Pastoring is hard work. The work of the ministry takes a toll on a pastor physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Dealing with sinful people, calling them to kill the sin in their lives—while still struggling with the sin in your own life—is virtually impossible for a human being to deal with on his own.
The relevant stats paint a picture of stress and insecurity:
- 80 percent of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged.
- 70 percent say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started
- 50 percent of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years (pp. 18–19)
In The Pastor’s Justification, author Jared C. Wilson seeks to remove the external pressures and stresses of the pastorate by constantly focusing the reader’s attention on the finished work of Christ. A pastor, like the rest of the redeemed, can do nothing to earn or lose the favor of God—that is the beauty of the Gospel!
The book is divided into two parts. In Part 1, called The Pastor’s Heart, Wilson walks the reader through many of the struggles pastors feel. Using 1 Peter 5 as a starting point, he admonishes the pastor against some of the self-righteous pitfalls of the pastorate. For the pastor reading this book, he will be able to identify with many of these struggles; for lay readers, it will illuminate the often-hidden issues of the pastorate. Part 2, called The Pastor’s Glory, looks at specific areas of a pastor’s role that can always use a shot of Gospel-infusion. Loosely based on the Five Solas of the Reformation, these chapters are immensely helpful in framing the daily life of the pastorate in terms of the work of Christ.
Wilson’s writing is refreshing; he writes clearly, cleverly, and with conviction. He also writes as an experienced guide; he has faced these same struggles in his years of ministry. This is both a practical book as well as a theological book—providing deep lessons that need to be meditated on, yet can be applied at the next board meeting. His constant message to the reader is that they no longer need to seek the approval of man or God, but to rest in the finished work of Christ.
There are not too many ministry books that make me laugh, cry, or vocally praise God; The Pastor’s Justification had me doing all three, sometimes on the same page! Wilson drinks deep from the never ending Gospel well, and it can be felt on every single page. This book is a must read for any pastor that wants to survive in ministry, not under his own power, but by the power and grace of Christ.
- Title: The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry
- Author: Jared C. Wilson
- Publisher: Crossway (2013)
- Format: Paperback
- Rating: 5/5