Gospel-Driven Ministry: An Introduction to the Calling and Work of a Pastor


Gospel-Driven Ministry: An Introduction to the Calling and Work of a Pastor


Jared C. Wilson (foreword by Ray Ortlund)


Zondervan Reflective

Publication Date:

March 2, 2021




256 pages


Pastors have to do many things. They have to preach. They have to counsel and disciple their congregants. Although it’s not mentioned much nowadays, they have to minister to people in their last hours. Obviously, this is a great deal of responsibility, which raises the question, how do pastors prepare for all this? Jared Wilson argues that the first step, in fact the most important step, is to focus on the Gospel. By reading the Gospel, coming back to its ideas and being renewed by its message, pastors learn to live a life of worshipping which prepares to them to pastor churches well. Wilson unpacks what it looks to live this gospel-centered approach, breaking down the pastor’s role into key areas:

  • The Pastor
  • The Power
  • Worshipping
  • Preaching
  • Caring
  • Leading
  • Fighting (and Making Peace)
  • Living
  • Dying

Each section gives readers an overall vision of what it means to do the job well, but also includes plenty of practical tips for the everyday stuff (such as how to write a good exegetical sermon).

Wilson’s previous book, a somewhat satirical book titled The Gospel According to Satan, dealt with ways that the Gospel message can be skewed and misused. That book did an excellent job of pointing out how easy it is to get off track from the basics, and emphasizing the trouble that Christians often get in when they fell for explanations or lifestyles that fall short of the Gospel. Here he goes for something more straightforward, with simple sentences and clear takeaways. Frequently he tells stories based on his own pastoral career, humbly admitting what he got wrong and capturing the moments when he learned things unexpectedly. This simplicity and humility (combined with a sense of how much joy the Gospel brings) allow him to cut through “the spin” and the easy answers that often come from writers that treat pastoring as just being preaching or a Christian version of motivational speaking.

A delightfully wise book about one of the most misunderstood professions in America.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Pastors of any denomination or career stage, perhaps particularly young pastors or seminary graduates entering the pastorate for the first time.

Christian Impact

Wilson points pastors back to the message that should define their lives and their ministry careers, the Gospel message itself. By centering pastoral work in that context, he stresses the need for humility, conviction and joy that should define pastors’ attitudes and interactions.

Note: Readers who enjoy this author may like his previous book, The Gospel According to Satan, and his similarly-titled The Gospel-Driven Church. To read ECLA’s reviews of those books, go to:

Gospel-Driven Ministry: An Introduction to the Calling and Work of a Pastor

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