene Peterson for The Message, the translation of the Bible. What you may not know is that Peterson is a pastor, not an academic. For decades he has faithfully served a congregation in Maryland teaching, preaching, and shepherding. He has also written books about what it means to be a pastor.
In his newest book, The Pastor: A Memoir, Peterson reflects on his 50 years in pastoral ministry, a vocation, he believes, that is at risk. “North American culture,” he writes, “does not offer congenial conditions in which to live vocationally as a pastor. Men and women who are pastors in America today find that they have entered into a way of life that is in ruins.”
Strong words, and the reasons for his judgment are complicated, but I believe he’s right. This is a very difficult time to be in the pastoral ministry. Demands on pastors’ time and expectations for their performance are at an all-time high. Support, fellowship and encouragement are at an all-time low.
And while some people thrive in pastoral work regardless of the obstacles, many become discouraged and leave the ministry. Others stay and grow stale, burned out, unenthusiastic.
That’s why I’m thrilled that my friend and close colleague T.M. Moore has created “Pastor to Pastor,” a short, daily email that uses the writing of the great Christian thinkers of the past to encourage, motivate and build up our pastors today.
T.M., an ordained minister with over 30 years in pastoral ministry, shifted his focus a few years ago from pastoring churches to pastoring pastors as well as teaching Centurions and many others that come to our website.
“Pastor to Pastor,” T.M. writes, “brings the insights of great servants of God from the past to pastors in our own day, to link our ministries with theirs in the grand tradition of building the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Recently “Pastor to Pastor” has been reflecting on 16th-century reformer John Calvin’s “Sermons on the Ten Commandments,” which I love. “Pastor to Pastor” also serves up good doses of Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas A Kempis, Columbanus, Clement of Rome, Gregory the Great, John Amos Cornelius, Martin Luther and many others. We learn so much from those who have gone before us.
But what makes this resource truly different is that it equips pastors to equip their flocks to become defenders of the faith in the world; to energize congregations to engage in the Kingdom struggle, bringing Christian truth to bear in all of life.
We live in a time when many congregations would rather sit back and be fed or be entertained. Pastors need this resource to help them light a fire under the people of God.
Which is why it is so vital to let your pastor know about “Pastor to Pastor.” It’s not long; it’s not complicated. But like a daily vitamin, taken over a period of time, “Pastor to Pastor” makes a difference.
It’s available free. Sign up at one of our websites, WorldviewChurch.org. In fact, WorldviewChurch.org is loaded with great resources for pastors to help them become the leaders the church needs them to be.
Urge your pastor to visit WorldviewChurch.org today.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media and print.
Publication date: December 8, 2011