Pastors need practical training too…

I saw an article yesterday arguing that the reason many church leaders were leaving their roles is because they were not fulfilling the biblical requirements for being elders. This can definitely be case, but I don’t think it’s that simple. Many pastors can leave the ministry because…

  1. Pastors may get the theory of ministry in seminary, but they might lack the practical experience in church
  2. Pastors can put unrealistic expectations on themselves
  3. Churches can expect unrealistic things from their pastors
  4. Ministry is hard!
  5. It is easy for pastors to care for others and to train others, without making sure they are receiving the care and practical training and on going support that they need

Let’s hone in on that last one a little bit…

We’ve been in lockdown for around a year now (in the UK at least). It has been tough. Your pastor is probably feeling it more than you realise. He might even be considering leaving pastoral ministry or needing to take some serious downtime. As a pastor let me be honest, we aren’t always great at reaching out and seeking the help we need. However, here is a resource that I genuinely think will help every pastor out there.

I’m not going to say that this is a book every pastor needs to own, but it certainly is a helpful book that will encourage, challenge, spur on a pastor, his family and his church.

Practically Trained Pastors is a 52 weeks field guide for pastors. A book that gives weekly assignments; something to read, listen to and watch. Each week gives a passage from the Bible for a pastor to read, a few pages from other Practical Shepherding books to read, some dangers and actions for pastors to do, videos to watch and reflection questions at the end.

I like this guide because it is super practical, Croft and Carroll bring their experience of ministry to the table and their heart is for pastors to b better equipped to fulfil their roles as undershepherds. Another thing that I like about this guide is that is doesn’t only speak about the day in and day out of ministry. The guide is split into 7 parts;

  1. The Pastor’s Ministry
  2. The Pastor’s Soul
  3. The Pastor’s Family
  4. The Pastor and Church Revitalization
  5. The Pastor and Church Planting
  6. The Pastor and Kingdom Partnership
  7. The Pastor and Self-Awareness

This guide takes an ‘all of life’ approach to the practical training of pastors and it is needed. Along with this book you’ll be reading other resources from Practical Shepherding that really help reinforce what Croft and Carroll are teaching. You can buy just this guide by itself, or as a set with the other titles that you’re supposed to read alongside it.

If you buy the whole set (11 books, including the guide) it is just under £60, but it will be such a great support, encouragement and means of further training and equipping for any pastor. I genuinely wish I had this set when I started out in ministry and will probably buy the whole set as I don’t have all of the books that are included in the set. I read this book over a long period of time, watched the videos, did most of the accompanying reading and it was time well spent. My wife and I plan to read through it together soon. I highly recommend this to you if you are a pastor and I also recommend it as a gift for your pastor if you’re looking to bless him. Grab the guide here, or the set here.


Brian Croft is the former Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky and is the Founder and Executive Director of Practical Shepherding, Inc. He is also Senior Fellow for the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization and an Adjunct Professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served in pastoral ministry for over twenty–five years, spending seventeen of those years as Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church.

James Carroll has been the Lead Pastor at Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, KY since 2010. He holds two degrees (M.Div., D.Min.) from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has authored 2 books (Facing Snarls and Scowls and Collateral Damage). He’s married to Mikila and they have a daughter and a son.

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