#45: On pastoral care and The Shepherd’s Crook with Jared Sparks.

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In this episode of the Ministry Minded podcast, I was privileged to speak to pastor, church planter, and podcaster Jared Sparks to talk about pastoral ministry and ministers in crisis. Jared’s podcast and counseling ministry, “The Shepherd’s Crook,” was born out of his love both for the pastorate and pastors, in general. He aspires to surround troubled pastors with care and counsel that’s rooted in the gospel and points them to Christ alone. This aim is incredibly needful in an ecclesiastical climate that prizes efficiency and performance and results, leaving little room to breathe, much less confess or admit one’s deficiencies. The stresses of ministry are such that mount and mount and, unless confronted, ultimately consume the minister, leading to burnout or worse ends. Such is Jared’s mission as he strives to come alongside some of the Lord’s afflicted ambassadors and remind them to be strong in the grace that’s found in Christ Jesus. (2 Tm 2:1)


Portraits of a Pastor: The 9 Essential Roles of a Church Leader, Jason K. Allen, general editor 

The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision, Kevin J. Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan 

The Christian Ministry: With an Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency, Charles Bridges 

The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus, Zack Eswine 

The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry, Jared C. Wilson 

Grace: So Much More Than You Know and So Much Better Than You Think, Brad J. Gray 


This episode is brought to you by the Christian Standard Bible. Find out more by going to CSBible.com.


Jared lives and serves in Carbondale, Illinois, where he pastors Christ Church Carbondale. He and his wife Jordan have two sons, Ransom and Valor. Jared has been involved in some form of pastoral ministry for over ten years, in various capacities. He is the founder of The Shepherd’s Crook, a pastoral care and counseling initiative that’s aimed at coming alongside wearied and troubled pastors and pointing them to Jesus. He also blogs regularly at The Gospel Post. You can also follow him on Twitter, @jaredsparks.


Intro music: “Day 28” by Ryan Little, licensed under CC BY 4.0.