The Pastor: A Memoir

The Pastor: A Memoir

4.4 10
by Eugene H. Peterson

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America's pastor to pastors and translator of the multi-million selling The Message, Eugene Peterson's memoir of stumbling into his vocation and the surprisingly difficult journey to discovering what pastors were actually supposed to do.  See more details below


America's pastor to pastors and translator of the multi-million selling The Message, Eugene Peterson's memoir of stumbling into his vocation and the surprisingly difficult journey to discovering what pastors were actually supposed to do.

Editorial Reviews

Eugene H. Peterson (The Jesus Way; Practice Resurrection) thinks of himself as a scholar and a writer and certainly his bibliography of over thirty books supports that predisposition. On the other hand, he never sought to be a pastor. When, in 1962, that position was thrust upon him, he entered the job without metaphorical training wheels, learning step-by-step what he imagined that others knew instinctively. The Pastor is an anecdote-filled memoir of his nearly three decades of his hard-won education. Along the way, Peterson offers telling wisdom about human relations, church marketing, preaching in a mega-church world, and diluting the gospel message in a glitzy secular world.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are saying about this

Dallas Willard
“If you are hoping to be a pastor, or just to understand what that is, get this book and soak in it for at least three full days with no distraction. It may save your life and make you a blessing.”
Philip Yancey
“I’ve been nagging Eugene Peterson for years to write a memoir. In our clamorous, celebrity-driven, entertainment culture, his life and words convey a quiet whisper of sanity, authenticity, and, yes, holiness.”
William Paul Young
“Eugene Peterson excavates the challenges and mysteries regarding pastors and church and gives me hope for both. This a must read for every person who is or thinks they are called to be a pastor and for every person who has one.”
Dale T. Irvin
“More than a gifted writer, Eugene Peterson is a voice calling upon the churches to recover the vocation of the pastor in order to experience the renewing of their faith in the midst of an increasingly commercialized, depersonalized, and spiritually barren land.”
Richard J. Foster
“If anyone knows how to be a pastor in the contemporary context that person is Eugene Peterson. Eugene possesses the rare combination of a pastor’s heart and a pastor’s art. Take and read!”

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Pastor 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
ReadingRoom More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent memoir written by a great man. Eugene Peterson became famous after publishing his Bible translation "The Message". A pastor himself, he gives encouragement and hope to pastors, especially those who are finding ministry difficult. I really think that all pastors should read this book, but let's not stop there. I think congregations would benefit from this book as well, as it would give them insight into the pastoral role and will change the way you view and treat your pastor. This was a great book.
stephenNcollins More than 1 year ago
This book fed my soul. Peterson masterfully weaves his personal story together with wisdom to American pastors. The book revolves around a decision Peterson made when he first started pastoring to reject the "church growth" models that were gaining popularity and focus on discovering with his congregation what it meant to be a people of God formed by the Spirit of God. How that took shape over the next 29 years of ministry in the same congregation is a beautiful story for all pastors (especially young pastors) to learn from.
mojo_turbo More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book because I saw Eugene Peterson speak at the Catalyst Conference; and being at the very beginning of my own pastoral career, I knew I could do well with having some outside voices speak into my situation. And you could argue that Eugene is Presbyterian and I am not, that he grew up in a different culture and generation than I did and that the world of ministry looks very different today: all true. But, I don't know if that means that the role that the pastor plays is any different - and I think Eugene would agree. The Pastor is not so much a book as it is a story, what I mean is. it's a journey of how Eugene planted a church, grew a congregation, built a sanctuary and traveled through the "badlands" of ministry. And as a memoir goes, it had all of the things I was hoping for, funny stories about growing up and being a pastor, how he met his wife, the journey of starting and growing a church, some of his weekly practices, good books he recommends, and some really great biblical application. But to read this book is really to read Eugene's story, so it wouldn't be right for me to tell it here, but there are a few of the things that resonated with my own story: First, Eugene talks about the role of pastor being a vocation and not a "job." I've said it a million times, the job of being a pastor is one of the weirdest careers of all time. From the outside it doesn't look like any other nine to five on the planet. But Eugene would rather you think of it as a vocation. With a job, you can walk away from it, you can separate your work life from your home life, and certainly Eugene talks about having a Sabbath rest and "getting away" now and then - but a vocation is a calling - it's a lifestyle of living with a community of people. How does one do that? Second, Eugene talks about being a "contemplative pastor" and not a "competitive pastor." What's the difference? A competitive pastor is always looking to the next project, and is constantly "measuring up" their church activity and the spiritual growth of its members. A competitive pastor has an agenda; has goals and is pushing their way towards those goals. But in the end, these are still people's lives. and while we (as pastors) might feel called to "change people" and perhaps feel like a failure if people don't rise to the occasion, tithe more, become prayer warriors, volunteer, help, join in, memorize, or in any other way mature into the mile marker we have set for them. we have to be able to live comfortably within the space God calls us to. A contemplative pastor is a pastor who is able to be with people "without having an agenda for them, a pastor who is able to accept people just as they (are) and guide them gently and patiently into a mature life with Christ but not (getting) in the way, (by letting) the Holy Spirit do the guiding." page 211 And the life of being a pastor is finding the balance of merging these two things together - you and the congregation. Eugene talks about how this merging sometimes breaks. "I had been shifting from being a pastor dealing with God in people's lives to treating them as persons dealing with problems in their lives. I was not being their pastor. I could have helped and still been their pastor. But by reducing them to problems to be fixed, I omitted the biggest thing of all in their lives, God and their souls, and the biggest thing in my life, my vocation as pastor. I was trading in the complexities of
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Eugene Peterson's writings and find them helpful as a pastor. This book may surpass His others. He is a master with words that express great thoughts and theology.
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