12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Courageous Endurance in Pastoral Ministry (Book Review)

This book contains twelve short chapters, each highlighting a different man, and written specifically to encourage pastors; however, any believer who is actively living out their faith would benefit by reading about these incredible men of God.  Most of them were familiar names; men like Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, John Calvin, and Charles Spurgeon, but also included are people I had never heard of, whose stories are not well known.

The theme of the book is faithfulness to God’s call on our lives in the face of every kind of discouraging, challenging, heartbreaking circumstance.  The first chapter highlights the apostle Paul who set the bar for affliction in the Christian life.  This paragraph from the Foreword gives a glimpse of the stories to come:

Young pastors today are often cool, impressive, and popular.  But the pastoral ministry that has borne eternal fruit down through the centuries has been something deeper, grander and more resilient.  The apostle Paul expresses it when he writes, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake” (Col. 1:24).  Paul was not cool.  He had something better.  Into his pastoral ministry flowed two divine powers: suffering and rejoicing. 

I “married into the ministry” 33 years ago and know from personal experience that while pastoring is a sacred call and a rewarding profession, it also brings many challenges.  This book inspires and encourages those called to full-time ministry to allow God to use difficult circumstances, suffering, and affliction to refine our own spiritual growth and leverage it to serve the body of Christ in faithfulness.  It shows us that men and women who make an impact for the kingdom of God are not extraordinary in their abilities, skills, and talents.  They are simply faithful servants who believe in a sovereign God, have a firm grasp on His grace, and keep their eyes on the hope of the glory to come.  A must read for every pastor and church staff member, and every believer who needs inspiration and courage to stay the course in your spiritual journey to Christ-likeness.

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