What are the top 10 books every pastor should read?

Have you ever tried to pick a favorite hymn or Scripture passage when asked? Impossible, isn’t it? At least it is for me. I had similar feelings when my pastoral interns asked me to pick my top books every pastor should read. Too many to choose from and where does the list end? Nevertheless, they demanded this of me and I conceded.

So, I thought I would share it with you hoping it might prioritize your reading list for the future. I have chosen my lists based on the 2 greatest needs I see modern pastors face:

How to do faithful pastoral ministry?

How to persevere in pastoral ministry.

Therefore, I have 2 categories of a top 10 list: One category of books that explain how to think through pastoral ministry as you do it; the other set to help a pastor remain steadfast in the work. These are books apart from the Practical Shepherding books we obviously commend to you also.  We welcome your thoughts.

Doing Pastor’s Ministry (Top 10 List)

Enduring Pastoral Ministry (Top 10 List)

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Practical Shepherding Events (Nov. 4-5) in Southern California

Brian Croft will be speaking at 2 back-to-back events near Los Angeles the first weekend of November.  Details and registration are below.  We hope you can come! Spread the word.


November 4th 2016, 7PM-9PM

Biblical Church Revitalization


Featuring, Practical Shepherding & Church in Hard Places.

*Refreshments will be provided by Children’s Hunger Fund

Fairview Heights Baptist Church, Inglewood, CA

Click HERE to Sign Up!

November 5th 2016, 8-12 Noon

Practical Shepherding Workshop


Featuring, Practical Shepherding

*Continental Breakfast provided by
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Western Bagel *Lunch provided by Chick-Fil-A

Calvary Bible Church, Burbank, CA

Click HERE to Sign Up!

Posted in Promotion, Training for Ministry

What are 10 things that might help a pastor and his wife stay married and in ministry?

Marriage is hard enough, but add ministry into the mix and you have a recipe for a potential mess.  My work with pastors and their families cause me to see a lot of the messiness that exists in pastors’ homes.  There’s plenty of the same mess in my own home.  The combined stress of marriage in ministry is a unique situation that demands an intentionality to keep a marriage or ministry from imploding.

Because of this, here are 10 things to consider that might help a pastor and his wife stay married and in ministry:

1. Be safe for each other in an unsafe church.  The reality is most churches are unsafe for a pastor and his wife to be open and vulnerable.  It is a real gift when a marriage can be a safe place for both a pastor and his wife to be themselves.

2. Establish boundaries together and keep them.  The pastor’s wife is usually the one with the most discernment on setting boundaries with the church.  Pastors, listen to your wife on these boundaries and work together to keep them.

3. Learn to rest.  Take all your vacation time the church gives you.  But even if you do that, it doesn’t mean you will rest well.  Learning to rest is learning to let go of all church matters and burdens while gone.

4. Carefully listen to each other.  I have spent most of my marriage not listen well to my wife.  I am aware of this epic failure and now trying to change that.  Listen to each other so you both know when there are cries for help when drowning in ministry and life.

5. Laugh a lot as a family.  Marriage and ministry are both very serious and heavy so much of the time.  Make sure you have times where you family is gathered around the dinner table or on the floor playing games or watching a movie laughing and engaged together.  It is life-giving to all.

6. Encourage your children to be themselves.  Pastor’s kids feel such pressure to be who everyone thinks they are supposed to be.  Encourage your children to be who they are with you and the church.  Try to embrace the good, bad, and the ugly of it.

7. Be willing to walk away from your ministry.  I constantly battle ministry being an idol in my life.  It is amazing how much more enjoyable ministry actually is when I realize it doesn’t define my value or who I am.  I have a daily gut-check on this by asking, “Can I walk away today if needed and still be all right?”  I have found that freedom makes ministry sweeter.

8. Find deep meaningful safe friendships.  My wife and I learned some painful lessons through our almost 20 years married and in ministry.  One is, we cannot meet all of each other’s needs.  Find deep meaningful friendships where you can be yourself and bring your darkest struggles.  Those friends might be in your church, but I would also look outside your church for those safe friendships.

9. Understand your roles.  Your wife in not your fellow pastor/elder.  Don’t treat her like one.  She is not to carry all the burdens you are called by the Chief Shepherd to carry.  Be mindful of this as you bring your ministry burdens home to your marriage.

10. Love Jesus the most.  If you love Jesus more than your marriage and your ministry, that is a wonderful, centered, and freeing place to be. Your spouse will fail you.  Your church will most certain disappoint you.  Jesus is always with you and never fails you.  He will be there to care for you if your marriage and ministry implodes at some point.

I chose the words, “might help” carefully for these are not at all 10 rules that will keep your marriage and ministry from imploding.  But, these 10 things might create some needed conversation with you and your spouse to keep your marriage and ministry pressing on for a bit longer.

Posted in Home and Family

How can a pastor help his children appreciate his work?

I recently spoke with a friend of mine whose pastoral difficulties in his church has spilled over into his family.  This is often times unavoidable, but when his children start to ask, “Daddy, why does our church hate us” it takes it to an entirely different level of concern.  What is a pastor to do?  I have several ideas, but I will start with this one:

Help your children see how important your work is to God

  God says through the Apostle Paul, this work of the pastor is a fine work (1 Tim. 3:1).  It is a work that constantly keeps us on the edge of life and death; the temporal and the eternal.  The pastor leads the central means (the local church) of which God chooses to usher in his coming kingdom in the world.  The work of the pastor is an important work, unlike any other labor in this world.  Pastors must first realize this themselves, be reminded of it in the midst of difficulty, then teach it to their children.  Suffering even at the hands of those you care for is a part of it.

The pastor needs to help his children realize that when their dad is working and away at different times, he is not goofing off.  He is not killing time and desiring to be away from them.  When their dad is away, he is doing a fine, unique, kingdom building work that serves Christ in a special way.

Pastors, teach your children how important your work is to God, how essential it is to the care of God’s people, and that it is worth suffering for it.  The question is…do you pastor, believe that, especially when our families suffer from it?

Posted in Home and Family, Oversight of Souls

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