From the treasure trove of great books on ministry, we review three more classics.
1. The Pastor-Preacher by William Quayle
It is hard to relate how good this book really is. It is provocative in its description of the ministry. Every chapter is outstanding and many sentences make memorable quotes. When he first describes the preacher, you will be hooked. He says, “It takes more courage to be a preacher than to be a gladiator, or a stormer of fortresses, because the preacher’s battle is ever on, never ceases, and lacks the tonic of visible conquest.”
How about this perspective? “We are come to give ourselves. A preacher is to give himself…A man is an estate; and at death should any of that estate be left in hand the man is by so much a failure…Jesus had nothing left. Empty as a drained cask; that is Christ’s new program for life.” Or this of the preacher: “ He is not the trumpet, but the trumpeter; not the sword, but the soldier.”
This he says of what we preach: “So the preacher must know the way to the Hidden Source. He must trail tendencies. He must keep to the main stream; and the rivulets he must pass only giving them a glance….” How that would revolutionize preaching today!
He challenges us to be men of prayer or not be a man of God. He also explains that we must be a mystic. We must hear things from above. We must have wonder and imagination. He tells us be but not be consumed with the age we live in, but the ages.
He is as powerful in presenting our work with people as equal to our work in preaching. He ends with practical help with various types of visits.
This book should be on every pastor’s shelf.
2. Heralds of God by James Stewart
Mr. Stewart ministered in Scotland. This volume was originally a Warrick Lecture and is organized around five subjects for the preacher: his world, theme, study, technique, and inner life.
We are in this world as a herald of God to people who are disillusioned confused and need to hear of our Lord. We are to smash that disillusionment, he says, with the Cross of Christ.
He reminds us to be sure we worship as we lead worship. He is one of the best I have read in describing how the sermon itself is a key component or worship. That is so often forgotten today. He speaks to what I’ve heard many preachers talk about–running out of fresh ideas for sermons. He proclaims: “The longest ministry is too short by far to exhaust the treasures of the Word of God.”
He makes it beautifully clear that Christ must be our theme. We must be careful not to be swallowed by side issues.
When he speaks of our study, he encourages us to throw our all into it because of the importance of the message we have to preach. We work with treasure. To better know how to preach to men, better know God. He also makes a powerful plea for expository preaching. As he says, “Let the Bible speak for itself.” He says it will deliver us from monotony. He is right!
After giving practical advice on technique, he launches into our inner life. He argues that we must take heed to ourselves before we do so for the flock.
This is another winner!
3. The Christian Pastor’s Manual, compiled by John Brown
This is a reprint originally published in 1826. Soli Deo Gloria and Solid Ground have reprinted this fine volume. Every chapter is written by a different preacher of that era. Some are better than others, but all are good. The chapters may read slightly slower being from that period, but are worth the time. You might enjoy reading one chapter a day and then mulling it over.
I especially recommend the chapter on “Pastoral Cautions” by Abraham Booth. These and other chapters remind us again how so many facets of ministry never change through the centuries.
Young or old, you should ponder the chapter by Isaac Watts called “Questions Proper for Young Ministers Frequently to Put to Themselves.” I finished it only to pray: “Help me Lord.”
Hope you can get these great volumes.
MORE IN THIS SERIES ON MINISTRY BOOKS:
You can find all posts and books reviewed in this series in the Introductory Post.