Shepherding the Pastor: Help for the Early Years of Ministry (eBook)

Phil A. Newton and Rich C. Shadden
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Shepherding the Pastor helps new and upcoming pastors understand the common challenges and pitfalls that arise in the early years of ministry and to face difficulties with faith, wisdom, and patience.

Many pastors feel isolated and helpless, especially those beginning pastoral ministry. Phil Newton and Rich Shadden know what this road is like, and they want to share what they have gained from pastoral mentoringÑRich, a young pastor receiving support and guidance from Phil, an older, more experienced shepherd.

Using real life examples of their mentor/mentee relationship, they identify four key practices that will help pastors thrive despite the stresses of ministry: a deepening walk with Christ, faithful exposition of Scripture, continual learning from mentors, and growth in skillful patience with their flock.

  • Pastors will learn from the real-life struggles of a young pastor and the grace-filled help of an older pastor.
  • Common ministry struggles are identified and readers will learn how to live with faith and wisdom as they shepherd a church.
  • New and more experienced pastors will be encouraged that mentoring relationships are an antidote to pastoral burnout and are vital to thriving in ministry
  • Published in partnership with 9Marks.


Phil A. Newton served as a pastor for over forty years. He continues mentoring and training pastors through The Pillar Network as Director of Pastoral Care and Mentoring and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor. He's the author of several books, including 40 Questions about Pastoral Ministry and The Mentoring Church, and coauthor of Shepherding the Pastor. Phil and his wife live in Germantown, TN.

Rich C. Shadden has served as a pastor for over ten years. He continues pastoring and training pastors through the local church pastoral residency at Audubon Park Baptist Church and through Bethlehem College & Seminary, Memphis location, where he teaches as an adjunct professor. He is coauthor of Shepherding the Pastor. Rich, his wife, and their four children live in Memphis, TN.

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"This is a book I could not put down and is one I would love to place in the hands of every God-called pastor, elder, or overseer. It is a fountain of biblical and pastoral wisdom that will serve well the body of Christ for years to come."
Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"I've known Phil Newton for nearly all his many years in pastoral ministry. He's one of the wisest pastors I've ever met. He is deeply committed to the Lord, his Word, and his church. He has condensed into this excellent book a wealth of wisdom from the Bible and from his decades of pastoral experience. I love the unique format whereby Phil's pastoral protŽgŽ, Rich Shadden, presents his pastoral challenges and then explains how he applies Phil's counsel. The practical recommendations Phil makes at the end of each chapter are worth the price of the book. Every pastor in his early years of ministry would profit from reading this book."
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY; author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Praying the Bible, and Family Worship

"I love Phil Newton. I love his pastor's heart. I love his desire to mentor pastors. And I love that no matter what he's facing, he approaches it with the calm that comes from having walked with the Lord for a long time. In Shepherding the Pastor, we get to learn from Phil as he mentors Rich Shadden. I cannot commend this book highly enough. After decades of pastoral ministry, I'd happily sit at Phil's feet once again. I need it!"
Juan R. Sanchez, Senior pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas

"First-time pastors need a lot of help! Where do you begin? How long should you stay? How do you navigate the rough waters of conflict and change? If you are looking for answers, read Shepherding the Pastor. This book offers practical help rooted in Scripture for the early years of the pastoral journey. It will help ministers of all ages. Buy two copiesÑone to read and one to share. Highly recommended!"
Ray Pritchard, President, Keep Believing Ministries

"The book you hold in your hands is an absolute treasure trove of pastoral wisdom and insight. Every pastor will benefit immensely from Phil's decades of ministry experience. You'll identify with Rich's challenges and have the opportunity to see the Lord work in the life of a shepherd of God's flock. The unique format will help both young men aspiring to pastor and older men with decades of experience who want to learn how to mentor younger pastors."
Brian Parks, Senior pastor, Covenant Hope Church, Dubai

"This is a book brilliantly conceived, creatively formatted, and superbly executed. Phil Newton and Rich Shadden grabbed me at the beginning and held me to the end. What struck me was the winsomeness of their convincing humility throughout. The work is a record of God's faithfulness as mistakes were made so that lessons could be learned and wisdom gained. A pastor with a half-century of experience has teamed with a protŽgŽ ten years down the line to gift us with a treasure."
Ronnie Collier Stevens, Associate Pastor, Harvest Church Memphis

"Dr. Newton's years of pastoral ministry experience are invaluable in these wise exhortations and gracious encouragements to aspiring and potential pastors: to both those in their first pastorates and to seasoned pastors as well. Even the format is pastoral. You will benefit in your own ministry and in mentoring other pastors through peaks and valleys in shepherding their own flocks."
Todd Wilson, Pastor, Grace Covenant Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, AL

"Every pastor needs a mentor. Shepherding the Pastor weds timely counsel, pastoral friendship, and practical wisdom displaying both the how and the why of mentoring. This book will encourage seasoned pastors to be a mentor and new pastors to find one!"
Dave Kiehn, Senior Pastor, Park Baptist Church; regional coordinator of the Pillar Network; president of the Institute of Theology and Mission

"If only I had read this book early in ministry! It took me many years, many resources, and many mistakes to learn what Shepherding the Pastor gathers in one enormously helpful volume. Please pull up a chair and spend some time with Phil and Rich. They will shepherd you well."
David King, Senior Pastor, Concord Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN; author of Your Old Testament Sermon Needs to Get Saved

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1 Review

  • 4
    Seasoned and new pastors in dialogue

    Posted by Joan Nienhuis on 02 11 2023

    When a pastor finishes seminary, he has a knowledge of doctrine and has taken classes in the responsibilities of being a pastor. That preparation however, is a long way from knowing how to be a loving and effective pastor. Books can give only so much. Each congregation is different and probably won't fit into the seminary instruction's prescription anyway. Mentoring can help. This book is not a how to for that kind of mentoring but rather a dialogue between an older pastor and the young pastor he mentored. Many areas are covered, such as interviewing, visiting the sick, not making any major changes until the third year (it takes that long to know your congregation), enduring a meeting where the vote will be about your future, and knowing when it's time to leave. Each chapter has comments from both men and then suggestions for facing the same kind of experience and books for further reading. The strength of this book is the emotional impact of the mentoring dialogue. Counsel is offered by Phil, the seasoned pastor, and responses are made by Rich, the new pastor. New pastors will certainly resonate with the experiences discussed, such as some wanting you to be fired! How about the fellow who refused to come back to church because the sign board showing the attendance and offering had been taken down. This book contains good back and forth comments on these and many more important issues for new pastors. While you will not get a precise strategy regarding the practice of receiving mentoring, you will see plenty of good wisdom and suggestions born out of experience. That Part 3 of the book is called “The Tumultuous Years” gives you an idea of the reality of the information. But this book is good for seasoned pastors too as it will encourage you to take a young pastor under your wing. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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