Tom Nelson believes with every fabric of his being that the local church as God ordained it is the hope of the world. He’s devoted more than 30 years of pastoral ministry to this glorious cause.

But he’s worried about the pastoral vocation.

In his new book, The Flourishing Pastor: Recovering the Lost Art of Shepherd Leadership, Nelson observes a dripping irony. Though surrounded by many people, pastors are often intensely lonely and socially isolated. They work with the things of God but are tempted by the seduction of accomplishment at the expense of intimacy with God.

Shepherd leaders, according to Nelson, are forged on the anvil of obscurity and refined in the crucible of visibility. They get into trouble when they attend more to the church than to their own soul, or when they get sucked into partisan politics and lose track of their disciple-making vision.

Nelson joined me on Gospelbound to discuss flourishing pastors, congregational expectations, friendship, failure, Dairy Queen, and much more.