Every couple of years, I try to re-read two books that have been very formative for my thinking on life in the ministry. One is Richard Baxters’ The Reformed Pastor, perhaps the most convicting book ever written (other than the Bible). Each year, after reading it, I am tempted to draw up my resignation, drop out of the ministry, and go sell carpet or something.
The other book, is Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students, a veritable goldmine of advice and instruction for those of us in ministry (or heading there). Spurgeon covers a wide range of issue from the call to the ministry all the way to pulpit posture and how to project your voice (something quite important in that time period).
But, what both of these books have in common is a foundational focus on the character and personal piety of the minister. Indeed, both books begin with this critical subject. Ministers should take special care of their walk with God, they argue, precisely because they are public, visible representatives of Christ. We preach not only by our words, but also by our actions.
Baxter, in his typical fashion, reminds us of this important theme: [Read more…]