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Shepherding God's People

A Guide to Faithful and Fruitful Pastoral Ministry

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This comprehensive textbook on pastoral ministry articulates a biblical model for shepherding God's people. Siang-Yang Tan, a leading psychologist and seminary professor who has served as a pastor for more than two decades, addresses a wide range of pastoral topics, covering twelve major areas of pastoral ministry. The book highlights the essential work of the Holy Spirit and focuses on the spiritual life and the personal and family life of the pastor. It includes cross-cultural perspectives of special interest in our diverse world. Shepherding God's People will serve as a valuable handbook for seminary students, professors, pastors, and church leaders.


Foreword by John Ortberg
Part 1: Biblical and Theological Foundations of Pastoral Ministry
1. A Biblical Perspective on Pastoral and Church Ministry
2. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit as Crucial and Essential for Pastoral Ministry
3. The Spiritual Life of the Pastor
4. The Personal and Family Life of the Pastor
Part 2: Areas of Pastoral Ministry
5. Preaching and Teaching
6. Corporate Worship
7. Intentional Disciplemaking and Spiritual Formation
8. Evangelism, Missions, and Social Concern
9. Leadership
10. Mentoring of Church Staff and Lay Volunteer Coworkers
11. Pastoral Care and Counseling
12. Church Boards, Budgets, and Buildings
13. Weddings and Funerals
14. Small Groups and Fellowships
15. Integrity and Ethics
16. Leaving and Retiring


"I have had the honor of speaking in Siang-Yang Tan's church--or rather, Christ's church where Dr. Tan serves as pastor--and I can witness that it is a place of joyful worship, loving fellowship, and abundant food. This warm congregation thrives in large measure due to the many years of pastoral care of Pastor Siang-Yang Tan. In Shepherding God's People, Dr. Tan shares with us the wisdom of his years of academic and pastoral insight. This book is packed with exhaustive research and lived experience. I recommend it highly."

Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and Streams of Living Water

"Siang-Yang Tan is an astute, experienced, and wise guide for those called to shepherd Christ's church. In Shepherding God's People, readers will discover a wealth of knowledge and counsel for carrying out their pastoral vocations powerfully, sanely, and safely. Highly recommended."

Chris Hall, president, Renovaré

"Dr. Tan loves the Lord and has a heart for ministry that jumps off every page in Shepherding God's People. I have been honored to watch my friend and colleague have a deep and lasting impact as he trains leaders around the world to point others toward Christ. A must-have for everyone who has influence in the life of another--that means you."

Tim Clinton, president, American Association of Christian Counselors; executive director, James Dobson Family Institute

"Rarely does a person in ministry discover a book that combines comprehensive scholarly research, deep spiritual wisdom, and practical resources for the nitty-gritty work of nurturing a community of faith. Dr. Tan has written such a book. Shepherding God's People will serve as an invaluable primer for men and women entering ministry and as a source of deep enrichment and encouragement for veteran pastors."

Laura R. Harbert, former Dean of Chapel and Spiritual Formation, Fuller Theological Seminary; adjunct affiliate professor, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology

"In an exceptionally well-researched book, supported by years of experience as pastor, psychologist, and friend, it is hard to imagine an area of interest to pastors that has not been insightfully covered in Dr. Tan's book. Shepherding God's People deserves wide and careful reading."

Larry Crabb, founder and director of NewWay Ministries

"I'm keeping this book close at hand because of its holistic, God-drenched, eminently practical view of pastoring. Incredibly, Siang-Yang Tan actually lives this out as pastor in his own church."

Jan Johnson, author of Meeting God in Scripture; board chair of Dallas Willard Ministries

"Siang-Yang Tan is a pastor's pastor. And this book is full of wisdom accrued the honest way--through more than two decades of pastoral experience. In a culture that idolizes cults of personality, and where many pastoral leadership models all too closely resemble the corporate world, Shepherding God's People is a welcome and needed reminder that humility, godliness, love, and a life of prayer are the keys to a fruitful and God-honoring ministry. This book is both practical and learned, as one would expect from a pastor theologian like Tan. Whether you are just starting out as a pastor or have been in pastoral ministry for many years, there is much wisdom to be gleaned here."

Rev. Gerald Hiestand, senior pastor, Calvary Memorial Church; director, Center for Pastor Theologians

"Full disclosure: I am completely biased. Siang-Yang Tan is one of my best friends. He is also my pastor--even though I've heard him preach only once. He is my pastor because for over three decades he has sought me out and prayed with me and for me as we have navigated both the highs and lows of life. If tomorrow brings unexpected joy or tragedy, Siang-Yang Tan is the person I would want to tell. It is not surprising that he has written this comprehensive, transparent, practical, formational, and Spirit-filled book for the present and next generation of soul shepherds."

Gary W. Moon, founding executive director of the Martin Institute and Dallas Willard Center, Westmont College; author of Apprenticeship with Jesus and Becoming Dallas Willard: The Formation of a Philosopher, Teacher, and Christ-Follo

"Siang-Yang Tan's Shepherding God's People provides a comprehensive overview of pastoral ministry. Tan draws wisdom from contemporary thinking as well as from his own personal ministry experiences. This book is as valuable for its summaries of key ideas in the relevant literature related to its many topics as it is for Tan's own constructive advice growing out of his congregational ministry. Shepherding God's People offers a biblically based, Christ-centered, evangelically faithful, and personally practical survey of the multifaceted aspects of a pastor's life and work. Both seminary and undergraduate students, as well as those practicing pastoral ministry, will find Tan's book helpful in clarifying their role and calling."

R. Robert Creech, professor of pastoral leadership and director of pastoral ministries, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

The Author

  1. Siang-Yang Tan

    Siang-Yang Tan

    Siang-Yang Tan (PhD, McGill University) is senior professor of clinical psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, senior pastor emeritus of First Evangelical Church Glendale in Southern California, and the author of numerous books, including Lay...

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