Interview: Lee Eclov, Author of 'Pastoral Graces,' Gives Insight Into Weight of Being a Shepherd

Author and pastor, Lee Eclov, has recently released his new book entitled "Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls," which is a book written with the aim of inspiring those who serve their communities and tend to the spiritual needs of others.

Eclov took time from his busy schedule to speak with The Christian Post about the need for "pastoral graces" and how people can better care for spiritual leaders.

Tell us how you came up with the idea/title for "Pastoral Graces."

I felt the need to crystalize the ideas due to my teaching position at Trinity Divinity School. Most of my students were seeking Master of Divinity (M. Div.); the class I taught was focused more on the care of souls than counseling. This shepherding element… it's really been a struggle for me over the years as a pastor, to be a strategic leader, and I think I'm a fair leader, but that never registered as a "sweet spot" of ministry.

I gradually grew in my confidence, and being a shepherd is its own thing, a sweet privilege, especially if you pastor an average church. That's good work, and the book came about because I was at a small preaching conference; two men came up to me and asked me to write a book about anything. When we eventually met, they had liked my previous writings, so it was really out of our conversations that we developed this book.

What part of writing this did you enjoy best, or what can you take away from the experience?

It happened very fast; it took me approximately four months to write the book. My favorite part was the beauty of finding the metaphor, of language, that was touching what I do with great affection. You write into something, and I had these stories and this perspective on the shepherding role, but when you sit down to write it's like opening old trunks and remembering who you are. It's a simple book, not a grand idea, and that was just a treasure that God gave me – the eye of the writer.

How can people in the congregation, or those unfamiliar with the pastoral role/duty help those in the ministry?

I think most Christians have a healthy relationship with their pastors and see what they do. People have funny ideas about our jobs as pastors… that we listen to problems all day long or receive tragic phone calls in the middle of the night. I don't think they grasp the treasure hunting of the Scripture.

For me, it's just nice to have someone want to look into my world. I think what people can do that we appreciate the most is not to put us on a pedestal… it's a spiritually hard job. There is this weight of being the shepherd that I think is hard for people to grasp, and it isn't easy for them to understand. It's a unique call… we are always pastors and can't just put it aside when it's convenient. I can't not remember that I am a pastor.