One of the greatest gifts younger men in ministry can receive is the wisdom of older men. It’s why so many of us seek to find mentors, both living and dead—we want to know what we don’t know and learn from the more experienced. In his new book, Letters to a Young Pastor, Calvin Miller writes a series of notes to young pastors, sharing his experiences and insights from more than thirty years in vocational ministry.
Miller’s gift as a storyteller is on full display in this book—he’s consistently witty, insightful and engaging in each of his letters, whether dealing with a case of the Mondays (a preacher’s worst day), seeing the significance of your call (regardless of your church size) or venting about how megachurches pretty much stink (more on that later). And that, perhaps, is his biggest asset. Miller’s writing is a pleasure to read. For example:
[M]ost pastors who fall form grace sexually are not involved with strangers; they get involved with someone right in their own church. So be extra careful in this regard. I once had a secretary who surprised me by telling me on a nameless Tuesday that she couldn’t live without me. I don’t know what kind of reply she expected from this, but I said, “You’re fired!” . . . I might have seen this whole thing coming if I had done what I now am going to give you as a great principle for keeping your eros hidden under several thick layers of agape: Listen to your wife.1
(For a good laugh, read that excerpt with Bill Cosby’s style of delivery in mind.)
The best of Miller’s advice is practical and genuinely helpful—the stuff that seems like you should say, “Well, I should hope so” afterward… until you realize that you’re assuming you know it, but don’t. Little things like remembering that because Monday is your worst day as a preacher and you’re thinking about quitting, maybe wait to see how you feel on Tuesday. [Read more...]