The Pastor by Eugene Peterson – Discussion Questions – Chapters 17 – 21


  1. On page 137, Eugene Peterson writes, “And my work is not to fix people.  It is to lead people in the worship of God and to lead them in living a holy life.”  How is leading people in the worship of God and in living a holy life different from fixing them?  What happens when we church workers cross that line?
  2. Peterson states, “The messianic virus, which can so easily decimate the pastoral vocation once it finds a host (me!), is hard to get rid of.  As with the common cold, there doesn’t seem to be any sure-cure or preventative medicines.  The best you can do is try to stay healthy on a decent diet and plenty of exercise in worship with the people of God” (140).  What does it look like when a pastor catches the messianic virus?
  3. Peterson describes how a Jewish rabbi named Paul helped the Company of Pastors in the formation of their pastoral identity by giving them “…texts and stories that set everything we did on weekdays within the structure of what we preached on Sundays:  prayer directing, storytelling, pain sharing, nay-saying, and community building’ (154).  Were these texts and stories helpful to you?  If so, how?
  4. Describe an encounter you had with someone who had a negative opinion of the church like Willi Ossa (Chapter 19).
  5. How do “…artists and their works of art …[take] us inside what we see and touch, taste and hear…(187)?  How does art and worship connect with each other?
  6. If you are married, what impact does your spouse have on your ministry as a church worker?
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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
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