I recently finished reading Zack Eswine’s book The Imperfect Pastor. Below you’ll find some quotes from the book that I found encouraging, insightful, and worth sharing:
“[O]ne can receive accolades from preaching Jesus, yet at the same time know very little about how to follow Jesus in the living rooms of their ordinary lives” (26).
“Our desire for greatness in ministry isn’t the problem. Our problem arises from how the haste of doing large things, famously and as fast as we can, is reshaping our definition of what a great thing is. Desire greatness, dear pastor! But bend your definition of greatness to the one Jesus give us. At minimum we must begin to take a stand on this one important fact: obscurity and greatness are not opposites” (29).
“God has given you and handful of persons whom you are meant to love. You needn’t become somebody else or constantly look over the shoulders of those people who are right in front of you. Attending to God’s work among the faces, names, and stories where you are is to do already what God considers significant” (39).
“Jesus is fame-shy. Jesus seemed drawn not to the spotlight but from it. Disciples and friends had to search. He wasn’t tweeting. His blog lay unattended. His e-mail responses were not immediate. Where they often found him was alone and in desolate places praying (Luke 5:16). In fact, it seems that just when Jesus was at the right place at the right time, and the opportunity to advance his work through greater celebrity called out to him, he intentionally allowed the call to go to voice mail and disappeared for a while” (60).
“You and I were never meant to repent for not being everywhere for everybody all at once. You and I are meant to repent because we’ve tried to be” (74).
“Fear and intimidation work as long as gospel healing isn’t our goal” (95).
***“There is nothing we can do in ministry that does not require God to act, if true fruit is to be produced (John 15:5). Everything pastors hope will take place in a person’s life with God remains outside the pastor’s own power” (97).
“People ordinarily leave a church with a new pastor for one of two reasons (and often within the first two to three years of the new pastor’s arrival): (1) the new pastor is not enough like the previous pastor and things are changing too much; (2) the new pastor is too much like the previous pastor and things are not changing enough” (119).
“Silences, not just sentences, form the work of pastoral ministry” (141).
“Tell me: when did it happen that a life purposed to help ordinary people in their ordinary struggles locate God become too small a thing?” (153).
“Pastoral care is mostly presence, being with someone in the midst of what troubles them” (191).
“Punishment for the repentant does not go on and on. . . . It is Satan and not God who inflicts excessive sorrow upon a repentant person, along with the absence of love, the neglect of comfort, and punishment that never ends” – [in this part of the book Eswine is dealing with church discipline and commenting on 2 Cor. 2].
“More often than not, the primary leader who brought you to the church as your greatest advocate in the beginning will fight you in the end. A leader with that kind of influence will not easily give it away when you arrive” (223).
“Once we prayerfully determine the right thing to do, we must still contemplate the right way to do it” (240).
“We long for heroic moments but recognize that they aren’t heaven and that someone else among a rare few will most likely have that momentary role. We are realistic about the fact that heroic moments are not the normal way that God daily visits his people. And yet still believe that God is doing something larger than we can presently see” (248).