It was the title that first caught my attention while I was browsing the Moody Publishing booth at their Pastors Conference—“On Being a Pastor.” Then the name Begg. Alistair Begg. I thought to myself, Yes, that’d be quite interesting to see what he thinks about being a pastor.
But I was wrong. This book by Alistair Begg and his mentor, Derek Prime, is more than what they think about pastoral ministry; it’s an insider’s look at how they do pastoral ministry. Oh, not a full 360 degree view. But into specific areas. And into these areas they both provide first-hand accounts of how they actually go about doing certain things as a pastor.
How? Each chapter isn’t just Alistair and Derek writing together on a specific issue. It’s also Alistair and Derek explaining separately how they practice that specific discipline/responsibility. Each pastor takes time to write in a first-person way to illustrate by their own life how they implement the principle explained in the chapter. These illustrations are always indented, and are “signed” with their initials so you know who is commenting. These were easily my favorite part of every chapter.
Specifically, the areas they address in a very pragmatic manner are:
- The Call and the Calling
- Life and Character
- Goals and Priorities
- Devotional Life
- Pastoral Care
- The Conduct of Worship
- The Responsibility to Lead
- Family and Leisure
- Perils Tempered by Privileges
But three chapters alone make it worth your time to read this book! Which ones? In my opinion, the chapters on Prayer, Devotional Life, and and Study. They were packed with practical, personal, and powerful snapshots that give the reader an in-depth look into how they manage, practice, and utilize these areas in their role as a pastor. These snapshots are nuggets of gold as they can serve as a template for other pastors’ own personal use, especially in areas where we sense less confidence and efficiency. What a gift!
If you’re in vocational pastoral ministry, pick up a copy and read it. If you’re not, pick one up for your pastor. I’m sure you or he will appreciate the handy, how-to feel of this insightful perspective on life as pastor.