There is this old joke about being a pastor. I don't remember much about it, but it has something to do with how you only work one day a week (Sundays) - of course, if you have a mid-week service, I guess that would mean you work a little bit of overtime.
The reality of course is that pastors work 24/7. The truth is that when we are on vacation, or at the movies, or anywhere else, the church that we have been called to be the under-shepherd of, never leaves our mind for long.
There are a lot of misconceptions about what a pastor is and what a pastor does, but one thing that I have never heard about the calling / position / job of pastor is that it is dangerous. To be honest, I have never thought of being a pastor as dangerous.
Oh, I know there have been those few times where someone has gone into a church and shot at the pastor, but in our day in age, that sort of thing happens in almost every occupation and location.
So when I got the book in the mail: "Dangerous Calling" by Paul David Tripp,
I was intrigued. I had ordered it based on the recommendations of some pastors that I highly respect: James MacDonald, Joshua Harris & Tullian Tchividjian. And so began my journey into a book that has shaken and stirred me.
I am not finished with the book yet, but at this point I will say that being a pastor just may be the most dangerous calling / job / position there is. It can be dangerous to your faith, your health, your relationships, your marriage and your family. In fact, I would say after reading this book as far as I have, I would say that IT IS DANGEROUS to all of the above...but the book does not leave it there. It also offers solutions to the danger.
At this point I am almost done with chapter 9, and the book has 15 chapters. The first few were rough...and sometimes I thought Paul David Tripp had been reading my mail. By the time I got to where I am, I would say that the book is worth both the price and the time to read it, just for chapters 8 and 9 alone.
It is also not just a book for pastors, but for everyone who is a member of a local church. Pastors need this book so that they can recognize where they are in the midst of these dangers, and realize that they are not alone. While I did not see myself in every danger listed, I must admit that I saw myself in far too many of them, and Paul David Tripp helped me to be aware of dangers in the pastorate that I had not even known were there. Church members need to read this book so they might see just what the dangers are in being a pastor and how they can hurt or help their pastor to navigate this dangerous calling.
I want to close this post by stating that for me, among all the trials, tears and testing, being called to be a pastor of a local church brings me much joy. I love the church I get to pastor. I am truly blessed...but that does not make it any less dangerous. Thank you Paul David Tripp.
Holding onto Christ in the middle of the danger zone,