Book Recommendation: The Pastor

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Rejoicing in Another's Light (2)

Eugene Peterson was a surprise and breath of fresh air during my journey here in South Carolina. All I knew about this man before 2016 was that he wrote “The Message Bible.” Millions of people around the world have been able to glean from his relationship with the Lord. As many of you who have followed my journey on the podcast, the Lord has been preparing me to shepherd. However, through a systemic paradigm of ministry, the call of a shepherd has been severely dumbed down.

Here is a man that longed for God, was steady for decades, and cast off the idea of popular church culture. In many ways, it was if my Apostle, Damon Thompson, and Eugene Peterson were cut from the same cloth. I have been waiting for the right time, and there is no better time than now to introduce you to a man that has been a tremendous help for me in the process. Eugene Peterson recently went on to his heavenly reward, but thank God he left pieces of himself here for us to read.

If you are a pastor, church leader, or aspiring to one day shepherd the flock of God, this would be a good place to start.

The Pastor: A Memoir 

“In The Pastor, Eugene H. Peterson, the translator of the multimillion-selling The Message and the author of more than thirty books, offers his life story as one answer to the surprisingly neglected question: What does it mean to be a pastor?

When Peterson was asked by his denomination to begin a new church in Bel Air, Maryland, he surprised himself by saying yes. And so was born Christ Our King Presbyterian Church. But Peterson quickly learned that he was not exactly sure what a pastor should do. He had met many ministers in his life, from his Pentecostal upbringing in Montana to his seminary days in New York, and he admired only a few. He knew that the job’s demands would drown him unless he figured out what the essence of the job really was. Thus began a thirty-year journey into the heart of this uncommon vocation—the pastorate.

The Pastor steers away from abstractions, offering instead a beautiful rendering of a life tied to the physical world—the land, the holy space, the people—shaping Peterson’s pastoral vocation as well as his faith. He takes on church marketing, mega pastors, and the church’s too-cozy relationship to American glitz and consumerism to present a simple, faith-filled job description of what being a pastor means today. In the end, Peterson discovered that being a pastor boiled down to “paying attention and calling attention to ‘what is going on right now’ between men and women, with each other and with God.” The Pastor is destined to become a classic statement on the contemporary trials, joys, and meaning of this ancient vocation.”

Richard Foster said of this work, “If anyone knows how to be a pastor in the contemporary context that person is Eugene Peterson. Eugene possesses the rare combination of a pastor’s heart and a pastor’s art. Take and read!” (Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline)

Dallas Willard said, “If you are hoping to be a pastor, or just to understand what that is, get this book and soak in it for at least three full days with no distraction. It may save your life and make you a blessing.” (Dallas Willard, author of The Divine Conspiracy)

I know this book is going to make hope come alive on the inside of those who are called to Shepherd. I hope you will get the book. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, just click the link here. When you do, please let me know how it blessed you.

Mark Casto

P.S. Here is the link to Amazon for “The Pastor: A Memoir” 

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