The most important aspect when I read a book about ministry is to understand if the author is actually involved in ministry (of course…), to understand his heart and taste his honesty.
Dangerous Calling is soaked with confessions. Paul Tripp’s confessions, and so many tragedies from the ministry field. Inspired title, Dangerous. Paul knows the problem. If you are preparing for ministry or you are involved in ministry, you can certainly understand that he was and he still is in your shoes. He’s sharing humbling and embarrassing things that most of us tend to hide.
I know I am not alone. There are many pastors who have inserted themselves into a spiritual category that doesn’t exist. Like me, they think they are someone they’re not. So they respond in ways that they shouldn’t, and they develop habits that are spiritually dangerous. They are content with a devotional life that either doesn’t exist or is constantly kidnapped by preparation
He examines his heart and motivations in ministry and invites you to walk in his steps, constantly asking himself, how is the Gospel of Jesus Christ forming the heart of the pastor and his ministry local culture. Undoubtedly, if you do not understand the ministry as it was designed by God, you are in a dangerous place. If the work of God and not God Himself is the main motivation, you are in a dangerous place.
The pastor must be enthralled by, in awe of—can I say it: in love with—his Redeemer so that everything he thinks, desires, chooses, decides, says, and does is propelled by love for Christ and the security of rest in the love of Christ. He must be regularly exposed, humbled, assured, and given rest by the grace of his Redeemer. His heart needs to be tenderized day after day by his communion with Christ so that he becomes a tender, loving, patient, forgiving, encouraging, and giving servant leader. His meditation on Christ—his presence, his promises, and his provisions—must not be overwhelmed by his meditation on how to make his ministry work.
You can feel the love for those who are involved in God’s work and also his pain for the unhealthy pastoral culture that anyone can identify today. The only remedy is Christ.
You see, it is only love for Christ that can defend the heart of the pastor against all the other loves that have the potential to kidnap his ministry. It is only worship of Christ that has the power to protect him from all the seductive idols of ministry that will whisper in his ear. It is only the glory of the risen Christ that will guard him against the self-glory that is a temptation to all who are in ministry and that destroys the ministry of so many. Only Christ can turn an arrogant, “bring on the world” seminary graduate into a patient, humble giver of grace. Only deep gratitude for a suffering Savior can make a man willing to suffer in ministry. It is only a heart that is satisfied in Christ that can be spiritually content in the hardships of ministry. It is only in your brokenness in the face of your sin that you can give grace to the fellow rebels to whom God has called you to minister. It’s only when your identity is firmly rooted in Christ that you are free from seeking to get your identity out of your ministry.
The author is also a preacher and you can feel sometimes that he’s preaching and sometimes he’s a bit repetitive in his ideas but I strongly recommend this book. It’s a must read book and I believe that it would be awesome, transforming and redemptive if it will be in the hands of every seminarian, pastor or teacher of the Word of God.
It definitely challenged me and I think we are already talking about a classic in this field of pastoral ministry.
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