Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul David Tripp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Paul Tripp hits hard at pastors who are coasting, faking, hiding, or in other ways not living out the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ in their pastoral ministry.
This is a book non-pastors may have a hard time connecting with or understanding, but it was easy for me as a pastor for about 12 years now. When pastors are constantly speaking and feeding and giving the message of grace to others, it can be hard for them to switch roles and receive the grace they need to show and tell their churches. This leads to isolation, hypocrisy, ego trips, not listening to fellow leaders, overly seeking approval from men, despair, and just cranking out sermons mentally without a personal heart connection.
Pastors face spiritual attacks just like every other believer. Sometimes they take a different form based on their roles, though. Tripp fights hard against a church culture that expects the pastor to be “perfect.” Instead, he needs to publicly say that he too struggles with sin. Too much specific information is detrimental, of course, but pastors usually err the other way – dodging personal questions, giving an impression that they are impregnable to sin, and not seeking help in their fight against sin.
If we do not find our identity and rest in Christ and His grace, we will seek it elsewhere, idolatrously. Each of us has a unique way in which we do that, individually. But there are also some general patterns. Men tend to sin a certain way, women another; white collar workers one way, blue collar another; pastors one way, committed church members another; Americans one way, Syrians another. One of the strengths of this book is that Tripp knows a pastor’s life and his temptations. He describes the battle with vivid detail. But not only is the diagnosis spot on, so is the prognosis. We must find our approval and comfort and rest in Jesus, so we don’t rush to the wrong places for it.
Every pastor should read this book.
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