Pastoring with Passion, by Dr. David Holt

Ministering Effectively With Heart and Hands

A new book we are sure ALL will find refreshing, transparent, and motivating  in the call to return to our First Love in every aspect of ministry and daily living.  A book for Pastors and Laypersons who desire more passion in their service for God – our gracious and loving Shepherd who offers the privilege of witnessing firsthand, His work in and through the Church.  Please refer to the end of this review to order this book and view Dr. Holt’s website.

Foreword to “Pastoring With Passion” by Dr. Wayne Grudem

I first met David Holt over twenty years ago, when he was a student in some of my theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He was an excellent student academically, but in addition to that, it was evident from his life that David deeply loved God and was totally committed to obeying Him in every area of life and ministry. I also saw those same qualities in David’s wonderful wife Dede, and I expected that eventually God would give significant blessing to their future ministry, wherever it might be.

Now I have read with great interest this remarkable book of David’s about pastoral ministry, and I see that my former student has become an exceptionally wise and winsome teacher, a mature pastor who has immense wisdom and encouragement to offer to other pastors.

After David graduated from Trinity in 1990, he became the pastor of a small Evangelical Free Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, a church that was around 100 years old and had shrunk to about 80 people. Eventually I had the joy of preaching for David in that church and staying in the Holt’s home, and I saw how he was ministering faithfully to his people. Over the years, I have talked with and corresponded with David about some of the really tough times and some of the times of great joy that he encountered in that ministry.

On more than one occasion I have mentioned David’s name to various pastoral search committees from other churches, but he refused to leave La Crosse, believing that God had called him to remain there for a long time. As it turned out, he ministered in La Crosse for seventeen years, and saw great blessings from God on his ministry.

As is evident from story after story in this book, David is a man of high personal integrity, deep love for God, a strong sensitivity to Holy Spirit’s guidance, a complete submission to the entire Bible, and a deep commitment to prayer. As you read these pages, I believe you will be challenged in one area of your life after another as David explains what it takes to be faithful to God in the various components of pastoral ministry.

This book is God-centered, Bible-centered, and prayer and faith-centered. Time and again it highlights the genuinely spiritual nature of all lasting ministry. The book is hard to put down because it is so filled both with godly wisdom and with honest stories of successes and failures in ministry situations.

This book is filled with practical wisdom from a godly, gifted pastor. I expect that it will speak directly to every pastor’s heart and build up every pastor’s faith.

Wayne Grudem, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies
Phoenix Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona

Book Endorsements:

“I love the ministry and being a pastor. There is no greater calling, but sometimes it can feel like a burden. We all need a book like this to remind us of what a privilege it is to serve others and to rekindle our love for God and his children.”

Dr. Neil T. Anderson

Author; Founder and President Emeritus of Freedom in Christ Ministries

“Pastor David Holt served with distinction as the Senior Pastor of a dying church that came alive under his leadership. During his tenure, the church grew from a small, struggling church to well over 1000 in attendance with a dynamic multiple staff and ministry. His journey as a pastor will challenge and encourage you. You may not agree with everything but allow yourself to interact with the principles he clearly lays out. We need more pastors with the right passions!

Dr. William Hamel

President of the Evangelical Free Church of America

“This book comes from the heart of a pastor to the hearts of other pastors. It stresses one of the most unforgivable flaws for a shepherd of God’s flock – the lack of passion. All other things being equal, without passion a pastor, no matter how great his gifts are, is doomed to failure. I began pastoring over 50 years ago and have been pastoring or teaching pastors ever since. I deeply regret that I did not have this book to guide me. It is a must read for every pastor, no matter how small or how large his church is.”

Dr. Norman Geisler

Pastor, Apologist, Professor, and Author of 70 books

“One of my consistent prayers as a pastor is that God would keep my heart soft. This book helped me do just that. It will encourage and inspire everyone who reads it.”

Mark Batterson

Lead Pastor, National Community Church; author of Wild Goose Chase

Book Introduction:

“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;

with skillful hands he led them.”

Psalms 78:72

So, here you are with yet another book to litter your desk or further burden your already crammed bookshelves. And you are asking yourself, “Why should I expend some of my precious time – of which I don’t have enough – to read this book?”

Well, I have good news for you: This book is not meant to be read from cover to cover. Review the Table of Contents and find the chapters most relevant to you right now, and read only those. This won’t take you long. Then, months from now you, you can read other chapters as they become relevant. Most pastors do not have the time to read entire books, anyway, so I am giving you permission to skip those chapters which fail to scratch where you are itching.

As a fellow pastor, I know first hand that pastoring is one of the most complex professions in the world – calling for the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of Daniel, the strength of Paul, and the deity of Christ. I want to help. I love pastors and appreciate the unique challenges they face. I desire to come alongside and encourage you.

Though I hope every pastor will read this book, Pastoring with Passion is especially relevant for all of you WHO:

1. Want to be the most effective pastor you can for the glory of God. After all, that is what made you say “yes” to the calling in the first place.

2. Find your passion for God getting smothered by the demands of ministry.

3. Are overwhelmed and exhausted from pastoring. The “passion” which brought you into the pastorate is not the passion you are currently experiencing. Your spiritual battery needs a jump start.

4. Have become disillusioned with the church and need a fresh reminder of what a privilege it is to be a pastor.

5. Have grown a bit “weary in well-doing” (Galatians 6:9).

6. Need some encouragement from someone who has “been there, done that.” Isn’t the brotherhood we have as pastors a special thing?

7. Are a young pastor and experiencing situations in which seminary did not prepare you.

8. Minister in your local church as a lay person and want all the help you can get.

9. Work for a para-church group, but haven’t found many books that help you.

10. Love your pastor and want to know how you can more effectively support him. By the way, if that’s you, let me say this: I especially like your types! We pastors need people like you to encourage us.

11. Are preparing for ministry and want to get started on the right foot.

In this book I share my heart with you. Manuals covering about every aspect of pastoring are available today. I do not seek to replicate those books. Though I will be immensely practical on some issues, I am mostly interested in those areas I regard as the heart of the pastorate, such as, having a passion for: God, our family, the body of Christ, personal purity, the power of the Holy Spirit, genuine humility, preaching, worship, our true identity, leadership development, longevity, and even buildings and capital campaigns. I invite you to walk with me through a few of these most important aspects of pastoral ministry. Each chapter includes with some questions to ponder and resources to consider.

I reflect on my 17 years as the senior pastor of one church and four years as the college pastor of another church. I want to speak to your heart as well as equip your hands. I almost titled this book “Pastoring With Heart and Hands.” I pray God uses this book to stir YOU to pastor with greater passion and shepherd with greater skill.

Since I am calling you to pastor with greater passion, let me clarify what I mean by the word “passion.” Those who conclude passion is merely emotional, and this book is only for those “touchy-feely” types, will be wrong. Certainly a passion for God involves our emotions. Jesus said to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mathew 22:37). Heart and soul touches on our emotions. However, passion in this book will go much deeper than emotion. .

I will use the word “passion” as follows: Being deeply committed to something so you give it your all. Passion engages the heart and moves the will to action. Passion chooses the right course even when the feelings are absent.

You want to be all God wants you to be. You want ministry to be an extension of your life. You do not want to merely “play the part.” You are committed to God, your family, your purity, and your flock. You desire to hear, “Well done” at the end of your earthly pilgrimage. This is what it means to pastor with passion.

But this book is not just for pastors. The first day I began writing this book, my mother-in-law stopped by. I showed her my outline. Her comment was, “Don’t just make it for pastors. Anyone involved in ministry would benefit from this book.” I agree with her and hope many servants in the body of Christ will benefit from this book, even if they are not in a formal “pastoral” position.

My prayer is that this book will touch your heart and change your life. Most of us do not need another book, but we do need a touch from God’s Spirit. May this book be fresh manna for your spirit.

While you read the preceding pages, I hope you will pause to pray:

“God, I want to walk closer with You and experience all You have for me. Thank You for the amazing privilege to be in ministry. Reveal to me the two or three things You most desire for me to take away from this book.”

If you do this, and follow through on those two or three things, then I will consider the labor of love in writing to have been well worth it.

I have sought to bathe this book in prayer. I have asked God to make my keyboard the “pen of a ready writer” (Psalms 45:1). As you read, ask God to specifically speak to you and change YOUR life for His glory. To that end I entrust this book to you. Please let me know how God uses it in your life.

You may purchase the book in one of 3 ways: Amazon is $20 plus postage; Church Smart is $17 plus postage; or you can email me direct and get it for $15 plus postage (which is about $2.80).

Dr. Holt’s website:

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