MEMOIRS OF AN ORDINARY PASTOR: THE LIFE AND REFLECTIONS OF TOM CARSON
By D.A. Carson
What a tenderhearted book.
Don Carson composes a narrative of and testimony to his dad, Tom Carson, an ordinary pastor.
Tom is a hardworking pastor to French Canada.
His church is only ever small. His ministry never sparkles with easy or abundant success. But Tom is ever faithful, to God, to his family, and to the church. And the little ripples of that life leave a legacy.
Tom is an ordinary pastor who, in the end, proves to be an extraordinary man.
Having heard a few interviews with extraordinary pastors, this book was a welcome reprieve.
I don’t know that most average pastors, like myself, have much in common with their heroes. The church leaders we admire are often oddly gifted and wired in extreme ways.
The older I get the more I wonder why we attend their conferences and try to mimic their ministries. Sure, because they have had success, but they are nothing like us. It’s like a new swimmer asking an olympian for training and diet tips. The problem is that their advice is way out of reach for the average Joe.
In Ordinary Pastor, the hero is refreshingly accessible.
Tom knew only hard-won skills. He labored at learning French. He labored at preaching. He lamented certain sermons, how they went or the lack of prep he had. He feared that he did not work hard enough.
Tom knew only hard-won results. He prayed long and saw little fruit. Few conversions. The next generation in French Canada would see the harvest. His contribution, his lot, would be digging the foundations, dirt and all.
But his legacy was unmistakable. His family loved him. He loved and served his wife through illness, until death parted them. He moved into a secular career while never ceasing to minister and serve the church. His memory is cherished and his impact ongoing.
May the Lord allow me to be so ordinary.
Carson, D. A. (2008). Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson. Crossway.