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Resources: Pastors




Find Focus on the Family broadcasts, best-in-class books,
referral recommendations, and more.


Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul by Brady Boyd 
In today’s hectic world, we’re often tempted to match that busyness, even when it might simply be to avoid dealing with deeper soul issues. Learn to embrace the Lord’s peace and rest.

Church Is a Team Sport: A Championship Strategy for Doing Ministry Together by Jim Putman 
Find guidance to help disciple new and mature believers toward continuous Christian growth—and to help them become a cohesive, strong team.

The Conviction to Lead by Dr. Al Mohler
Leadership isn’t just about administration. It’s about shaping the hearts and minds of others—and that requires firm beliefs that can’t be swayed. Mohler shares 25 principles that can help you learn to lead from your convictions.

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
First published in 1936, this classic motivational book explains how to communicate effectively and to successfully navigate interpersonal relationships.

Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft 
Kraft discusses three important areas for leaders to consider as they seek to impact others: foundations, formations, and fruitfulness.

Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders 
Sanders offers examples from Scripture and from biographies of such men as David Livingstone and Charles Spurgeon. He explores the cost, responsibilities, and qualities of leadership; the art of strengthening other leaders; and more.

Spurgeon on Leadership by Larry Michael 
Michael discusses Charles Spurgeon’s approach to and teachings on leadership—from calling to courage to compassion to coping, and more.

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton 
Learn to maintain a joyful relationship with the Lord even as you pour into others. Explore topics such as handling loneliness in leadership, cultivating spiritual community, and more.


Changing Culture by Changing Hearts (John MacArthur) 
MacArthur discusses how Christians should respond in a culture that’s hostile to our values. If our primary goal is to change the world’s moral values, we become enemies of society rather than compassionate friends. But it’s possible to silence critics when our lives and actions reflect the truth of the God who loves, saves, and transforms people.

Refocusing Our Lives to Reflect God’s Heart (Jim Daly) 
Daly encourages believers to rise above political agendas and partisan battles—and instead, interact with others in a way that reveals the Lord’s kindness to a hurting world.

Restoring Balance to Your Life (Dr. Richard Swenson)
More than one-third of Americans describe themselves as feeling constantly rushed. Swenson discusses how our society has increased in speed, complexity, and stress, and he offers advice on fighting overload and achieving healthy balance in life.

Taking the Lead, Changing the World (Dr. Al Mohler) 
Mohler shares about the importance of biblical leadership and leading from conviction by relying on principles every Christian can use to impact the world for Christ. He also speaks to parents about their influence in developing future leaders.

Your Attitude: The Key to Success (Dr. John Maxwell) 
Based on Paul’s statement, “Let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5), Maxwell explores the attitude Christ displayed: 1) He had nothing to prove, 2) nothing to lose, and 3) nothing to hide. Maxwell then discusses principles behind a healthy attitude—and how to handle difficulties.  


Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically by John MacArthur and Wayne Mack
This book is based on the belief that 1) God’s Word should be the authority of Christians helping those who hurt; 2) Counseling is a critical aspect of the Church; and 3) God’s people can learn to counsel others well.

Effective Biblical Counseling by Larry Crabb 
Crabb believes that “God has ordained the local church to be his primary instrument to tend to his people’s aches and pains.” Here he offers “practical help to Christians who want to be more effective in ministering to their suffering brothers and sisters.”

Ministering to the Mourning by David Wiersbe and Warren Wiersbe 
For pastors, lay leaders, chaplains, hospice workers, first responders, and anyone caring for those who mourn, this book offers biblical wisdom and practical tools for handling grief.

Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture by David Powlison 
Powlison offers biblically based insights on peace, worry, motives, defensiveness, comfort, and more.


Coping With the Loss of a Loved One (David and Nancy Guthrie)
Losing two infants to the same genetic disorder, the Guthries share candidly about their journey through grief—and about the importance of trusting God’s sovereignty.

Finding Freedom From Destructive Relationships (Leslie Vernick)
Vernick shares about her own difficult relationship with her mother and offers insights to help others recognize and deal with abusive relationships.

Trusting God When He Breaks Your Heart (Pastor Ed Underwood) 
Sharing from Scripture and his own physical torment, Underwood offers help to those struggling to navigate through crises of faith and illness—offering inspiration and assurance of God’s care.


The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers by David Hansen 
Covering twelve topics, Hansen invites pastors to return to the heart of ministry: Beginning, Call, The Holy Spirit, Temptation, Eschatology, Preaching, Prayer, Friendship, Sacrament, Leadership, Leaving, and Reward.

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry by John Piper 
Piper calls for a return to the spiritual life: “The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness (Matt. 18:3); there is no professional tenderheartedness (Eph. 4:32); there is no professional panting after God (Ps. 42:11).”

Caring for People God’s Way: Personal and Emotional Issues, Addictions, Grief, and Trauma edited by Dr. Tim Clinton, Dr. Archibald Hart, and George Ohlschlager 
Learn to care practically for the most common issues brought to Christian counselors and pastors.

Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City by Timothy Keller 
Keller shares what he’s learned from over two decades of ministry in New York City to help you consider a theological framework for your own commitment to outreach that is Gospel-centered, city-centered, and movement-centered.

Christian Mindful Manners by Marvis Williams 
Williams offers a biblically based approach to how the church can and should respond to those who struggle with mental illness.

Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul David Tripp 
Tripp vulnerably recounts his struggle with anger and his realization of some inherent concerns about the pastorate. He explores the pastoral culture, the danger of forgetting who God is, and the danger of forgetting who He made us to be.

The Dignity of Human Life (Focus on the Family online booklet)
This resource for pastors and church leaders offers relevant research, stories and illustrations, sermon nuggets, notable quotations, and lessons from history—all to help communicate a clear, compassionate biblical perspective on the sanctity of human life.

Essential Church? Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts by Thom Rainer 
Rainer summarizes his research on why young adults leave the Church, and he identifies areas of focus that can help draw them back: simplify (structure), deepen (content), expect (attitude), and multiply (action).

Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work by Eugene Peterson 
Peterson explores the Old Testament regarding five specific areas of pastoral work: prayer-directing (Song of Songs), story-making (Ruth), pain-sharing (Lamentations), nay-saying (Ecclesiastes), and community-building (Esther).

The Heart of a Great Pastor by H.B. London and Neil Wiseman
London and Wiseman offer encouragement and insight to pastors—whether seasoned or new—regarding the unique and varied aspects of ministry. 

Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion by Wayne Cordeiro 
A pastor, Cordeiro shares about his own struggle with burnout and how he learned to look to God for wisdom in finding a healthy balance in life.

Liberating Ministry From the Success Syndrome by Kent and Barbara Hughes 
A pastor and his wife share the truth behind genuine accomplishment for the Lord. It’s not about numbers. It’s about walking joyfully with Christ, pursuing holiness, and serving others with humility and love.

Misfits Welcome by Matthew Barnett
Barnett, founder of the Dream Center in Los Angeles, explores how God can use our inadequacies, uncertainties, and mistakes to fulfill His purposes.

Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever 
Dever considers 1) expositional preaching, 2) biblical theology, 3) the Gospel, 4) a biblical understanding of conversion, 5) a biblical understanding of evangelism, 6) a biblical understanding of church membership, 7) biblical church discipline, 8) a concern for discipleship and growth, and 9) biblical church leadership.

On Being a Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work by Derek Prime and Alistair Begg 
Gain a better picture of the many dimensions of a pastor’s work: calling, character, prayer, preaching, pastoral care, worship, delegation, and more.

The Pastor As Scholar & the Scholar As Pastor by John Piper and D.A. Carson 
A pastor and a scholar share anecdotes and insights to help bridge “interdisciplinary gaps” in service to the Lord and out of love for His people.

Pastor to Pastor: Tackling the Problems of Ministry by Erwin Lutzer 
Lutzer advises on handling difficulties such as church splits, burnout, congregational expectations, pastoral priorities, politics, church boards, worship, counseling, and more.

Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls by Lee Eclov 
Eclov offers a reminder of the importance of relying on God’s grace for all aspects of ministry—and for caring for your own soul.

Portraits of a Pastor: The 9 Essential Roles of a Church Leader edited by Jason Allen
Learn how to balance and faithfully fill duties of being a preacher, shepherd, man of God, husband and father, evangelist, theologian, church historian, leader, and missionary.

Sifted: Pursuing Growth Through Trials, Challenges, and Disappointments by Wayne Cordeiro, Francis Chan, and Larry Osborne
Be encouraged to know you’re not alone in the “heart work,” “home work,” and “hard work” of ministry.

They Call Me Pastor: How to Love the Ones You Lead by H.B. London and Neil Wiseman 
London and Wiseman explore the pastor’s role as shepherd, counselor, leader, minister, and more.

Unlikely: Setting Aside Our Differences to Live Out the Gospel by Kevin Palau 
In 2007, Palau and several pastors asked Portland’s mayor how the Church could serve the city. The question led to the creation of CityServe—and countless individuals and cities across the nation have been impacted.

What Is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert
Subtitled “Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission,” this volume offers a discussion about the Church’s mission.

Your Church Is Too Safe: Why Following Christ Turns the World Upside-Down by Mark Buchanan 
A veteran pastor, Buchanan urges churches to remember Christ’s call to love others sacrificially—to be dangerous for the Kingdom rather than live safely, and to put aside niceness for holiness.

Broadcasts & Other Audio

Avoiding Burnout in the Midst of a Busy Life (Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, Reverend H.B. London) 
Cordeiro offers practical advice from his book Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion. London joins the conversation to discuss the challenges pastors face.

Basics (Alistair Begg, offered through Truth for Life)
This annual conference at Parkside Church encourage those in pastoral and parachurch ministry. Search by “Basics conference” to access a list of available recordings.

Becoming the Widow’s Advocate (Herb Reese, Robert Jenner, Ryan Dunn) 
When Reese discovered that a young widow in his church cried herself to sleep every night on the living room floor, he was inspired to start an organization that equips men in long-term care for widows and single moms.

Breaking the Busyness Habit (Pastor Brady Boyd)
Sharing his personal story of heart surgery and forced rest, Boyd shares the dangers and effects of a lifestyle that’s too busy in today’s culture of over-commitment.

Lessons Learned While Serving Others (Pastor Matthew Barnett)
Barnett talks about the Dream Center in Los Angeles. He’s worked with gangsters, addicts, orphans, the homeless, and trafficked victims—many whose lives have been redeemed by the Gospel. Barnett challenges us to look for the misfits who cross our paths, and he suggests ways to demonstrate unconditional love.

My Journey Through Depression (Pastor Tommy Nelson) 
Nelson’s schedule of pastoring, writing, and teaching led to burnout, illness, and depression he didn’t know how to cope with. Calling on God, he received encouragement from his family, church, and others who helped him find healing.

Reaching Out to Your Neighbors (Pastor Jay Pathak, Pastor Dave Runyon, Angela Wheaton) 
Pathak and Runyon encouraged their congregations to transform their neighborhoods, one household at a time. Here, they suggest how to get acquainted and make friends with your neighbors, sharing the love of Jesus in practical, everyday ways.

Showing Christ’s Love to Your City (Kevin Palau and Sam Adams)
Palau, author of Unlikely, and Adams talk about their friendship formed in the context of meeting social needs in Portland. They describe their surprise at discovering that Evangelical Christians and people in the LGBT community can work together to solve problems without compromising their core beliefs, and they offer a practical example of how Christians can dialogue respectfully and share the love of Christ with those who hold different views.

Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today by John Stott
In a timeless offering, Stott explores preaching: its history, its theological foundations, contemporary objections to it, how to prepare for it, and more.

Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chapell
Chappell discusses how to approach preaching through a theology of Christ-centered messages. He offers practical help and suggestions for incorporating the method into a variety of situations, from weddings to funerals.

Evangelistic Sermons by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
This collection of twenty-one sermons by Lloyd-Jones highlights salvation and the Christian’s walk with the Lord.

Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon 
This is a compilation of Spurgeon’s (1834–1892) lectures at The Pastor’s College. “The solemn work with which the Christian ministry concerns itself demands a man’s all, and that all at its best. To engage half-heartedly is an insult to God and man.”

Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching in Honor of R. Kent Hughes by Leland Ryken and Todd Wilson 
J.I, Packer, Wayne Grudem, Jon MacArthur, and others share their thoughts on being an expository preacher.

Preaching & Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones 
Compiled from a lecture series given by Lloyd-Jones in 1969, this volume offers his encouragement to pastors: “The most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching.”

The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall 
Gurnall (1616–1679) penned this work initially as three volumes. He offers insights on doctrinal truth, holiness, the “pre-eminence of faith against other graces,” and more.

Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes 
Hughes considers discipline in areas of relationship (marriage, children, and friendship); the soul (devotion, prayer, and worship); character (integrity, work, and perseverance); and ministry (leadership, giving, and witnessing).

The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard 
“The most telling thing about the contemporary Christian is that he or she has no compelling sense that understanding of and conformity with the clear teachings of Christ is of any vital importance to [their] life.”

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson 
Peterson considers discipleship, repentance, providence, worship, service, help, security, joy, work, happiness, perseverance, hope, humility, obedience, community, and blessing.

The Pastor in Prayer by Charles Spurgeon
This collection of prayers is compiled from Spurgeon’s preaching at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan 
Originally published in 1678, Bunyan’s classic allegory follows Christian on his journey to the Celestial City and offers insight into believers’ struggles and triumphs in their walk with the Lord.

The Pleasures of God by John Piper
Piper delves into Scripture to explore the pleasures of God (in His Son, in His creation, and more)—and how knowing what brings God joy teaches us more about Him and about how we can live more fully in Him.

Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds 
“So we come to one of the crying evils of these times, maybe of all times—little or no praying… Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still.”

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence 
This collection of conversations and letters reveals the heart of Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century French monk. “At any moment and in any circumstance, the soul that seeks God may find Him, and practice the presence of God.”

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer 
First published in 1948, The Pursuit of God offers Tozer’s thoughts on the believer’s need to continuously seek the Lord. “To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges 
“We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions… Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.”

The Valley of Vision edited by Arthur Bennett 
This classic collection of Puritan prayers and devotions helps today’s believers consider more deeply the Trinity, redemption, penitence, devotions, holy aspirations, grace, approaching God, service, and more.

Clergy Appreciation Month Planning Guide

Understanding the Challenges Pastors Face (broadcast with Pastor Jud Wilhite, Wade Brown) 
Wilhite and Brown explain that pastors don’t always feel equipped to get help for themselves because of their position in the church or because of stress and expectations of others. Learn about the support available and how congregations can come alongside their pastors. 

The Pastor’s Advocate Series
This series of free, downloadable booklets from Focus on the Family will help congregations better understand and care for their pastors, ministry leaders, and their families.

Church Resources
Encourage yourself and inspire your ministry families with resources that can help bring balance to your personal and professional lives.

Mental Illness and the Church
As the subjects of mental health and mental illness are being discussed more openly in Christian and secular arenas, we hope our partnership with LifeWay Research will shed light on how best to help families thrive. Expand the For Pastors area of this webpage for recommended resources.


Resource Lists

Focus on the Family’s Pastoral Care Line
If you or someone in your family needs to talk confidentially, we have a private Pastoral Care line just for you. The staff of Focus on the Family’s Pastoral Ministries Department is available weekdays between 6:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. (MT) at 877/233-4455.  We encourage ministers and others in church leadership, chaplains, missionaries, and family members of any of these individuals to contact us for advice, resource information, or a listening ear. 

Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselor Network
Search for licensed Christian counselors in your area.

Hope Restored® marriage intensives—a ministry of Focus on the Family
Our intensive programs are held in a retreat setting and are designed to rebuild and restore marriages experiencing significant hurt.