WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A PASTOR?

This week marks the first anniversary of the publication of my book A Pastor and the People: An inside Look through Letters. Divided into three parts and 14 chapters, the book includes a variety of letters I received and wrote during my 44 years of ministry.

I was a summer youth minister and youth minister in two churches in Ohio, the minister of a small church in Pennsylvania, and the pastor of a large church in Southern California.

Whether you are a church leader, church member, or do not attend church, this book “pulls back the curtain” on one of the most interesting “jobs” anyone can have.

Here are a few endorsement reviews of the book:

Whether you are a preacher, church leader or simply member of the congregation, I think you’ll enjoy Bob Mink’s book, a compilation of letters he received and sent during his 44 years of ministry. Not only will you be entertained by these letters and enriched by Bob’s commentary, I think you’ll benefit from the lessons Bob learned about leading a church, preaching the Gospel, and shepherding his flock.

Bob Russell, Retired Senior Minister, Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY

 

You can learn a lot reading other people’s mail. Here is a pastor in love with his people, his Lord, his calling. It’s a big world God called him to: challenging, joy-filled, frequently frustrating, never boring and ultimately fulfilling. This is good reading.

LeRoy Lawson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Christian Ministries and Director of Doctor of Ministry Program, Emmanuel Christian Seminary

 

Bob Mink has compiled a lifetime of professional and personal correspondence. This book will impact your heart and head. Bob identifies why we have been called to ministry as a profession and way of life.

Dr. Joseph C. Grana II, Dean of Pacific Christian College of Ministry & Biblical Studies, Hope International University

 

With his unique sense of humor and unfiltered transparency, Bob Mink puts on display for all to see that being a pastor is undeniably one of the most humbling and rewarding adventures of grace and mercy a person can travel.

Steve Walker, Pastor, Canyon Hills Community Church, Bothell, WA

 

Would you like to see how a seasoned pastor navigated several decades of ministry, and how those he served reacted to it? Do you enjoy reading other people’s mail? Then you’ll enjoy reading Bob Mink’s unique insight into ministry shared here in letters he received and kept throughout the years. You’ll laugh and learn as you look over Bob Mink’s shoulder.

Mark Taylor, Editor, Christian Standard

 

Our lives are shaped by relationships and those relationships are shared through our stories. Pastor Bob takes us on a journey as he shares through letters what it means to throw your life into the arena of pastoral ministry. If you are in relationships of any kind (and we all are) you will relate, connect and be moved. I encourage you to let this man of God’s story impact your own.

Randy Paredes, Lead Pastor, Florence Christian Church

 

A Pastor and the People: An inside Look through Letters is an incredible resource for not only pastors but for anyone interested in an inside look at a pastor’s life. These letters paint a picture of the joys, challenges, and blessings that come along with being a pastor. Whether you feel called to vocational ministry, have an interest in what pastors actually do and go through, or simply want to read the journey of a pastor over the past forty plus years, this book is for you.

Bryan Sands, Director of Campus Ministires, Hope International University

 

Both the print book as well as the Kindle edition are available at amazon.com. The print book is also available at Barnes and Noble.com.

For more about the book or to order it from amazon.com click on the picture below:

pastor n people

If you would like to read the introduction to the book send me an email at bobmmink@gmail.com and I will send you a copy.

Please share this post on social media and feel free to comment below (especially if you have read the book).

Photo credit: courtesy of our grandson’s mother–our daughter.

 

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I’M EMBARRASSED

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the book of Jeremiah and was grabbed by the prophet’s assessment of the people in 6:15: “Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” I forgot about the verse until a day or two later when I came to Jeremiah 8:12 and the exact same assessment: “Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” I’ve been thinking about it on and off since I read it the second time.

What God said through Jeremiah about His people then could also be said about a lot of people today. Think about it. There doesn’t seem to be very much embarrassment today about much of anything. Jeremiah’s observation of “detestable conduct” in the NIV is rendered “disgusting actions” in the New Living Translation.

The reason people are not ashamed is because they don’t think what they are doing is disgusting. They may not be embarrassed, but I am. And I am not only embarrassed myself, I am embarrassed for them. To me disgusting actions demean the person or persons doing them.

It is true that what is detestable or disgusting to one person may not be disgusting or detestable to someone else. I agree that something could be acceptable in one context and not be acceptable in another one. I have no specific actions in mind, but I think things are different in mixed company and when children are present.

The point of Jeremiah’s indictment is the loss of awareness and sensitivity to what is inappropriate and out of place. Many of us have heard and seen so much that is disgusting and detestable we have become desensitized to it. And because of that we are no longer embarrassed by it like we used to be.

I’m not sure how we get it back, but I think we need to do so. We cannot raise other people’s standards, but we can raise our own.  We can ask the Lord to help us return to seeing what is disgusting as disgusting, being embarrassed by what is detestable, and blushing because of it.

We can take seriously the call of Romans 12:2 to “not conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of [our minds].” And we can commit to accepting the challenge of Philippians 1:27: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

I am embarrassed by the actions of others. But more than that, I am ashamed that I have gotten to the place where I am not more embarrassed by some of the things I say and do. Are you ever ashamed and do you ever blush?

I welcome your comments below and encourage you to share this post on social media.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/11652635@N00/2898403042″>I should have known better….</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

ARE YOU LISTENING?

While doing my cardio workout at the Fitness Center last week I watched as the gentleman in front of me on a stationary bicycle listened to two fellow exercisers talk.

The first guy went on and on about how bad the Lakers were. And it wasn’t just the players who were bad, he was really unhappy with the ownership and management. Based upon what I could hear I think he thought he knew a lot more about the Lakers and professional basketball than he does. After about 15 minutes he blustered off.

Right after the first guy left the man on the adjacent stationary bicycle dismounted and began to talk to the gentleman. He unloaded about a few subjects but mostly went on and on about the current state of politics. According to him no one really knows what they are doing. Again, based upon what I could hear I think he thought he knew a lot more about politics than he does.  After about 15 minutes he left.

As the gentleman on the stationary bicycle dismounted he accidently kicked my elliptical machine and apologized. I said, “You are a quite a listener.” To which he replied something along the lines, “Somebody has to do it, it’s very important.” He had not refuted either of them, or agreed with them, or joined in with them. He just listened. I told him I was impressed and thought that he could be a therapist. And I suggested that perhaps I should make an appointment to see him.

He told me he had been a probation officer for 30 years and had learned the importance listening. I told him I was a retired pastor and unfortunately had done too much talking and not enough listening. He then began to talk about his two uncles who were pastors and about his church. I was finished with my workout and needed to get going so I again affirmed him and told him he inspired me. We exchanged names and shook hands.

As I thought about what I had witnessed and our discussion it occurred to me that I missed a golden opportunity to follow his example. I wish I would have been more like him and invited him to say more. I’m pretty sure listening to him would have been well worth my time and encouraging.

My confession is that not just as a pastor, but in a lot others roles as well I have talked too much and not listened enough. I’m also fairly confident I really don’t know as much as I think I do. Don’t get me wrong: I have a lot to say that is worth hearing. But so do a lot of people I talk with and I am challenged and inspired to be a better listener.

I don’t need to always agree with what I hear nor do I need to always refute what I hear. Sometimes I just need to take the time and listen. If it’s important for me to be listened to, and it is, then it is also important for me to listen.

I look forward to seeing my new friend at the Fitness Center and talking with him.

Are you listening?

Feel free to comment below and share this post on social media.

P.S. If you’re really interested in the content of this post I encourage you to get and read a novel entitled The Listener by Taylor Caldwell first published in 1976. I’m confident you will not only enjoy the book but also be impacted by it.

 

 

GOD’S TOP 10 REVISITED

The 10 commandments were the heart of God’s expectations for His people in the Old Testament. There were many other “laws” as well in Exodus and Leviticus, but the 10 on the two stone tablets were the foundation for everything else.

Sometimes Christians wonder and ask if the 10 commandments are still binding on them. Does God expect us as followers of Jesus to obey them today? The short and not so simple answer is yes and no. In the New Testament Jesus has some important things to say about the Old Testament Law and Christians.

In Matthew 5:17 He seems to correct a misunderstanding when He affirms “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” While Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets in multiple ways, one was in giving the deeper meaning of six laws in the remaining verses of Matthew 5. Two of those laws were the sixth and seventh commandments and Jesus made it clear that the deeper meaning of these commandments were violated long before someone committed the physical acts of murder and adultery.

I am most intrigued by Jesus’ answer to a questioner who asked Him about the greatest commandment in the Law. His answer: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and He added “This is the first and greatest commandment.” Then He continued, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” He concluded His response with “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:35-40).

We can’t improve on what Jesus said, but there are a couple of summaries of the 10 commandments that do seem helpful. William Barclay suggests, “The whole of The Ten Commandments are based on two great principles. They are based on reverence, reverence for God, for God’s name, for God’s day, for the parents God has given to us. They are based on respect, respect for a man’s life, and possessions, and personality, and good name, and for oneself.”

J.I. Packer gives a paraphrase of the 10 commandments in what he calls “positive and Christian terms.” “You shall worship your covenant God exclusively and wholeheartedly, according to his own self-revelation, regarding him with consistent reverence and setting aside regular time for rest and worship in his honor; you should respect those who have nurtured you, and labor to sustain the family unit; you must do all you can to safeguard the life, sexual purity, property, reputation, and well-being of all you meet; and knowing that your God watches over you, you are to be content.”

As you reflect on Jesus’ take on the two greatest commandments, Barclay’s idea of reverence and respect, and the excellent paraphrase of Packer, do you think Christians today are called to obey the 10 commandments?

Comment below and share this post with others.

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