12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Courageous Endurance in Pastoral Ministry

Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson (eds.)

Most pastors know when they enter ministry they will spend time helping others through times of suffering. What they often do not realize, though, is that they too will suffer. Caught off guard, many of them end up deeply hurt and quit the ministry, deciding perhaps they misunderstood God's call or they simply don't have what it takes. But church history is filled with compelling stories of men who were profoundly afflicted in ministry and yet persevered faithfully until death.

This volume contains the inspiring stories of 12 faithful men who endured great suffering for the cause of Christ. Biographical sketches cover well-known figures such as John Calvin and John Newton as well as lesser-knowns such as Janani Luwum, Wang Mingdao, and John Chavis, all of whom suffered deeply but endured faithfully. We hope pastors and ministry leaders, as well as those who support them, will find in this collection encouragement to run the race with endurance.

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Endorsements:

“This is a good book. It encourages our souls to know that those greatly used by God often experience seasons of depression, persecution, sorrow, and suffering. It reminds us that God draws near most often when we are down and hurting, not when we are up and prospering. Many will be blessed by these portraits. I know I was.”

Daniel L. Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson have presented to us more than the usual suspects of pastoral ministry in the history of the church. Several of the individuals included in this volume were unknown to me before reading the book. But each of them, in his own way, is a Christ-exalting portrait of both the suffering and the joy that God has called us to embrace as pastors. I highly recommend it!”

Sam Storms, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, OK

“This remarkable book goes ahead in time to gather foretastes of heavenly joy and pours them out in chapter after chapter of clear, compelling testimony. Everyone who reads 12 Faithful Men will be strengthened, convicted, and instructed by these skillfully crafted chapters. This book made me long for our heavenly future and yearn for earthly faithfulness.”

Andrew M. Davis, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Durham, NC

“Suffering in the ministry is a distinguishing mark of a true servant of God. Yet we are often surprised and disillusioned when it comes upon us. 12 Faithful Men provides help in this regard as it surveys some of the greatest men in church history and the afflictions they suffered in their personal ministries. We are familiar with their successes, but what do we know about their afflictions? Here is much-needed encouragement for all who serve God and are sailing the turbulent waters of gospel ministry.”

Steven J. Lawson, president of OnePassion Ministries, Dallas, TX

“Historically rooted, biblically sound, and biographically diverse, this book shows that the road of biblical faithfulness is one marked by pain and suffering. Whether we are new to the pastorate or veteran shepherds, this work–which elucidates the stories of suffering and the faithfulness of the saints that have gone before us–reminds us that we are not anomalies but that every man of God will be tested often. I’m thankful for this breath of fresh air.”

Jamaal Williams, lead pastor, Sojourn Community Church–Midtowns

“The pathway to the beatific vision often entails suffering and heartache. And this is especially true of the pilgrimages of those called to vocational ministry. This volume, which recounts the lives of twelve such ministers of the gospel from all over the globe and throughout the history of the church, is a terrific reminder of the cost of faithfulness in the service of the Lord of glory. An excellent resource.”

Michael A. G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

12 Faithful Men was conceived in the throes of deep spiritual testing. The editors and each of the contributors have experienced the sanctifying fires of God’s providence about which they write. The subjects chosen for discussion come from a variety of denominations, ethnicities, nationalities, and circumstances. Their particular contexts of tribulation cover a great diversity of ways in which God allows his servants to be assaulted. Under the power of this diversity, the united experience is one of divine faithfulness. This book demonstrates that Christian ministry and Christian life consist in suffering. Suffering is not an appendage simply to be endured or overcome but is the essence of knowing Christ and communicating the life of Christ in this world.”

Tom J. Nettles, senior professor, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Church leadership comes with a cross and invites all pastors to be impaled upon it. But you now hold a healing balm for when the hammer strikes. Through extraordinary stories of ministerial affliction, 12 Faithful Men prepares leaders for suffering and encourages leaders in suffering!”

Dave Harvey, president of Sojourn Network; teaching pastor, Summit Church; founder of Amicalled.com; and author

“Faithful pastoral ministry will inevitably include hardship and temptations to discouragement. None of us is exempt. So who of us does not stand in need of the regular encouragement of seeing others live out their pastoral ministries with persevering faithfulness? I experienced that encouragement many times as I read the chapters of this book. Let this book provide that encouragement for you.”

Mike Bullmore, senior pastor, CrossWay Community Church, Bristol, WI

“Aside from God’s Word and prayer, reading biographies has been the most useful goad and guide to endurance when trials dog my steps. In the most difficult times, the story of a brother faithfully enduring gave me courage to continue on. By putting twelve of these stories together, Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson have done an enormous favor to those engaged in ministry. Some familiar and others less so, these biographical sketches prove to be just the balm to salve wounds and energize the spirit to press on in faithfulness. This book is a go to for encouragement to endure.”

Phil A. Newton, senior pastor, South Woods Baptist Church, Memphis, TN; author of The Mentoring Church: How Pastors and Congregations Cultivate Leaders

“The apostle Paul called Timothy, his ‘son,’ to ‘imitate me as I imitate Christ.’ One of the great blessings of God’s providence is the record of godly men who with their lives point us to Christ and give us insights on how we can effectively lead others to Christ. In this volume, Collin and Jeff have given us a treasury to draw from that contains inspiration, instruction, and Christ-honoring motivation. Enjoy it and share it.”

Harry L. Reeder III, pastor teacher, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, AL

“In 12 Faithful Men, Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson have written a deeply challenging and profoundly encouraging account of pastors who learned that the pastoral life is the Christoform life, one marked by suffering as well as glory. Their book tells the story of widely varied men, all profoundly wounded, faithful, and fruitful in the Lord’s work.”

Dan Doriani, vice president of strategic academic projects and professor of theology and ethics at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO

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