Letters to My Students: Volume 2 on Pastoring
Jason K. Allen
B&H Publishing, 2021
Reminiscent of Charles Spurgeon’s, “Lectures to My Students,” Jason Allen offers local church leaders sound advice about pastoral ministry in a second volume of “Letters to My Students” (the first focused on preaching).
The president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Allen begins by helping readers clarify their call to pastoral ministry. He next addresses preaching and teaching the word of God as a pastor’s central responsibility, though not the only one.
“Pastor, treat preaching as seriously as you can, then treat it more so,” he writes. “Local church ministry all starts with the pulpit.”
With that foundation, Allen moves into other “hats” pastors wear. In a section on shepherding the sheep, for example, he recounts early in his ministry an evening with his wife that was interrupted when he was called out on an emergency. In this familiar situation for any pastor, Allen offers advice for determining the level of emergency and whether the pastor or someone else should respond. He also provides guidance on how to navigate the various types of member visits a pastor makes.
Importantly, in congregational life Allen advises establishing healthy first-year precedents.
“If from the start you demonstrate a commitment to the study, an intentionality with pastoral care, and a devotion to your family, your members will likely see, appreciate, and respect those priorities.”
Ministers and ministers-in-training will find much to treasure in Allen’s book.