KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Midwestern Seminary announced today that the second volume of Letters to My Students, authored by President Jason Allen, was released by B&H Publishing on June 1.
The series, which launched in the summer of 2019, aims to provide accessible guides for ministers and ministers-in-training and was inspired by Allen’s interest in and interactions with the book Lectures to My Students by renowned British pastor C.H. Spurgeon. This 176-page second volume—“On Pastoring”—brings both biblical and practical wisdom to bear on the task of pastoral ministry in particular.
Within the book, Allen highlights four themes related to the pastor’s role and responsibilities: the pastor’s calling, his duty to minister the Word, his commitment to high accountability, and his responsibility to tend to his flock.
Ultimately, Allen said his goal in penning this second volume is to provide pastors, in any phase of their ministries but particularly those in the early stages, with an accessible, practical guide to the everyday tasks involved in pastoral ministry.
Specifically, Allen explained that this book builds on the series’ first volume by keeping the pastor’s responsibilities outside of the pulpit in view.
“Letters to My Students, Volume 1: On Preaching dealt with the primary responsibility the pastor undertakes—preaching,” Allen said. “For every local church minister, the preaching and teaching of the Word of God must be priority number one.
“Yet so much more happens during the week outside of the pulpit. That’s where faithful pastors are called to stand in the gap for their people day in and day out. Indeed, the complexities of our times, the rapidly shifting culture that we inhabit, and the multifaceted challenges confronting local churches mean that pastors need to be well-equipped, deeply devoted, and joyously realistic about what is before them. I hope this book will serve pastors toward these ends.”
Allen noted that the book touches on matters of both doctrine and practice: “Within this book, we will discuss topics such as how to officiate a wedding and how to practice church discipline. We explore why meaningful church membership matters and how to ensure it. We talk about matters relating to personnel, life planning, outreach, and protecting and strengthening one’s family.”
According to Allen, these contributions make Letters to My Students: On Pastoring unique among books previously published on the topic of pastoral ministry.
As to the role Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students played in his formulating this book project, Allen explained that its significance is great. “From the earliest days of processing my call to ministry, Charles Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students proved not only insightful but transformative,” Allen said. “Spurgeon’s classic work spoke to me then, and it still speaks to me today. Similarly, I’ve found myself over the years fielding countless questions from seminary students, local church pastors, and all those engaged in ministry service.
“Therefore, I took a similar approach as Spurgeon did and sought to address real-world, practical questions about local church ministry service in this series, and for this volume, in particular, questions and issues related to pastoral ministry.”
Pastors and educators from within the Southern Baptist and broader evangelical world have commented on the book’s value and importance to its readership.
“‘The call to pastor is the highest calling known to man.’ This quote from my friend, Dr. Jason Allen, sets the tone for his new book, Letters to My Students: On Pastoring,” said Steve Gaines, senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn. “In this excellent work, Dr. Allen encourages and challenges local church pastors to willingly, prayerfully, and soberly embrace the daunting tasks that are involved in leading a local church. This work is filled with encouraging, practical information and challenges for every pastor.”
“The call to be a pastor does not come with automatic insight, knowledge, or competency,” said Herschel York, dean of the School of Theology and Victor and Louise Lester professor of Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. “Consequently, every shepherd sometimes finds himself overwhelmed, overworked, underappreciated, and unprepared for the deluge of demands on his time and the constant drain on his spirit. That is precisely the moment when someone needs to put a copy of Jason Allen’s Letters to My Students in his hands.”
Reflecting on what he hopes readers will take away from this second volume, Allen said he desires for pastors to develop a greater love for the local church while gaining a deeper sense of the weightiness and joyfulness of the pastoral call.
Allen also expressed gratitude to the men and women who worked alongside him to publish the book, saying, “It has been a privilege to partner once again with the B&H Publishing team to produce a book that, I pray, will benefit the next generation of pastors to develop and grow as they carry out their significant responsibilities at home and in their ministries to local churches.”
To learn more about the series or to purchase a copy of Letters to My Students, visit LettersToMyStudents.com.