How do we relate to the people who lead our churches?
Etc, etc, etc,. The unfortunate people who are called to lead the body of Christ, people with needs and weaknesses elevated to positions that challenge and promote them beyond that which they were trained. As someone who has a pastoral role in a local church, grew up in an Elder’s household, and has long had multiple friends who are pastors*, I was delighted to see this book, Pastors are People Too: What They Won’t Tell You But You Need to Know by Jimmy Dodd and Larry Magnuson. This is a book I wish I’d read when I became a Christian – but a book that I’m looking forward to put into practice for the rest of my ministry (Wherever that may lead!).
Dodd and Magnuson are committed to supporting and encouraging pastors, which is a ministry (in light of the epidemic sweeping the American Church in terms of people leaving, being burned out, signed off and otherwise exiting ministry) that is often undervalued. Pastors are People Too is, I hope, a book that will challenge and equip a new generation of church people/members, to love and serve their pastors in spite of their humanity.
The fact that this book needed to be written is a sad indictment on the state of the church. The fact the vast majority of people who go to church continually fail to recognize the basic humanity of their pastor is an even more damning indictment of the present understanding of what it means to be church – let alone what it might or might not mean to recognise and appoint a pastor.
In this book the authors do a good job of exposing reality and inciting readers – who may well have false motives – into the heart and the hope of the problem. The church is not like other organizations. Being a pastor is not like being a person in another job. This book gets that, in such a way as to be deeply practical and helpfully theological.
I’ve been recommending this book around my church – not a church I lead, but a church I’m privileged and called to play a part in – because it is very helpful. If everyone in churches read this book, some pastors would continue to be fired, others would be relieved from duty, whilst yet others would be given the help, care and hope they need.
This review is deliberately vague. I seriously want you to read this book, if you are someone who is in a church. If you are involved in church leadership – regardless of your ‘title’ – I hope you will read and recommend this book. Understanding that Pastors are People too is important – but leaning into that, in an organisational and serious way, is a challenge I believe God is inviting us into. Thank you for reading – I’d (As ever!) welcome your comments.