Monday, August 19, 2019

The Joy of Service by Julian Hardyman

I think I was given this at an FIEC Pastors' Network meeting a year or so ago. A freebie. 

The brief chapters glance at themes like, 'Ministry as Service', 'Ministry and Suffering' and 'Ministry and Prayer'.

I guess this is aimed at aspiring and newbie pastors, with a nod to more experienced ministers.

Biblical teaching on ministry is assumed rather than spelled out. There's nothing much on the call to pastoral ministry, the scriptural pattern of pastoral ministry, and so on. That said, this is part of a series. Other titles (which I haven't read) are devoted to The CallWhy Free Church Ministry? and related topics. 

The format is chatty and anecdotal, with the author drawing extensively on his own ministry experience. Quotes from the Bible, plus the thoughts of other writers are thrown in for good measure.

You'll find a dose of realism here, seasoned with encouragement to serve the Lord with joy.

Maybe it's because I tend to be more guarded in publicly expressing my inmost feelings that the author's confessional style grated on me a bit.

We're all different. Extroverts may find it a struggle to spend long and lonely hours in study and sermon prep. As a self-contained introvert (which, I think Hardyman would agree, isn't the same as being a cold hearted sociopath), that aspect of ministry is a necessary way of recharging my batteries.

I don't tend to find these 'bite sized' efforts very satisfying. In their reading Ministers (and wannabes) should aspire to something a bit more meaty that will stretch their minds and stir their souls to the depths. 

Then again, the weighty Some Pastors and Teachers by Sinclair Ferguson wouldn't have fitted quite so neatly into my back pocket for reading when my wife had a hospital appointment. 

Shouldn't look a gift horse (or pony - 101pp) in the mouth, I suppose.