I really enjoy the memoirs and biographies of pastors. I have read a number of them, but here are my 4 favorites so far.
The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene H. Peterson– This book is a gem. In it, Peterson reflects on learning what it means to be church including his local church and his father’s butcher shop. He speaks of planting a church and his challenges relating to denominational bodies. He talks about his labor to translate the Bible for his congregation that eventually became The Message. This book was an easy read but so rich.
Open Secrets: A Memoir of Faith and Discovery by Richard Lischer– I read this book in seminary and absolutely loved it. Lischer shares the beginning of his ministry in a small town church. He wrestles with the quirky people and their family like decision making. He also shares about the transition from academia to the parish. Found that this book more than any other prepared me for the slow and unpredictable work of ministry.
This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers by LillianDaniel and Martin B. Copenhaver- This book is not a memoir as much as a series of essays about ministry. The authors talk about the work that goes on in the church as well as the challenges of their own lives. Lillian Daniel discusses being a woman and a mom as a pastor. Copenhaver has an especially interesting challenge of being married to someone who is not a Christian. This calling to ministry is odd
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber- Nadia has this incredible way of talking about something funny and then suddenly slamming into your soul. She tells stories of starting a church for people who do not like normal church. This book is not for everybody. The first word of the book is sh*t and it does have a strong liberal slant. But it also had moments of brilliance. It speaks not just of ministers but ultimately what is grace all about.