Book review: Letters to my students, volume 2: On pastoral care

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Letters to my students: Volume 2 on the Pastor
Jason K. Allen
B&H editions, 2021

Recalling Charles Spurgeon’s “Lectures to My Students,” Jason Allen offers local church leaders sound advice on pastoral ministry in a second volume of “Letters to My Students” (the first focusing on preaching).

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Allen begins by helping readers clarify their call to pastoral ministry. He then approaches preaching and teaching the word of God as the central responsibility of a pastor, but not the only one.

“Pastor, take the preaching as seriously as you can, and then treat it more,” he wrote. “Local church ministry begins with the pulpit.”

With this foundation, Allen moved on to other “hats” worn by pastors. In a section on keeping the sheep, for example, he recounts at the start of his ministry an evening with his wife that was cut short when called in an emergency. In this situation familiar to any pastor, Allen offers advice on determining the level of urgency and whether the pastor or someone else needs to respond. It also provides tips on how to navigate the different types of member visits that a pastor makes.

It is important to note that in the life of the congregation Allen advises setting healthy precedents for the first year.

“If from the start you demonstrate a commitment to study, intentionality with pastoral care, and dedication to your family, your members are likely to see, appreciate and respect these priorities. “

Ministers and ministers-in-training will find much to treasure in Allen’s book.


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