Book Review: Pastors [Off the Record] by Stefan Ulsten

“Pastors [Off the Record]” is a refreshing book for pastors AND for those who care about pastors. Ulstein had a brilliant idea to interview pastors for many different denominations, age ranges and stages of ministry, areas of North America, size of churches as well as city and rural churches. Ulstein is a journalist, who wanted to go out and get an unbiased perspective on what ministry is about. At first he found guarded people – those who pastor or who have pastored. He found the truth of most pastors and that was that they rarely feel free to speak opening with laypersons.

He’s probably right. Too many Christians do not understand the dynamics of serving in a volunteer based occupation in which people have high expectations and let themselves be well-heard. Too many try to assume pastors merely should apply business principles and life goes on. The problem is that ministry is not a business. Ministry involves the souls of people who are deeply loved by the Master who has enlisted the pastor to serve. Most people think that pastor’s kids are just like any other child. The perspectives of those in the congregation is often too short-sighted to understand the pressures of being in the pastor’s family.

I found myself agreeing with so much of what other pastors said. It was incredible how pastoral situations are not unique – go figure! (1 Cor. 10:13!) I found myself laughing and almost weeping, because I understood so much of the joys and the pains that pastors revealed in their interviews. Every church leader ought to read this, so that he might have a chance at understanding what the pastor’s role is and the challenges his pastor might be going through as he tends to God’s flock. Buy one of these for each of your leaders, so they can take care of the one who takes care of them.

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