Jonathan K. Dodson – The Unwavering Pastor: Leading the Church with Grace in Divisive Times
The Good Book Company
ISBN 978 1 78498765 7
This is a book that has emerged out of one pastor’s wrestling with the challenge of ministering in a Covid and post-Covid world, a world where pastors need to lead their churches and handle issues like sexuality, race and gender.
I like this book for the following four reasons:
- It is biblical, being an extended reflection on the pastoral wisdom contained in 2 Timothy. This roots the book in the unwavering character of God, the life-giving gospel and the transforming Word of God.
- It is honest, talking of the challenge of seeing people leave the church, the author writes: “For the first time in my ministry, I was tempted to close up my heart.”
- It is realistic, it recognises the demands and heartbreaks of Christian ministry, and the difficulty of getting things right in the eyes of everyone. For example, in dealing with a man with same sex attraction: “I was shamed by pastors for not being harder on him and scorned by non-Christians for saying anything at all.”
I think I would have liked a little bit more nuance in that particular chapter on human sexuality. Here and at other points in the book the US context in which the book has been written is not always helpful.
- It is practical. One of the most helpful insights is that the author was helped to serve his congregation by taking a leaf out of Paul’s book by viewing his church as friends.
Give a copy to a church leader who is feeling the pressure. It might just throw him a timely lifeline.
John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex. He is Director of Training at the School of Preachers in Riga, Latvia.