An Interview with Andrew Hébert

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A few weeks ago, RFTG published a review of Pastor Andrew Hébert’s new book Shepherding Like Jesus (B&H, 2022). In the time since the review was published, RFTG Editor Zach Kendrick was given the opportunity to ask Andrew a few questions about the book, life, and his ministry. What follows are the author’s responses to questions submitted by the editor.

Andrew Hébert (PhD) is the lead pastor of Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, Texas. He holds degrees from Criswell College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Andrew and his wife, Amy, have four children: Jenna, Austin, Mackenzie, and Brooklyn.

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Your book Shepherding Like Jesus is an exhortation to pastors, share about your call to ministry and where you are currently pastoring.

I was called to ministry at age 12, shortly after becoming a Christian. That calling was honed and clarified in college as I began serving in local church ministry. I currently serve as the lead pastor of Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, Texas.

Who is your favorite pastor (dead or alive) to read/listen to? What books or writings of this pastor have been most helpful to your ministry?

I listen almost every week to Mac Brunson, Ralph Douglas West, Clint Pressley, and Hershael York. Eugene Peterson has probably shaped my philosophy of ministry more than any other pastor.

Why do you believe that a book about pastoral character is needed?

Frankly, I don’t see character emphasized much at all when it comes to books that are being published. There are a lot of books focused on pastoral competencies, but competency without character is a recipe for disaster. 

Character in pastoral ministry is important because it undergirds so much of the rest of what we do as pastors. If my character isn’t consistent with the message I proclaim, its credibility will be undermined. We’ve seen this happen again and again over recent years as pastors have had very public moral failings, toxic leadership patterns, etc. If we want people to trust the “Logos” of our ministry, we need to make sure it is undergirded with the “Ethos” of our ministry.

I’d assume that all believers are very familiar with the Beatitudes, why do you think they specifically apply to pastors?

I’ve always imagined the Sermon on the Mount being preached to large crowds, but if you notice Matthew 5:1-2, it says that Jesus actually withdrew from the crowd and called his disciples to himself and then began to teach them. That means that the Sermon on the Mount was originally addressed to the men who would lead the early church. That’s significant because it means that the Sermon on the Mount is the closest thing we have to a sermon on leadership. What’s interesting about this observation is what Jesus does and does not address. He doesn’t tell the future leaders of the church how to draw crowds or preach great sermons. He does teach about the importance of character, how to forgive, how to pray and fast, how to walk in purity, etc.

My favorite feature of the book are the pastoral reflections from other pastors at the end of each chapter. How important is it for pastors to glean wisdom from older or even retired pastors?

I’m glad you enjoyed that feature. I thought the pastoral contributions at the end of each chapter really strengthened the book. I’ve been blessed through the years with a number of great ministry friends and mentors. When you are in the foxhole of ministry, it is a lifeline to have a number of older pastors who you can know you, encourage you, pray with you, and advise you.

What suggestions/advice would you have for a young pastor about fostering relationships with other pastors for the sake of cooperation but also accountability?

Friendships in ministry are really important, but they don’t happen on accident. Every pastor needs mentors who can poor into their lives. They also need peers who can be friends. They need younger pastors they can invest in as well. My advice here would be to start with having regular coffee meetings or lunches with local pastors. Over time, you’ll build trust and friendship. Out of those relationships of trust will grow opportunities both for cooperation and mutual accountability.

How important would you say a mentor relationship is for pastors?

Again, it’s a lifeline. As a pastor, I don’t know it all. I haven’t always “been there and done that.” It’s helpful to have a relationship with an older pastor who can provide wise counsel for your life, family, and ministry. Do whatever you can to cultivate relationships with godly men who have served faithfully, been great husbands and dads, and finished well. They will enrich your life and ministry more than I can describe.

So often it is easy for pastors to be focused on ministry responsibilities, and neglect their personal walk with the Lord. Can you share with our readers who may be pastors how you guard against this in your own ministry?

No one can guard your walk with God for you. You have to be disciplined to build enough margin into each day and each week so that you have 1) a daily time in the Word and prayer; and 2) a weekly Sabbath where you can “pray and play.” Sabbath is that weekly 24 hour period (mine is on Friday), where you can rest, spend time with the Lord, invest in your family, and do things that refresh your soul and refill your bucket. This daily and weekly rhythm will help you protect your time with the Lord and assist you in leading from a healthy soul.

Not all RFTG readers may be aware that you served on the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force. How did writing the book prepare you for serves on the SATF and did your service impact what you put in the book?

I actually wrote this book before I was ever asked to serve on the Task Force. I think that the cases of abuse that we’ve seen among church leaders just highlight exactly how important it is that pastors be men of character. When character is neglected, things such as abuse scandals are the inevitable result.

In American culture there is no shortage of headlines regarding pastoral failures, and downfalls. Do you think that the celebrity pastor culture plays a role in these cases of moral failure? If so, how so?

Celebrity pastor culture tends to highlight someone’s giftings and personality, their charm, charisma, capacity, and competency, over and above their character and integrity. So I think that celebrity pastor culture is actually at the heart of the problem. We tend to elevate and worship pastors who have external gifts to the degree that we don’t assess their internal character. The most important question for a pastor is not whether they are externally gifted but whether their character reflects Christlikeness.

How do you hope to see the Lord use the book to impact those who read it?

My hope for the book is that it will both challenge and encourage pastors. I want it to challenge them to think seriously about the importance of their inner lives. I also want it to encourage them in a couple of ways: first, they need to realize that character apart from Christ is impossible, which means that Jesus is the one who can create the character they need; second, I want them to realize that so many of the expectations our modern American church culture puts on them as pastors are superfluous. You don’t have to be the most dynamic leader or most compelling preacher in order to be a good or faithful pastor. If you focus on reflecting and representing Christ well among the flock, you will receive a “Well done” from the Chief Shepherd.

Do you have in future books in progress?

I’m not actively working on another book at the moment, but I do have a few future projects that I’d like to get to in the next few years. I plan on writing a book on leading well through crisis, a book on how to discern God’s will, and a book on preaching methodology.


Zach Kendrick is the editor of Reading For The Glory.


Editor’s Note: RFTG would like to thank the author for generously taking the time to provide thoughtful answers to the questions above.


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