The Care of Souls

Senkbeil places great emphasis on the attentive diagnosis and intentional treatment of the kind of spiritual ills that befall God’s people.

“Like any skilled artisan or craftsman, a pastor learns by both observation and doing. He learns his trade by practicing his craft. He is habituated—shaped and formed into a shepherd of souls—by being actively engaged in the work of shepherding.”


Have you ever read an “if this is true…” book? An “if this is true…” book is one that challenges you so deeply that you realize that if what it’s saying is true, then you’ve got to make some major changes to your life. R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God is one of those books—many who read it suddenly realized they had never actually known God as he is, as the God who is three times holy. Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth played that role for some people, John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals for others. Harold Senkbeil’s The Care of Souls fits well within the “if this is true…” category. I believe many pastors who read it will realize that if what this book says is true, they may have never truly pastored before. Many more will realize that their pastoral aspirations have been all wrong. And it’s my hope that many read it and allow themselves to be challenged by it.

Harold Senkbeil grew up a Minnesota farm boy, and was as surprised as anyone to find himself veering into pastoral ministry. Now, after five decades at the task, he is ready to tell some of what he has learned along the way. He is ready to share some lessons on the pastoral craft. And what he wants pastors to consider is so very simple: pastoral ministry is first about pastoring people. It is first about being a shepherd to sheep.

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