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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most helpful, convicting, dignostic and Gospel-saturated books I've read this year
Thousands and millions of books are written every year, and every year I regularly read over one hundred books but very few of those books published and even fewer of those that I read are diagnostic books that punch you in the gut (in a good way to bring conviction of sin) by pointing out the weaknesses in pastoral culture and church life in order to help pastors see...
Published 20 months ago by Dave J. Jenkins

versus
55 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Challenging But Nothing New
I know this is an immensely popular book that God has used and I do not want to be contrapuntal, but honestly I was underwhelmed; here is what I thought of the work, positive and negative, honestly and plainly so you can decide for yourself.

Positives:
The work is clearly written, the author is very honest and clearly a humble man--I really respect that...
Published 18 months ago by Luke-carl.


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most helpful, convicting, dignostic and Gospel-saturated books I've read this year, October 31, 2012
This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
Thousands and millions of books are written every year, and every year I regularly read over one hundred books but very few of those books published and even fewer of those that I read are diagnostic books that punch you in the gut (in a good way to bring conviction of sin) by pointing out the weaknesses in pastoral culture and church life in order to help pastors see clearly their blind spots and point them to growth in the grace of God. Thankfully Dr. Paul Tripp a seasoned Pastor and counselor knows this which is why he wrote Dangerous Calling Confronting The Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry.

One of the more important trends I see happening in Christian publishing is an emphasize on Gospel centered growth in the grace of God. Added to this emphasis is a recent resurgence in books being published that emphasizes how the Pastor should be growing in the grace of God. Often such books on spiritual formation are written for the lay person so it encourages me when I see publishers like Christian Focus (who recently published Pastoring the Pastor) and now Crossway publishing Dangerous Calling addressing this issue in a way that doesn't burden Pastors but confronts them with the Truth of God's Word in order to help them see themselves as they are desperate needy sinners in need of Jesus and His grace.

There's an epidemic happening in pastoral ministry. In seminary future pastors are given a lot of information about theology, doctrine, church history and more to help equip them to preach, teach and minister to God's people. Sadly this emphasis on information focuses only on the head (knowing right doctrine is vital, so don't hear me arguing against that, my point is larger than this). My point is quite simply that Pastors are first Christians. The classical pastoral writers from the early church to the Reformation to the present have always focused on the character of the man which involves knowing right doctrine, but also being transformed by the doctrine we believe. In other words put more simply, sound doctrine leads to right living. What we believe has consequences so believing right doctrine should affect the way we live our lives before the throne of God's unending, everlasting grace.

Dr. Paul Tripp has personally experienced pastoral culture as a Pastor, as a pastoral counselor, seminary professor, and conference speaker. Having read most of Dr. Tripp's books one of the things I appreciate most about his style of writing is his goal to take Christians beneath the surface of our lives in order to point out indwelling sin and point out to the One in Jesus who longs for us to die to our sin, and turn from our sin to Him who can kill our sin and help us grow in the grace of God.

Paul Tripp's diagnosis is not only spot on about pastoral culture in Dangerous Calling but is confirmed by The Schaeffer Institute's [...] who did research on this issue. Their research pants a disturbing picture: 50 percent of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. Over 1,700 pastors leave the ministry every month. 70 percent of pastors constantly fight depression. 80 percent of pastors believe that pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.

Pastors read many books that fill their minds but not many that challenge them to take an honest assessment of where they are spiritually. Dangerous Calling was written to help diagnose your spiritual life and point you to the Lord Jesus. Dr. Tripp notes that with writing this book he has "launched myself on a ministry career direction to get help for pastors who have lost their way" (12), I applaud Dr. Tripp for this and pray the Lord blesses him and increases his tribe as he ministers to hurting Pastors.

At the heart of this book is the contention that "you are constantly talking to yourself about your identity, your spirituality, your functionality, your emotionality, your mentaility, your personality, your relationships, etc. You are constantly preaching to yourself some kind of gospel. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of your own righteousness, power, and wisdom, or you preach to yourself the true gospel of deep spiritual need and sufficient grace. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of aloneness and inability, or you preach to yourself the true gospel of the presence, provisions, and power of an ever-present Christ" (21). The main point that Tripp makes is that "no one celebrates the presence and grace of the Lord Jesus more than the person who has embraced his desperate and daily need of it" (23).

Now that you have some flavor of the direction the book the book takes let me share with you how this book ministered to me. I've written quite a bit in the past year about my own struggles with burnout in the past and how the Lord lead me through this season to grow in the grace of God. Since I've graduated from seminary this past May (May 2012) the Lord has by His grace increased my love not only for His Word (which I've been reading more regularly) but also for His people. Along with this desire for more of His Word and loving His people has come a desire to be more like Him. See what I just said there? The more we long for Jesus, the more we are in His Word the more we are going to long to be like Him. At the heart of the problem of pastoral burnout is the lack of wanting to be like Jesus. The reason why many seminary students struggle to grow in the grace of God is because they have become so focused on what they "know" that they miss the point and object of their faith--Jesus Christ and growing in His grace. As a seminary graduate I not only know this temptation myself, but have fell victim to it time and time again. Dr. Tripp also knows this temptation which is why he wrote Dangerous Calling.

Whether you are a seminary student, seasoned Pastor, Professor or whatever your station in life is, you need to read this book. Yes, this book was written to diagnose pastoral culture, but by extension, I believe this book addresses a rising epidemic that is occurring in the church. We have become a people focused on what we know about God but not about how He is transforming us. Again, I will note that I am not saying that what we know isn't important, as I've already stated that right doctrine is important but not ultimate. Knowing right doctrine ought to lead to right living. The reason this book was written was not to correct doctrine but to correct the false dichotomy between just living as if doctrine matters without being affected by it. It's the being affected by the doctrine we believe that Dr. Tripp is concerned about, and I agree with him. This is also why I believe that Dangerous Calling is a must read book for every Christian not just Pastors, because we all need to see ourselves as we are, in light of Jesus Christ and His perfect righteousness.

In conclusion (if its not already clear by the length of this review), this is a book I believe every Christian and Pastor must read. It's not often that I read a book that punches you in the gut (to lead you to repentance) and point you to the Lord Jesus Christ with balancing pastoral insight, biblical doctrine and practical application all in one book. Dangerous Calling is such a book which is why this book is hands down winning not only my favorite book of the year but is also the most convicting, encouraging and edifying book I've read all year. I highly recommend you get Dangerous Calling and as you read (as I did) I believe you will find the same as I did that Jesus will be at work in you (and through you) pointing out your sin and showing forth the beauty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ through the writing of Dr. Tripp.

Title: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry

Author: Paul Tripp

Publisher: Crossway Books (2012)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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55 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Challenging But Nothing New, January 2, 2013
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This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
I know this is an immensely popular book that God has used and I do not want to be contrapuntal, but honestly I was underwhelmed; here is what I thought of the work, positive and negative, honestly and plainly so you can decide for yourself.

Positives:
The work is clearly written, the author is very honest and clearly a humble man--I really respect that. This is clear because he shares multiple humbling stories about himself, mimicking Paul who preferred to boast about his weaknesses. The subject matter is pertinent because the three main sections of the work are: Examining [critique of] Pastoral Culture; Forgetting Who God Is; Forgetting Who You Are. Also, it is as one other reviewer said "gut-wrenching" in that there are specific sins brought to light and examined (such as being controlling p. 160). Impressively, while deeply challenging, the work is neither negative nor angry, something difficult to accomplish. The work really does make you think about whether or not you have anger residing in your heart and whether or not you are consistent with what you preach, it is very convicting.

Negatives:
This work really is not for everyone. It is a sampling of Dr. Tripp's experiences with pastors who have lost their way in some regard and have, essentially, shipwrecked their faith as Paul would say. If you have not--if you have a relatively pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith (1 Tim. 1:5) like Timothy did, then this work will be more of a warning with some smaller, specific parts of the work moving you to repentance. The work would probably never be thought of as original really since it is the application of current, popular (at lease in some circles) Tim Keller/John Piper Gospel Coalition principles of: Identity in Christ, Community, Preaching the Gospel to Believers, Accountability/Transparency, Passion, Awe of God, Servant-leadership. If these phrases are new to you or you simply appreciate being reminded of how they apply to particulars, you will love this work. If like me you are familiar (or overly-so) with the young, restless, reformed way of thinking, you will not find anything new.

In my estimation, Puritan works such as the Reformed Pastor or The Godly Home cover these same issues far better and with even greater precision and conviction.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Should have been shorter, July 24, 2013
This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
It appears that many Amazon reviewers like Dangerous Calling quite a bit. I am a little surprised. The pastoral staff at my church are reading this book together. We are close to finishing it, but I can tell we were tired of it a while ago. Several of us have admitted that at this point we're just skimming.

Tripp's points are fairly good, but I believe the reason it has gotten so dull is that this book is far too long. Each chapter would work far better as a blog post, perhaps even a 140 character tweet. I mean that. It is anything but concise. Further, while each chapter addresses a different problem, the solution is often the same, causing the book to feel repetitive.

The best example of this over-writing is that Tripp employs a technique in which, to emphasize a point, he will make a paragraph, even a full page of similar illustrations consisting of one sentence. For me, it comes across as sulfurous. Much of the book comes across that way. I believe the writing would be much stronger if Tripp tried to say more with less words.

Given the chance, I would watch the book trailer and not read the book. Having done that, I think I'd get the same out of it.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Pastor & Elder Board should read this, October 5, 2012
This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
I want to thank Crossway Publishing and especially Angie Chetham for sending me an advance copy of Dr. Tripp's new book. This book has just been released.

This new book by Dr. Tripp is one that every Pastor should put in his library and one that they should make a point of reviewing (re-reading) at least every 18 months or so. The book is an encouragement to Pastors about how serious the calling to Pastoral ministry is. It is also a reminder that if we are not careful we will fall into some very bad habits and wrong thinking that will bring harm to the Kingdom and disrepute to the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This book is also one that every Elder Board should take a look at. It will be helpful to remind them of the dangers of the Pastoral Calling and Ministry and what they can do as the church board to hold their Pastor's accountable as well as bring encouragement into their Pastor's lives.

The main concept that struck me most from this work was the idea that, "We do not teach well the word of God or serve the church well unless we are awestruck by the Power & Nature of our Lord and Savior." This was a central theme that was well developed, especially in Part two of the book. Most Pastors enter the Pastorate because at some point in time in their life they were "awestruck" by the power and majesty of the Lord. But as they continue to serve they often times find that the "awe" of the Lord starts to diminish. In place of that "Awe of God" they start to have an "awe of themselves!"

The book is divided into three sections.
· Section one examines the "Ministry Culture" that Pastors fine themselves in.
· Section two examines the "Danger of losing your Awe, i.e. forgetting who God is."
· Section three deals with forgetting who you (the pastor) are.

Dr. Tripp in section one deals quite a bit with reminding Pastors that they are taught in seminary that they should be a bit aloof from their congregation. They should live in isolation because of their calling. But he points out the dangers of this type of life style, how it has the tendency to cause the Pastor to feeling as though he is a bit above others, when in actuality we are the same when it comes to the chance of Satan hitting us with a bout of pride or arrogance. Now, he isn't saying that the Seminaries are teaching wrong things; he is just concerned that sometimes Pastors don't get a good picture of their need for accountability and how to be transparent and vulnerable with their congregation in ways that are building for them and the Kingdom.

I found myself in such agreement with the many things that Dr. Tripp wrote, and also found myself convicted of where my own attitudes and life style have fallen short, that I have ordered a case of these books to be delivered once they are printed so that I can share them with many Pastors whom I care about and feel will benefit from this book.

This book is not written for laypeople, it is written specifically for the clergy. BUT, if you are a layperson and you care about your pastor and the dangers that he faces on a regular basis you will also learn much from this well written text. Maybe you could also purchase the book as a gift for your pastor and give it to him along with a note of encouragement from you that you care about his life and ministry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book every pastor should read!, January 14, 2013
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This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
This book is a must read for everyone in ministry. It identifies real ministry issues that every minister faces in there personal life. Not only are these real issues identified but they are also solved from the truth of Scripture. I'm thankful that Tripp wrote this book and that I had the opportunity to read it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pastors, Elders, Seminarians: Read this Book!, November 26, 2012
By 
Gregory P. Hoadley (Ocala, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
Christians of all kinds need to be ministered to. This is true regardless of their financial status, vocation, nationality, and whether or not they were reared in a Christian household. For that, believers can be thankful for the ministry of the preaching of God's Word.

However, there is one group of people which is usually deprived of ministry, and thus left spiritually hungry. Which group is this? The answer will surprise many Christians: pastors.

Why is that? For many reasons, as Paul Tripp documents in his brand-new book, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry.

Tripp begins with a horror story of what can happen to many successful pastors: a man does well in ministry, but the persona he projects to his congregation is brazenly at odds with how he is behind closed doors: he is prideful, and often says contemptuous things about those whom God has charged him to minister. He is also increasingly distant toward his wife and children.

Who is this pastor that Paul Tripp is writing about?

Paul Tripp.

By God's grace, he came to realize that his life and ministry were headed for a wreck, and that he needed to be realistic about his own shortcomings.

But more than that, Tripp's main thesis is that pastors also are in need of the very gospel they are called to preach to others. So he seeks to encourage his readers to feed their own souls. Tripp's thesis:

"As a pastor, you'd better be ready to fight for the gospel, but you'd better also be ready to war for your own soul. You'd better be committed to being honest about the battles that are going on in your own heart. You'd better be prepared to preach the gospel to yourself. You'd better arm yourself for the inner conflict that greets anyone in ministry."

Furthermore, Tripp admonishes pastors to avoid the many traps that can overtake their ministries: overcoming a seminary mindset (i.e., valuing academics over ministering to people), being blind to one's own heart issues, avoiding the temptation to succumb to an isolated lifestyle, slouching towards mediocrity, and losing one's sense of awe.

Dangerous Calling also offers practical points to church governing bodies (sessions/classis/elder boards) to help their pastors get the ministry they so vitally need.

With so many pastors leaving the ministry every year, the publication of Dangerous Calling is a much-needed elixir. I encourage all pastors, seminarians, and elders to read it very carefully.
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Content - Though Some Critiques, October 27, 2012
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Amazon Customer (The State of Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
This book, "A Dangerous Calling" by Paul Tripp, is a book about pastoral ministry. However, it is not about the general aspects of pastoral ministry; it has a more specific focus. The focus is on pastoral ministry gone wrong. So this book is not for pastors who are generally on the right track of humble service. It is not for weary and fatigued pastors looking for refreshment, encouragement, and renewed motivation for ministry. It is not for pastors, seminarians, and churches who are looking for a book to challenge and encourage them to stay the course of biblical, pastoral ministry. It is for pastors and churches who have gotten off the biblical path of pastoral ministry.

I realize "A Dangerous Calling" is marketed as a book meant for all pastors, elders, and laypeople who want education in this area, but I don't believe it is for just anyone.* I'm actually a bit disappointed since I picked this book up hoping for a broader discussion of the pastoral ministry, including bold encouragement to stay the course in pastoring and preaching. Perhaps I shouldn't have trusted the marketing blurbs. Though everyone can certainly learn from different parts of the book, it really isn't for all pastors, elders, and laypeople.

Here's who the book is for: pastors who struggle with pride (thinking they are better than or above others in the church), hypocrisy (preaching godliness while living ungodly secret lives), mediocrity (writing sermons on Saturday), and formality (going through the motions of the ministry without the heart). Tripp does talk about a few more issues like those, but all the discussions fall under one of these things. Certainly most pastors (myself included!) struggle with some of these things from time to time, but the book is really for pastors who struggle with all of those things at once. For those pastors who do struggle with all these things at once - who are "off the track" - this book is exactly what they and their churches need! I cannot recommend it enough for that audience.

I should also mention a few subjective critiques. First, Tripp's writing style was tough for me to read. Many times in the book entire paragraphs were filled with rhetorical questions. This got overwhelming after the second chapter - I found it far too difficult to answer all those rhetorical questions (well over 100 in all). Also, the repetition in the book drove me crazy. Many paragraphs had sentences that started the exact same way. For example, on page 97 one paragraph contained "I knew..." ten times. This wouldn't have been annoying to me if it happened once or twice, but I was distracted by these things by the middle of the book.*

Before I conclude, I want to point out one sentence that summarizes a major argument of the book (concerning the pastor's heart). For the pastor, Tripp writes, "Public ministry is meant to be fueled and propelled by private devotion" (p. 197). Both are, of course, important, but I believe it would be better to say that public ministry is meant to be fueled by the gospel of grace rather than a man's devotion. Devotion is very important in the ministry, but, as John Newton's life showed us, a pastor can preach through spiritual coldness because grace is still grace and the gospel is still the gospel even when the pastor lacks devotion.* A pastor's devotion ebbs and flows, but the gospel and God's grace do not. On a related "grace" topic, I wish Tripp had talked about the Lord's Supper and how it feeds the pastor.

To summarize, this book is a valuable and essential resources for those pastors and churches who have gotten far off track in the pastoral ministry. For those pastors who think they run the show and are above the common parishioner, this book will be a ministry saver. For pastors who preach one thing and live another, this book will convict and lead to repentance. But if you're a pastor who is generally headed in the right pastoral direction - with humility, a true heart, and hope in the gospel - this book isn't one that will challenge, refresh, and encourage you along that path. "A Dangerous Calling" will, however, be helpful for many larger churches who have begun to exist more like a religious business than a body of Christ. And one of Tripp's oft-repeated phrases is indeed one all of us can take to heart: preach the gospel to yourself constantly!

NOTE: I've put an * by the three reasons why I gave the book a three-star rating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Diagnosis and Prescription, September 18, 2013
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This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
Paul Tripp is convinced there is a systemic problem with the pastoral culture. It may have its roots in the seminary culture and a system of education that turns the faith into something simply academic, it may have other roots in the way pastors view and treat themselves as believers who are somehow set apart from the normal course of discipleship that they preach to others, and it may have roots in church culture where pastors are not treated and handled as humans who need church community and the ministry of the gospel of grace. In any event Paul Tripp unpacks what has gone wrong and where we find evidence of these malfunctions in how pastors live, minister, and are viewed by the church culture.

The book is broken into three sections: Examining Pastoral Culture, The Danger of Losing Your Awe, and The Danger of Arrival. In the first the author builds a case that the dysfunctions he has seen through the years in pastoral ministry are not localized, but common among pastors, and possibly more ubiquitous than we would want to know. This section is also deeply concerned with how we have put ourselves in this situation. In the second he begins to trace a set of solutions through the need for ministers to maintain a deep and sincere sense of the greatness of God. We are not the all-in-all that God uses to minister the gospel. That would be him. In the third section he addresses the problem of pastors losing sight of who they are as sinners in need of grace under the rule and goodness of God. Our positions often lend themselves to heady successes or life-destroying failures. In each and every case, the pastor is a sinner saved by grace and in need of pastoral direction themselves.

I found many of Tripp's ideas and prescriptions helpful, and the kinds of things I hope I will come back to over the years of ministry God may grant me. I also saw myself and pastor friends in the sad stories he relates detailing where ministry can take its toll in life, family, and devotion. Beyond a simple exposition of what has gone wrong, Tripp's pastoral heart is exposed as he reveals things about his own short-comings, and spends a great deal of time offering solutions to the problems.

Pastors are not above being ministered to by the gospel they preach. They are not necessarily recipients of the truths they try to impart just because they work on it from week to week and deliver successful sermons. They are people who need to sit under their own preaching, have circles of people they trust who can do the hard work of pastoring them, and they need the right kind of open community of friends that a congregation provides. That last thought struck me as especially significant. We have created an atmosphere between pastors and churches where there is a manufactured disconnect between the two, which easily leads to short-term ministries and unrealistic expectations. Maybe a bumper sticker is in order, "Pastors are people, too."

This would be a great addition to the pastor's shelf to be pulled out in times of personal burn-out or distress, or in a season where a pastor needs to remind themselves of what makes for a healthy and long-term life of ministry. It would be helpful for boards and elders to read. In it they will find an honest exposure of a pastor's heart and life and find ways to be a significant support to them, and in turn, to the congregation they serve.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Digging Deep, March 28, 2013
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This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
The news regularly reminds us that ministers can easily lose their way, fall into traps, fumble, and just outright mess up their lives. The trouble is not primarily that this happens, but that so many pastors are caught off guard, and blind-sided. There is something like a fraternal fallacy poisoning the air of the pastoral brotherhood that seems to dull the clerical senses, so that pastors can't see the wheels coming off, or the red warning lights angrily flickering on the dashboard. Paul David Tripp has sought to bring some remedy to this condition with "Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry", a 224 page hard-back. The book is written principally for pastors and congregational leaders. It unfolds in three major sections that cover the pastoral culture, forgetting who God is, and forgetting who we, as pastors, are.
The first section, "Examining Pastoral Culture", covers seven chapters. The author dives right into the middle of the pastor-reader first thing, unpacking what are three significant signs that the ministerial train is heading for a wreck. In the second chapter Tripp lays out 9 more indicators that a Pastor is "losing his way." With brilliant insight, the author states, "If you are not feeding your soul on the realities of the presence, promises, and provisions of Christ, you will ask the people, situations, and things around you to be the messiah that they can never be" (36). Next he confronts what he calls academized Christianity. Here Paul Tripp focuses mostly on how seminary training has the tendency of making experts of the Word of God who are detached from the God of the Word. He doesn't place blame on the seminaries, but wants administrators and professors to see this propensity and become more pastoral toward their students. Chapter four is set up to help congregations who are looking for a new minister to think beyond a candidates' ministry profile, urging the search committee and congregational leadership to get to know the man (and his family) before they call him. "It is vital to remember that every pastor is in the middle of being reconstructed by God's grace" (68). Thereafter, Tripp addresses the problem of pastoral isolation, confronting it, and laying out several helpful recommendations toward the end of the chapter. Chapter six speaks to the need for a loving church-community, and that the Pastor is just as much in need of the congregational life as are the parishioners. A healthy congregation will be a means of grace to a pastor (and so, he to them). An unhealthy congregational environment will foster injurious assumptions about the pastor, and cause a congregation to respond improperly toward him. The final chapter in this portion brings out the importance of examining what is treasured by the pastor. Tripp reflects on Matthew 6.19-34 and asks the minister what it is that he treasures in ministry. His answer will expose the reason for his frustration, or his remedy and rest.
The second part of "Dangerous Calling" is titled, "The Danger of Losing Your Awe (Forgetting Who God Is)", and has four chapters. Tripp inaugurates this division writing about "glory wars". There is a conflict in each pastor over whose glory will win out. The author's goal is for pastors to be recaptured by awe of God. "...local church ministry is one big glory war. In every situation, location, and relationship of your ministry there is a war going on for what glory will magnetize your heart and, therefore, shape your ministry" (120). As the author moves on, he talks over ministerial fear. Tripp acknowledges that there are things to fear, and he also shows that there is a proper way to handle it. But most of all, our fear of God will always keep our other fears from becoming bigger than God. The tenth chapter takes on preaching. Tripp doesn't hold back but goes for the artery of mediocrity with regard to bland preaching, giving some helpful guidance on simple ways to rescue our preaching from insipidness. In the final chapter, Tripp exposes the death-dealing cycle of "having arrived" and entitlement-mindedness in pastors. This particular piece was rather challenging, but also a bit contradictory. For example, Tripp speaks harshly against "Law" sermons, and then launches into a Law sermon of his own that causes the reader to buckle over with guilt and shame.
The last subdivision has the heading, "The Danger of Arrival (Forgetting Who You Are), and encompasses four important topics, some of which have already been tackled earlier in the book. In this third section the redundancy becomes a little annoying, but is tolerable. The author takes the reader through an evaluation of self-glory, examining what it looks like in a pastor, and ways to change focus. Tripp also brings the pastor-reader back (for the third or fourth go-round) to the importance of personal times of worship and devotion, with a description of the "whys" and "whats". After scratching and clawing the way through the previous 13 chapters, this fourteenth Chapter starts shining a light of hope, with six clear reminders of what the Gospel means for pastors, and then 5 suggestions on how to close the "Gap" created by pastoral duplicity. Lastly, the reader arrives at the end of the book, and it becomes quickly obvious that this final piece ought to be both at the beginning of the book (with some "foreword" modifications) and here at the end, as well! Tripp walks the reader through a very encouraging, helpful explanation of 1 Peter 5.6-11 and applies it beautifully to the pastoral situation, with all of its troubles, fears, struggles, worries, and doubts.
"Dangerous Calling" is not for the faint-of-heart. As a matter of fact, if you are a pastor going through an ecclesiastical blood-bath in your church, beaten up and beaten to a pulp, I hesitate to recommend the book because I am concerned it would break your heart the rest of the way and leave you devastated. But if you choose to pick up "Dangerous Calling", I seriously advise you to start with the last chapter, read it slow, and read it on your knees. Once you can give thanks to God for what Paul Tripp describes there, then (and only then) can you take up the rest of the book and draw from it. And I would encourage you to return to the last chapter again and again while reading this work.
For most other pastors, "Dangerous Calling" would be an exceptionally good piece for you to study, especially with your pastoral staff or a ministerial alliance. As a matter of fact I and several friends in the ministry where I live have already set up time to inspect "Dangerous Calling" together over a four week period. I seriously recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DANGEROUS NOT TO READ, January 4, 2013
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This review is from: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Hardcover)
I bought this for my co-pastor for Christmas. Just before I was leaving town for a holiday, he said on the phone, "You're going to take it with you and read it before you give it to me aren't you?". That sounded like a great idea, and I'm so glad I listened.

I read a lot of books on ministry. In 2011/2012 alone, I read close to 50 books on church planting.

The very first book I ever picked up to read as a Christian was Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. That started a love affair with books on Christian ministry that has never abated. Spurgeon and Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones taught me through their writings as Paul did Timothy through his letters. I never saw them face to face, but I felt as if I knew them, and more importantly, as if they knew me.

It is very rare however that I feel a writer has nailed my heart to the wall.

Not just a write who has done that, but who has done it humbly, sensitively, and restoratively.

Paul Tripp's book is a masterpiece. It was said that the Puritans could communicate gospel truths so efficiently to their hearers and readers that they became Physicians of people's souls. That said, Tripp has performed open-heart surgery...at least on this guy.

I've heard people rave about their heart surgeons. Why? Simply because their quality of life has been so improved as a result of having been placed in their care. Tripp has given me something back in ministry....something that has been lost for some time.

He's given me back my worship of the Savior.

Sometimes we can miss the wood for the trees, and Dangerous Calling calls us to slow down and grab a leaf, study it's beauty, and trace the delicate veins.

Tripp is commendable in that he's extremely honest. He hasn't just told us what is wrong with us as ministers. He's modeled it through his own brokenness, and although he's unable to completely make us right, he's able to point us to the one who can make it right.

Sure, he's got practical steps. Things like:

Remember your place
Sit under your own preaching
Respond to biblical Counsel
But, in the end, Tripp simply, yet profoundly points us back to Christ as the Savior of all men, including preachers.

My constant cry in reading this was, "God save me from myself!". How could it not be? Tripp repeatedly confesses to having broken down weeping when writing, getting on his knees in worship, or confessing in brokenness.

Wiersbe said that books are like people. Some should be acquaintances, some friends, and others intimate lovers. I will place this book in the latter category.

Like Tozer's "The Pursuit of God", this book will be relegated to my "You'd better read this one every year" list.

From one minister to another, Paul, thanks.
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Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry
Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul David Tripp (Hardcover - October 31, 2012)
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