Book Review 9: “Portraits of a Pastor” by Jason K. Allen


In a collection of essays that outlines the nine essential roles of a church leader, Jason K. Allen, general editor of Portraits of a Pastor, organizes an excellent book that explains the many roles a pastor has. He also contributes written material to this book; he writes the introduction (which is an excellent one), chapter three (which focuses on the pastor as preacher) and the conclusion (which is a sixfold urge to press on in various important works as a pastor). Eight other individuals contribute to this book. Each contributor uses an excellent amount of Scripture in explaining the various roles.

In chapter one, Jared C. Wilson explains what a pastor must do as a shepherd (pp. 15-32). Wilson rightly handles Scripture in explaining how a pastor as a shepherd feeds the sheep, loves the Lamb and trusts the Good Shepherd (pp. 18-32). In chapter two, Daniel L. Akin explains the pastor’s role as husband and father (pp. 33-56). Akin does an excellent job in explaining what it means for a pastor to love his wife and train up his children (pp. 38-55). While I do not agree with his citation of Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrase of the Bible, he is basically spot-on in the rest of his chapter (p. 50).¬†As mentioned, Jason K. Allen writes the third chapter about the pastor’s role as a preacher (pp. 57-70). Specifically, Allen both defines “preaching” and explains the six characteristics of a faithful preacher (pp. 61-70).

Owen D. Strachan writes chapter four, a chapter about the attitude, confidence and work of the pastor as a theologian (pp. 71-90). In doing so, Strachan rightly handles 2 Timothy 1:5-14 in explaining each of the three aforementioned aspects (pp. 73-90). In chapter five, Christian T. Jones writes about the pastor’s role as a church historian (p. 91-106). He does three things in this chapter: he defines church history, he explains why church history should be studied, and he gives strategies on how to incorporate church history in one’s life, family and ministry (pp. 93-106). While I am not sure he has a right grasp of Ezekiel 37, he does make good points on church history’s importance (p. 96). In chapter six, John Mark Yeats writes about the pastor’s role as evangelist (pp. 107-124). In addition to giving an alarming statistic on the Southern Baptist Convention’s baptism numbers in 2014, Yeats rightly handles Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:6-8 and Matthew 10 as he explains this “evangelist” role for the pastor (pp. 107-108, 110-113).

In chapter seven, Jason G. Dueling writes about the pastor’s role as missionary (pp. 125-146). In doing so, he addresses what a pastor needs to know about missions, why a pastor should be a missionary, and how a pastor can most faithfully be a missionary (pp. 128-146). In chapter eight, Ronnie B. Floyd writes about the pastor’s role as a leader (pp. 147-160). In this chapter, he both interestingly frames this role through the lens of a “brand” and gives seven (mostly) manmade practices for every pastor as it pertains to being a leader (pp. 147-160). To conclude the “chapter” part of this book, Donald S. Whitney writes about the pastor’s role as a man of God (pp. 161-177). Whitney both relies heavily on the Scriptures and rightly handles the Scriptures as he describes this role.


This book places much value on God’s word. Furthermore, the writers accurately handle God’s word. Finally, the book offers solid practicality on each of the various roles a pastor has. As a result, this book is definitely a must-read. Any book that both places much value on God’s word and gives a fine effort in rightly handling it should be in every Christian’s library. Portraits of a Pastor is an excellent book that both values God’s word and goes to it early and often in explaining the various roles a pastor has.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s