Let's Read: The Path to Being a Pastor by Bobby Jamieson
By Edwin Ewart
Finding good material on ministry themes is not an easy task as teachers and students alike will confirm. Therefore, when a volume examining ‘the path to being a pastor’ is published we need to give it due consideration. Jamieson promises to ‘provoke’ the reader and does so from the outset stating his intention to set aside the language of ‘calling’ in favour of ‘aspiring’. Examining the various internal and external elements in this aspiring (or calling) the author helpfully casts light, in the main, on the challenging qualifications of the elder/pastor.
The arguments enlisted for jettisoning the language of ‘calling’ are at first glance compelling. However, the author himself, is prepared to qualify his enthusiasm in this regard recognising that it is better to be ‘more concerned about the posture than the phrasing’. Arguably, it matters little what terminology we use since both calling and/or aspiration need to be proved or disproved in a prayerful disposition and submission to wise counsel, in particular that of church leadership.
The vitality of a humble spirit and a heart of wisdom in discerning God’s will in this matter is especially stressed in two chapters. The issue of ability is of course crucial and is well-nuanced here, showing that God calls and equips his servants, but not in the absence of character which occupies a prominent place in the virtues he commends.
On qualifications, chapter 4 is incredibly useful not least for comparing and contrasting the contemporary church’s estimation of ministry with the depiction in the pastoral letters. Against wrongheaded understandings, the author commends NT qualifications as a compass which will provide a sure guide for navigation of a sense of call.
Three questions for the called/aspiring:
How would you describe your sense of call/aspiration to pastoral ministry?
Would anyone in your circle of family or friends be surprised to hear that you have a sense of call/aspire to be a pastor?
Are there character flaws that could potentially undermine your pursuit of pastoral ministry?