With a smooth and eloquent writing style, Andrew Hébert, lead pastor of Paramount Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texas, offers wise counsel for fellow pastors through “a fresh application of the greatest sermon ever preached.”
As Hébert recalls news stories from recent years that involved scandal in churches or with ministerial leaders, he says the problem is one of character, and the subtitle of the book points to his goal: “Returning to the Wild Idea that Character Matters in Ministry.”
Hébert asks, “But how do we know what the character of Christ should look like in the life of a pastor?”
In response, he turns to Scripture, and the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 particularly, to show how pastors can avoid the missteps of heartbreaking headlines or other difficult detours.
For example, as he reaches the final Beatitude, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness,” he makes note of a range of tensions in the country, including political division, racial strife and pandemic responses.
“Pastors have been in the crucible of trying to navigate problems for which no seminary class could have ever prepared them,” Hébert writes.
Tough hide, tender heart
The criticism pastors receive can be overwhelming, he acknowledges, suggesting, “If you are going to last in ministry, you need a tough hide and a tender heart.”
Shepherding Like Jesus is filled with humility and honesty but also hope. Between chapters, several other pastors offer their own commentary on the principles discussed.