How to Care for Your Pastor: A Guide for Small Churches, by Kent Philpott. Webster, NY: Evangelical Press, 2008, xiii + 128 pages, $13.99, paper.
Disappointment is a routine part of pastoral life and is especially acute in small churches where personal and financial resources are few and prospects for growth slim. Many pastors wonder if anyone in the congregation really cares about them. Pay is often meagre; expressions of concern for the pastor and his family’s well-being come infrequently or not at all. In some churches little energy is spent caring for anyone in the church. The hurt can be deep. Pastors would like to articulate their hurts to the church, but do not—they do not want to offend, appear self-pitying, or expose themselves to rejection.
What many smaller church pastors are afraid to do for themselves, Kent Philpott does for them. He writes with smaller churches in mind and counsels them on how they can better care for their shepherds. The author is well qualified; when How to Care for Your Pastor was published he had more than forty years of experience, much of it in a small California congregation.
Through much of the book I nodded my head in agreement. Seemingly little things—like punctuality and words of thanks—are big encouragements. Money for books and classes must not escape the congregation’s notice if they want their pastor to grow as a minister of the Word.
The author encourages a proper congregational mindset. Its pastor is not exempt from the problems common to a fallen world. Not only does he experience the same trials as his flock, but he struggles with many of the same temptations and sins. A fact that should be obvious—the pastor’s humanity—must not be forgotten.