This is a book about the behind-the-scenes reality of a life in ministry. It tells you what Zack Eswine wishes somebody else would’ve told him.
With over 20 years of experience in ministry, Zack shares with incredible honesty about his own failures, burnout, and pain, all the while addressing the complexities of leadership decisions, church discipline, family dynamics, and so on.
Presenting sound pastoral theology couched in autobiographical musings and powerful prose, this book offers a fresh and biblically faithful approach to the care of souls, including your own.
“C. S. Lewis wrote that friendship is born when one man says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . . ‘ Many pastors will find a new friend in this remarkable book. What makes this book both approachable and powerful is its honesty—that rare treasure we pastors are sometimes afraid to make our own. Zack Eswine gives us a front row seat to his heart. In seeing him, we see ourselves. But far better, we also see Jesus in his all-sufficiency for us. To everyone who wants to serve the Lord with a heart set free from pretense, I commend Sensing Jesus.”
—Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee
“This is one of the finest books on being a pastor written in this generation. I plan to use Sensing Jesus as required read for our pastoral theology students here at Covenant Seminary. The book is heart-wrenchingly honest about Zack’s own hopes and dreams and about the challenges of dealing with the praise that is heaped on a gifted young communicator of God’s Word. It is this rare honesty that makes the book a must read for anyone called to a life of ministry. Along with this painful and necessary openness, Zack has written not only with a practical helpfulness but also with a kindness of spirit about the follies, sins, and troubles that anyone engaged in serving others is constantly encountering. His careful exposition of Scripture is interwoven with unforgettable stories that bind the points he makes to the hearts of his readers. This will be an outstanding addition to the library of every pastor and teacher, indeed of anyone committed to ministry.”
—Jerram Barrs, Resident Scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary; author, Freedom and Discipleship and The Heart of Prayer
“This book is simultaneously deeply distressing and profoundly comforting. The rhythmic interchange between these two seemingly opposite impacts surprisingly convinced me that this is one of the most helpful books on pastoring that I have read since my ordination in 1978. Ruthless self-address and unvarnished vulnerability are here wed to searching exegesis and an obvious purposed submission to the text of Holy Scripture. . The reader of this work will likely find remaining neutral and numb to their own mediocrity a difficult task!”
—Joseph V. Novenson, Senior Teaching Pastor, Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
“After marinating in Sensing Jesus, I have two responses—one of lament and one of joy. Where was this book when I was stuck in the unrelenting grind of performance-based pastoring; the spiritual schizophrenia of preaching the gospel of grace with a frozen heart; the lonely pedestal of a pulpit surrounded by thousands of people? But joy fills my heart as I realize what a great book I now have with which to mentor young pastors and preachers. Zack, thank you for stewarding your pain and God’s gospel.”
—Scotty Smith, Founding Pastor, Christ Community Church, Franklin, Tennessee; author, The Reign of Grace, Restoring Broken Things, and Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith
“In prose that is warmly authentic and deeply rooted in the wisdom of Scripture and a life well examined, Zack Eswine invites those who minister to pause and reflect. Eswine unfolds a lovely biblical vision of ministry that embraces the localities, limits, physicality, and margins of our finiteness that God deems good. Devotional, rich in insight, gentle in teaching, Sensing Jesus is also profoundly convicting in challenging us to embody what we profess to believe. This is not abstract pastoral theology; it is an understanding of ministry for all ministers, lay or professional, who find, perhaps to their surprise or disappointment, that they are human beings, body and soul. If you do ministry, please believe me: Sensing Jesus is must reading.”
—Denis Haack, Director, Ransom Fellowship; Visiting Instructor in practical theology, Covenant Seminary