The Book of Pastoral Rule, by Gregory the Great

April 14, 2014

“If you had to choose one book to help a person embarking on pastoral ministry, what would it be?” We posed that question to some pastors and professors. Here are their choices. —Ed.

Pope Gregory the Great’s famous treatise, written at the end of the sixth century, presents challenges to and must be adapted for contemporary Protestant clergy. It is a provocative countercultural voice filled with wisdom for a young pastor. Gregory describes ministry as “the art of arts,” a wonderful reminder of the high calling of ministry.

While we are too easily preoccupied with worthwhile but undirected activities, he focuses on the telos of the church, of ministry, and of Christian life: to bear witness to the reign of God. Gregory emphasizes the importance of pastoral agility, noting the ways in which even our virtues can become vices and how we can become myopic and crookbacked. This is a timeless and very timely resource for parish ministry.

Read all reflections.