Subscribe now

What to look for in a pastor

By Brian Biedebach
January 2012 | Review by Gwyn Davies
  • Publisher: Day One Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-84625-2686
  • Pages: 210
  • Price: 10.00
Buy this book »

What to look for in a pastor
Brian Biedebach
Day One Publications
210, £0.00
ISBN: 978-1-84625-2686
Star Rating:

This book comes with warm commendations from, among others, Wayne Mack and John MacArthur. It is easy to understand why, for it deals helpfully with an important subject rarely addressed, namely how a church should proceed in seeking a pastor.

This is an area where churches often find themselves at a loss or pursue a course that ends in bewilderment and tears. The clear and practical advice offered here, then, will no doubt be much appreciated.

The author recommends that attention should be paid to the potential pastor’s preaching, shepherding responsibilities, character, theology, and attitude to practical issues. He then suggests ways of finding the right man, and adds a sample doctrinal statement, questions to be put to him, and a checklist concerning financial and other practical matters.

And yet . . . for all the book’s usefulness, in some respects it might have been even more helpful:

Firstly, it has obviously been written primarily with the American church scene in mind. Some sections – such as that outlining the varieties of American fundamentalism and evangelicalism – are not immediately relevant to other contexts. The eschatological position taught in the doctrinal statement is also more typical of American evangelicalism than its British counterpart.

Secondly, the author gives detailed attention to certain subjects – for example, expository preaching – regarding which he obviously feels strongly. However, he tends to get rather carried away by his concern for these subjects in themselves, at the expense of the main aim of the book.

Thirdly, although there is a healthy awareness of the danger of choosing a pastor on the basis of a couple of sermons preached during one weekend visit, more emphasis might have been placed on the importance of a congregation and a potential pastor knowing each other as fully as possible before any invitation is considered.

Fourthly, perhaps it was the choice of such words as ‘hiring’, ‘the candidate’, etc., but the overall approach smacked a little too much of making a professional appointment on the basis of appropriate qualifications and references.

Fifthly, the importance of prayer is acknowledged, but it does not receive the attention it surely deserves. Ticking the appropriate boxes is no doubt helpful in the case of both the church and the potential pastor, but seeking God’s will together should come first and foremost.

These matters notwithstanding, this book will be a valuable tool for churches seeking a pastor – and for potential pastors too.

 

Gwyn Davies

Aberystwyth

 

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Speaking of Women: Interpreting Paul
Andrew Perriman

Andrew Perriman’s book seeks to provide biblical justification for the ordination of women as ministers of the gospel. On the rear cover Dr R. T. France, formerly principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, claims that the volume ‘offers the best hope…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? Larry Norman and the perils of Christian rock
Gregory Thornbury

What are we to make of Larry Norman, the controversial pioneer of Christian pop music in the late 1960s and ‘70s? Gregory Alan Thornbury (son of occasional ET contributor John) tells the fascinating story with riveting style and careful accuracy.…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
That Hideous Strength: How the West Was Lost
Melvin Tinker

A book offering to tell us ‘how the West was lost’ has set itself a very ambitious target. Perhaps it needs a few more pages to quite hit that target. But it succeeds admirably in drawing our attention to a…

John Henry Newman: Becoming Rome’s first ecumenical saint
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
John Henry Newman: Becoming Rome’s first ecumenical saint
Richard Bennett and Michael de Semlyen

The German-born Pope Benedict XVI is due to carry out a state visit to the UK from 16-19 September. The climax of this visit is a Mass in Coventry at which the Pope will beatify John Henry Newman (1801-1890). Newman…