Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read

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Author: Christopher Ash


But Is Too Embarrassed to Ask

What do you think about your pastor? Do you chew over his sermons and wonder if they are clear and helpful? Do you feel he spends enough time with you? In fact, do you ever catch yourself wondering what he does all day?

The truth is, often we think, "What can my pastor do for me?" Far less often do we think, "What can I do for my pastor?"

Seasoned former pastor, Christopher Ash, urges church members to think about pastors not just in terms of what they do – how they lead and pray and preach and teach and so on – but about who they are. He encourages us to remember that pastors are people and to pray for them as they serve us.

Paradoxically, caring for our pastor will be a blessing to us as well as to them, and create a culture of true fellowship in our church family.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • The pastors’ Hall of Faith
  • Why look after your pastor?
  • Seven virtues of church members that impact our pastors:
  • 1: Daily repentance and eager faith
  • 2: Committed belonging
  • 3: Open honesty
  • 4: Thoughtful watchfulness
  • 5: Loving kindness
  • 6: High expectations
  • 7: Zealous submission
  • Somebody needs to really know your pastor!
  • Conclusion: Where do we go from here?


About the author:

Christopher Ash has been a pastor, and is now an author and writer-in-residence at Tyndale House, Cambridge. He was Director of the Proclamation Trust’s Cornhill Training Course from 2004-2015. He is married to Carolyn and they have four children and five grandchildren.


I was delighted that Christopher Ash’s new book unpacks the overlooked exhortation of Hebrews 13 v 17, namely, that it is the responsibility of the sheep to make the shepherd's work a joy and not a burden. Christopher lays out seven ways to do so. I know of no other book like this—it is a "charge to the congregation" that is more specific and practical than anything else you will find in print. ~Timothy Keller, Pastor Emeritus, Redeemer Presbyterian Churches

Too many pastors today are discouraged, isolated, and weary, and it shows in the alarming rate of drop-out from pastoral ministry. In this book, Christopher Ash has pooled his extensive experience and wisdom to produce a book that could help make a real difference. If church members and leadership teams can read this book, we could help more pastors persevere and thrive in their ministry to us. ~Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology

Christopher Ash has served churches well for decades now, at Cornhill, in a local church, through his writings (how about that Job commentary?!). Now he provides a most unusual service. A modern take on an old form—the Church Member's Handbook—Christopher has asked the simple question, "How can I love and serve my pastor, in a way that will do him, his family and our church good?" The answer is straightforward, biblical and life-giving. Careful and loving, this in fact IS a book your pastor wishes you would read (but we ARE too embarrassed to ask you). Thanks, Christopher! ~Mark Dever, Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC

In the short time it will take to read this book, a radical shift may well take place—a shift in orientation from asking “How is my pastor doing in meeting my needs?” to “How am I doing in caring for my pastor?” ~Nancy Guthrie, Author and Bible teacher

The shepherd tends the flock—we get that—but whoever thought of the flock looking after the shepherd! Christopher Ash has and, with his usual clarity and kindness, shows us what that means and why it matters. ~Alistair Begg, Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Cleveland, Ohio; Bible teacher, Truth for Life

We expect pastors to read quite a lot—of Scripture, and of books that help them understand and explain Scripture—so that they become better able to meet us in our need. The book you are holding in your hands is not one of those books. Rather, it is a book to help church members understand Scripture better so that they become better able to meet pastors in their need. After all, don't you want their work to be a joy, not a burden (Hebrews 13:17)—a joy and not a burden both to them and to the sheep in their flock? I wonder how much the fruitful and happy functioning of a local church turns on believers who are grateful encouragers of their pastors, prayerful warriors who draw out from their under-shepherd the very best he can give them! ~D.A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and President of The Gospel Coalition

Christopher Ash has a special knack of putting his finger on the sensitive nerve-endings of churches and their pastors. This book is no exception. It contains the wise fruit of many years of church membership and a wide knowledge of ministers and their ministry. If we will "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" these pages, both our churches and our ministers will be healthier and happier. Here is a book to be read by the leadership of every Christian fellowship! ~Sinclair B Ferguson, Ligonier teaching fellow and Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary

Whose job is it to care for the senior minister, pastor or vicar? Their wives (if they’re married)? Their colleagues? The local Presbytery or area Bishop? While each of these may have a role to play, the Bible is clear that it's actually the church family who have the main responsibility of supporting, encouraging and praying for their leaders. My observation over the years is that some churches are doing this well but others are not. Some energize their leaders very successfully but others suck the life out of them! So how are we to encourage our church leaders and make their work a joy rather than a burden? With clarity and insight, Christopher shows us what we should be doing and why it's in our best interests to do so! ~Carrie Sandom, Director of Women’s Ministry at the Proclamation Trust, London

We know that pastors care for the church, but who cares for pastors? The church does! Let Christopher Ash introduce you to a new category: caring for your pastor so your pastor can happily care for you. ~C.J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville