The Unwavering Pastor: Leading the Church with Grace in Divisive Times – Jonathan K. Dodson

The Unwavering Pastor: Leading the Church with Grace in Divisive Times by Jonathan Dodson
Published by Good Book Company on August 16, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Leadership

Help for pastors and those in ministry to lead their churches to overcome divisions and cope with the stress that it brings.

Leadership is hard. Pastoring through divisive times is even harder. How do we lead well when criticized? How do we keep loving the church when hurt by her? What does it look like to remain committed to the gospel in cultural division?

Seasoned pastor Jonathan Dodson comes alongside struggling pastors and ministry leaders to guide them into the comfort of Christ. But he doesn’t stop there. Full of wisdom drawn from 2 Timothy, this book will equip you to lead the church with grace, charity and spiritual power through divisive times.

Great for pastors and ministry leaders who need encouragement and insight, or are wrestling with their calling. Makes a thoughtful gift.

Even though I’m not a pastor, I still found this book refreshing. Jonathan K. Dodson is emotionally honest about the challenges that he has faced while leading his church in recent years, and he addresses a number of different common issues that pastors have been dealing with due to the pandemic and political upheaval. The truth is that any Christian who has struggled with relational distress because of societal tension can find this helpful, as Dodson shares spiritual wisdom and practical advice for how to respond graciously to people you are having conflict with or receiving criticism from. He also shares anonymous stories from his own ministry, and they are so realistic and relatable.

One of the things I like best about The Unwavering Pastor: Leading the Church with Grace in Divisive Times is that Dodson never took a political side. A lot of the time, when I see Christian leaders decrying political division in the church, they’re really only interested in criticizing the people who disagree with them, cherry-picking examples to craft a narrative about the horrors of right-wing or left-wing ideologies. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m very skeptical about anyone claiming to speak about this issue, but Dodson gave examples from both sides. He wrote about the woman who ignored the meaning of his sermons to nitpick individual words that didn’t mesh with her progressive political agenda, and about the man who claimed that people were using masks as a magical amulet to wish away harm. I found this balance very refreshing.

Dodson writes with a genuine sense of reliance on God, showing how he is able to persevere in ministry because of his relationship with Christ, not just the helpful strategies he shares. He also concludes each chapter with a short list of helpful reminders related to each chapter’s theme. I highly recommend this book to pastors who are burned out, struggling with their mental or emotional health, or unsure how to handle competing political demands in their congregation. However, this will also be a great encouragement to pastors who aren’t struggling now, but may be in the future, as well as laypeople who will benefit from Dodson’s wisdom and better understand the challenges their pastors face.