Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
The Vulnerable Pastor
How Human Limitations Empower Our Ministry
by Mandy Smith
"The landscape is littered with pastors who feel inadequate. I count myself as one of them. According to Mandy Smith, we are on the brink of an infusion of power if we embrace our weaknesses and count them as a gift from God. In the process, we trust the one God to make up the difference between who we feel we are and what our ministry can become."
—From the foreword by David Hansen, author of The Art of Pastoring
"'A vulnerable pastor' is often an oxymoron. Mandy Smith is not; she is an example of her own book. She asks the right questions and wrestles with the answers—her honesty is honest. Her voice is like a breath of fresh air in an airtight, stuffy room. This isn't a book just for pastors but for all of us who want to be 'real' with ourselves, others and God."
—Ruth Graham, author of In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart
"While many pastors are convinced that limitations and messes in ministry are a curse, Mandy Smith shows us that it's in these spaces that God seems to do his most transformative work. Mandy finds the rare and beautiful balance of raw-yet-hopeful and humble-yet-confident vulnerability, while extending grace to the people who seem to need it most: pastors. In today's ministry culture, fraught with the perception of perfection, Mandy offers pastors refreshing permission to be human. But most refreshing of all, she doesn't just write about her message. She does what the most effective authors do—she lives it too."
—J.R. Briggs, pastor, author of Fail and founder of Kairos Partnerships
"To those with the most impossible of ‘job'—our pastors—comes a great gift: The Vulnerable Pastor. Here, with great care, Mandy Smith manages to reframe what it means to be a pastor and to infuse it with the life of the gospel. I truly tell you that The Vulnerable Pastor resonated with the core of my being. It not only made being a pastor possible again, it made being a pastor wonderful."
—David Fitch, B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary, author of Prodigal Christianity
"No kidding: If I could make one new book magically appear on the bedside table of every minister, priest, deacon and elder in North America, The Vulnerable Pastor would be it. Mandy Smith's wise and hopeful book is timely, a much-needed antidote to the influence of macho leadership run amok, which has wrecked so many pastors and churches. It is also timeless, an important reminder that God's power is made perfect in weakness. If you are a pastor, please read this book; if you have a pastor, please read it with them."
—John Pattison, coauthor of Slow Church
"It's hard to be both painfully honest and faith filled at the same time, but Mandy Smith does it. And she shows us how shepherding souls requires honest faith and hope and love, even when some pain is involved."
—Marshall Shelley, editor, Leadership Journal
"Beautifully written. Irresistibly truthful. The Vulnerable Pastor is a profound reversal of nearly everything you know about being a ministry leader. This book exposes the blind spot that the last one hundred years of copying dog-eat-dog, climb-to-the-top leadership models have missed. Vulnerability is the secret to genuine leadership. If the pastoral vocation is to be revived in the decade to come, this is the first aid kit it will need."
—Paul Sparks, coauthor of The New Parish, cofounding director of Parish Collective
"Mandy Smith has packed a lot of freedom for pastors into her book—freedom from unrealistic expectations of others and those they impose on themselves. The Vulnerable Pastor creates space and freedom for pastors to embrace honestly their own spiritual journey with God, to engage their struggles, doubts, and dark nights of the soul, and to learn and grow along with those they shepherd. The journey Mandy charts carries enormous potential for enriching their own spiritual journeys as well as deepening their ministries to others. Put simply, she pastors the pastor."
—Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church and Malestrom