Harold L. Senkbeil, The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019, xxvi+ 296, $15.85, hardcover.
The COVID pandemic has interrupted our face-to-face relationships. Recently a friend mentioned that his choir scheduled a Zoom meeting so everyone could see and hear each other. The goal was to maintain contact and encourage; but he said it had the opposite effect on him. The online gathering left him even more pained, reinforcing what has been lost and intensifying the pain of separation.
True pastoral ministry must be face-to-face. There is no substitute for it. Too often books on pastoral ministry focus on technique, offering skills that pastors must have to manage people, in this case the church. They frequently pass over the ongoing personal encounters that are vital to pastoral ministry – encounters undertaken by Christ’s undershepherds and grounded in the word of God. As the word is preached and taught, the church is gathered, fed, nourished, and protected. Whether in the pulpit, visiting in the home, or counseling in the study, pastoral care is the ministry of the word.