I am now counting the days until I receive the first copies of my new book, The Pastor’s First Love: This and Other Essays on a High and Holy Calling. The book will be on Amazon.com/Amazon.ca and my excitement is mounting.
The pastoral love of which I write is not first of all a love for preaching or pastoral visitation or the oversight of a congregation – as important and even focal as these duties are.
The pastor’s first love is to be a love for Jesus Christ, a steadfast and ever-renewing love – and out of that love, I believe, will flow a desire to carry out the pastoral task with excellence. That’s my thesis. In the book I share details of that task.
The words “pastor” and “shepherd” are interchangeable because they mean the same thing. The Bible has an amazing number of references to the work of shepherding used as a human metaphor. Best of all, Jesus used it of himself.
In the majority of cases today pastors do not fill a highly visible position. They serve in the inner-city, the suburbs, at the county crossroads, in hospitals, nursing homes, wherever there is a station of Christ’s church or there is human need.
But their influence is greater than they often realize. I was brought up in a little church in southeastern Saskatchewan. The pastors we had back in the thirties of the last century were of necessity self-taught. Seminary and even college were out of the question in the days of the Great Depression. But for kids growing up these men were markers of godliness and I still remember their names – Wartman, Garret, Smith, McGougan, Summers, and perhaps others. They paid attention to the children.
So who do I hope will be helped by The Pastor’s First Love? In writing I’ve had a target audience in mind. (1) Seminary and college students in pastoral training; it is the period of training when a pastoral mind is being formed. (2) Young and newly appointed pastors who feel the need to further refine their understanding of the task and sharpen the skills required. I write about cases.
I have also had in mind, (3) Pastors who have served for a long while but have grown discouraged and perhaps lost the vision and zest for their calling; and (4) lay people who sense the need for a better understanding from a layman’s perspective of what the pastoral calling is all about.
I have prepared the book prayerfully and would ask my faithful readers to pray with me that, as it goes out by the end of the month, it will find its way into the hands and hearts of those who need it most.