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A Portrait of Paul: Identifying a True Minister of Christ Paperback – October 1, 2010
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The apostle Paul has always been a hero whom I look to as a model for my ministry. His unrelenting faithfulness in the worst kinds of trials is a remarkable example to every pastor and missionary. In the midst of suffering, hardship, and (in the end) the abandonment of his own friends and fellow workers, Paul remained steadfast, dynamic, and utterly devoted to Christ. This invaluable study of Paul's life from Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker is a wonderful, powerful, soul-stirring examination of Paul's self-sacrifice and his unfaltering service to the church. It will both motivate and encourage you, especially if you re facing trials, opposition, or discouragement in your service for Christ. --John MacArthur, Pastor/Teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California and President of The Master s College and Seminary
The greatest need in churches today is for godly men to shepherd the flock of God. No church will rise any higher than the level of its spiritual leaders. Like priest, like people. To this end, Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker have done an exceptional job in providing a model for pastoral ministry, drawn from the extraordinary example of the apostle Paul. This book is built upon careful exegesis, proper interpretation, penetrating insight, and challenging application. Herein is profiled the kind of minister every church so desperately needs and what every true minister should desire to become. --Steven J. Lawson, Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama
This work on the Christian ministry is a clarion call to true devotion and piety in the pastorate. The theology is pure and the language is as powerful as it is beautiful. I pray that every pastor and congregant might take up this book and read it. It will hold a place in my library beside Baxter's Reformed Pastor, Bridges's Christian Ministry, and Spurgeon's Lectures. I will refer to it often. It will serve as a great antidote against all that might cause my heart to stray from Christ's call. --Paul Washer, Director of HeartCry Missionary Society
From the Inside Flap
What does a true pastor look like, and what constitutes a faithful ministry? How can we identify the life and labors of one called by God to serve in the church of Jesus Christ? To address these questions, Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker examine how the apostle Paul describes his pastoral relation to the people of God in Colossians 1:24 2:5. By discussing these essential attitudes, qualities, and characteristics of a faithful minister of Christ, A Portrait of Paul provides gospel ministers an example of what they should be, and demonstrates for churches the kind of pastors they will seek if they desire men after God's own heart.
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Ventura and Walker are both pastors who came to their common understanding of Paul and his ministry while preaching through the book of Colossians. Together, as they work through the end of the first chapter and the beginning of the second they indentify within it the key facets of Paul's ministry, keys that they feel all pastors should both identify and pursue. There ten, including joy, focus, essence, goal and conflict. Each chapter contains a discussion of that facet of ministry for Paul, a discussion that goes beyond the letter to the Colossians but includes relevant material from Acts and the other Pauline letters. The chapters then have two closing sections, one addressed to the Christian reader and one addressed to pastors. It is in the closing sections of the chapters where the authors speak directly to the hearts of their readers in commending the qualities found in Paul's ministry as the essential qualities for all ministers.
While Ventura and Walker use Colossians as their stepping-off point, they don't limit themselves to that text, as their exploration of Paul's ministry is saturated in both Biblical texts and the work of other authors, particularly the Puritans. In the 21st century there is a plethora of ministry leadership books, with a broad range of suggestions and recommendations for those who serve in pastoral leadership, works that are unfortunately reliant on methods that work in business and/or make accommodations to the culture of our day. Ventura and Walker have gone back to draw from Paul, the example par excellence, without apology to the trends of our day, to give direction and encouragement to those who seek to shepherd God's people well today. I highly commend this book and have added it to those resources I intend to return to for guidance and encouragement in my own ministry.
As a pastor, I needed this book. There were sections I read which brought me to tears as I realized just how frail and unbiblical a pastor I am. While it may surprise some to hear that a pastor is not perfect (some pastor's actually suffer from a "God-complex!"), I can readily admit that I have much room for improvement. Especially when compared to the "job description" laid out for us by Paul in Colossians 1:24-2:5.
If you are a pastor, please pick up this book. If you are thinking about going into the ministry, this book is an must read-you may quickly learn that the pastoral calling is not for you! If you have a pastor, pick up a copy today and give it to them. We are indebted to Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker for writing this book. While many may not read Baxter's Reformed Pastor because it was written so long ago by a (gasp!) Puritan that it can't possibly speak to us today, they would readily pick up this book given its "modern" take on the ministry. In so doing, they will be the greater for it and the congregation in which they are the undershepherd will reap the benefits.
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