"Mondays With My Old Pastor" by Jose Luis Navajo is Navajo's story of finding rejuvenation for ministry through visits with his old pastor. Navajo was burned out on ministry, tired and discouraged. He was questioning even whether he was truly called to pastor a church. At this point, his wife gently suggested that he contact his old pastor. Navajo did just that, and he began meeting with his old pastor (whose name we are never given). His old pastor was a man who pastored the same church for 55 years and was married to his wife for 60 years, until his death. He was a man of tremendous wisdom who passed it on to Navajo, and Navajo blessed readers with the wisdom of his old pastor in this book.
Granted, the book is aimed more at pastors or other leaders in the church, but the principles in this book transcend to apply to the lives of every believer. The old pastor gives us fifteen principles to live by. The wisdom contained in this book is overflowing. I loved the messages that were shared. There are too many wonderful quotes to count in this book! One of my favorites has to do with putting emphasis on preaching the Bible: "Why are there so few churches where they preach the whole Bible message? Why do so many prefer to tell stories? There may be more attractive messages, but none more powerful. Many topics may be entertaining, but they don't save. Other issues might astonish, but only the cross can transform us" (p. 105).
This is truly a wonderful book that all believers should read. The wisdom contained in this book comes from years of experience and is an absolute treasure trove. We should all be so lucky to glean wisdom from those older and more experienced than us as we journey through life and our own Christian walk!
(I've received this complimentary book from Thomas Nelson Publishing House through the Book Sneeze program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)
You think I'm exaggerating when I tell you to run and buy Jose Luis Navajo's Mondays With My Old Pastor, but I assure you I have never more thoughtfully made such a statement. My friend, Ryan Hayden, gave me the book telling me it had such an impact on him. I looked forward to reading it, but never dreamed it would so move me. It is certainly one of the top 2 or 3 ministry books I now possess.
Don't let its laid-back format fool you. It wraps you up in a story to deliver its gold, but it is more than a story as it touches all the places we need as Christ's servants. Particularly if the strain of that service weighs on you.
It apparently has a few things working against it on the surface, yet those things vanish with every turn of the page. First, it is written by an unknown Spanish- speaking pastor. The translation is so good, however, that you never think of it. Plus it can help abolish the ridiculous thinking that the Lord can't use others in another culture on the same level as us. Second, you may not know this pastor, but you will want to walk his steps and feel every throb of his heart. Third, the old pastor he learns from is unknown too. But you will have the most incredible vision of what an entry into Heaven this old man must have had. He could join Paul and Spurgeon and make quite a team. He was of their ilk.
In the book Mr. Navajo is sinking under the weight of ministry and decides to look up his old pastor for counsel. As the book goes along we learn the old pastor is dying, but he is energized to share with this protege of his. He goes every Monday for a meeting with the old pastor and the pastor speaks from accumulated wisdom, extraordinary stories, and power from a dynamic walk with God. The chapters are the discussion on each Monday.
Every chapter is a field of diamonds scattered all over the ground. If you can't be helped by this book, take off your work boots and leave the gospel field-there's no help left for you. But if you want to see-I mean really see-read with your senses fully engaged. You will find yourself craving the fellowship of your Lord! You will want to stay in the field, with your head now on straight and your heart running at full capacity.
The book boils down to 15 key principles. The list is amazing as is the journey to get to them. There are so many lessons, so many corrections and reproofs, and so much hope. I'm not going to mention even one of the principles in this review as I wouldn't want to rob you of the journey. There are a thousand greats quotes in the book as well, but I will let you do you own digging too.
Thank you Mr. Navajo for taking us on your journey by writing it down for us. Thank you old pastor for your sage counsel-we will never forget it!
I almost didn't read this book. In fact, after the first few pages, I didn't want to go on with it. Here's a quote:
What I got on board the boat of service to God, I did it full of projects and dreams. That was nine years ago. It was a particularly long â€˜pregnancy.' And the resulting birth produced triplets: discouragement, frustration, and disillusionment.
I thought, â€˜I don't have time to read something from a whiny, young pastor who thinks his congregation is the most difficult, stubborn bunch of people he's ever dealt with. Grow some thicker skin and get over it. This is the ministry_what did you expect?' Yet, I pressed on and completed this book_
_and confessed my sin of selfish pride, my unloving attitude toward a fellow pastor and brother-in-Christ I've never met, yet am united to by the Holy Spirit_
_and enjoyed the book immensely.
A year and a half ago, I was asked, by a young pastor beginning his first year of ministry, to mentor him. It's been such a joy watching what God is doing in this young man's life, family and church. I think every man in ministry over the age of 50 should seek out a younger man and pour his life out into that young man. Mondays With My Old Pastor might provide some excellent grist for the mill. I'm wondering if I don't identify with the quote from Ingmar Bergman:
Old age is like climbing a large mountain. The higher you get, the more tired and breathless you become, but your sight becomes more free and the view more extensive and serene.
Many times, after reading the â€˜old pastor's' advice, I was moved to tears: tears of joy because I serve such a loving, gracious God; tears of sadness at the hardness of my heart within me; tears of empathy for both the key characters in this book. I found much wisdom in the â€˜old pastor's' advice:
God does not call the equipped; rather, He equips those He calls.
I find [Christ] in the cross, nothing more, nothing less. What more can you ask for?
Only God exists, only God knows, only God is able
Something even more difficult than overcoming failure is overcoming success.
As the author moved through each successive Monday meeting with his old pastor, I began to yearn for them as well. There were times I felt a visit was too short, with not enough given me_or the author. But it was much like our lives: we're given just exactly what we need for that day.
I can't tell you how this book ends, but you'll be deeply moved. If you're a pastor, I exhort you to read this book. If you're a pastor and have younger pastors around you, near you_seek them out and begin mentoring/discipling them. Let God use you to shape these young men for greater ministry and service to God and His people. If you're not a minister, you'll still find this a greatly encouraging read. Perhaps it will inform your prayers for your own pastor.
Mondays with My Old Pastor is a beautifully written memoir about the wisdom and insights which an 83 year old pastor imparts to a 46 year old pastor who struggles with spiritual exhaustion. Through successive visits with his old pastor, the younger pastor learns important lessons on so many topics such as humility, honesty, our true value, relationship/fellowship, importance of prayer, intimate communion with God, unconditional love, untimely death, grief, marriage, forgiveness, faithfulness, discipleship, ministry, and more. The old pastor offers a combination of Biblical wisdom, anecdotes, fables, and practical insights. I found this book to be very interesting, inspiring, and encouraging. It is not only beneficial for pastors but also for any believers who have ever experienced discouragement in serving God or bumps in their spiritual walk. The author presents the message in a way that draws readers to want to find out what the old pastor has to say in the next visits. Casual, comforting, captivating, and Christ-centered counsel! When I read the book, I felt like I was there sitting and listening to their conversation. The main message can be summed up in 15 principles. I highly recommend this excellent book!
~ I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.