I regret not reading more from Eugene Peterson after reading his book “Under the Predictable Plant”. After 30+ years of ministry, he writes this book back to address many of the issues he faced through his early years in ministry, wishing someone had written this for him at that time. He shares his thoughts primarily through the lens of the story of Jonah and calls his readers to “vocational holiness”…to embrace a life of ministry that is coherent and where personal and professional spirituality go hand in hand.
Peterson doesn’t hold much back in this book. In his usual colorful language, he tells stories from his childhood that impacted his spiritual formation and understanding of what ministry is all about. He tells stories from his early days in ministry, his misconceptions and is very real about his own humanity and fallibility.The story about him making things up about his failings in ministry to his accountability board and them not responding is worth the price of the book…you will have to read that one for yourself. Priceless but sad.
This book is a call back to reality and back to the fertile ground of local ministry…loving and appreciating the people we minister with, learning not to resent people, God or the church…and beginning to see the exciting in the seemingly mundane.
This is one of those books that I could have underlined the things I didn’t want to remember as it would have taken less time. I would encourage every single minister to read this book, especially those in their first 3-5 years of ministry. You won’t regret it. There are so many stories I would love to recount from this book and so many points that his me right between the eyes…but I will leave that for you to discover on your own.
This may be the best book on local, pastoral ministry I have ever read.