About Me

Dr. Zack Eswine

I’m Zack Eswine, and along with my wife Jessica and three children, we do life together in Webster Groves Missouri. At times, I’m more doubtful, broken and cynical than I want to be. At other times I marvel at how good it is to know and be known.  I’m asking, seeking, knocking, as Jesus asks us to. I find in Him the strength of truth, reality, purpose, help and hope.

I’m a pastor at Riverside Church. I’ve written several books. I’m a flawed but earnest mentor, nurturer and encourager to other pastors. I often receive letters from those who struggle deeply with depression and other forms of grief along with the ancient questions about God, life and each other that most of us ask. I too have known the hounding and haunting of anxieties and depression. I’m grateful that in Jesus’s hands, the mattering things like love, laughter and beauty don’t quit and will live on when death finally dies.

I was born and raised in Southern Indiana, in the towns of Henryville, Clarksville and Floyd’s Knobs. I graduated from Floyd Central High School in 1987. I received a B.S.W. from Ball State University, an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Regent University.

I blog irregularly and in line with the rhythms of local life with family, neighbors, pastoral vocation and mentoring. I enjoy old movies, music, poetry, novels, essays on culture, writings on spirituality. I cheer for Notre Dame Football and Indiana Basketball. Sitting next to a body of water, whether a pond, a lake or an ocean, calms my mind. Jesus has my attention.

More about my life and writings are found at www.zackeswine.com 



21 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Brother Zeswine ,

    I am grateful for your ministry and this fresh way of spreading more of God’s grace ! Continue to keep those eyes sharpened and focused on young men who need to hear a Paul say, ‘Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ’.

    Great work with the books…keep dipping that pen a fiery font…and blaze across the page…until Christ is fully known and fully praised.

    1. Hi Don,

      I apologize for my delay. I do have the tapes and I look forward to responding.
      We have recently moved and I’m a bit behind.

      May I still listen to them and send my thoughts?

  2. I still appreciate and benefit from your influence in Homiletics.

    Love your old-fashioned and deep appreciation for the supernatural art of preaching by the power of the Spirit (and open advocacy for listening to those like Spurgeon and Charles Bridges who knew that well) and apply that in a non-dated manner today.

    Will continue to give a visit here to your blog, Steve Prost, PCA Army Chaplain

  3. I am grateful for your ministry and this fresh way of spreading more of God’s grace ! Continue to keep those eyes sharpened and focused on young men who need to hear a Paul say, ‘Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ’.

  4. Dr. Eswine,

    I listened to you give a talk at the L’Abri Retreat (in Jan 2007, I believe) as we all sat around the fireplace after lunch. You read an essay entitled “Shade-giving: The Earthly Shape of a Heavenly Life.” And as you read the final paragraph, we were all silent. Several of us were crying. It was worship.

    I have carried that essay around with me–from traveling abroad to weekend camping with friends to moving to a new city. It has been a consistent encouragement to me and others, a jumping-off point for conversation, and words that have given me pause to reassess how I am to know Christ and be human. Seemingly simple….yet so not. I most recently read it aloud to a friend of mine a week ago. She asked for a copy of it, as have several other friends to whom I’ve read it over the years. Would it be possible to obtain a digital copy that I could share via email? Tonight I finally sat down to transcribe it into a Word doc but thought I’d see if contacting you was a possibility.

    Thanks for your honesty as you seek to follow Christ!

    1. Dear Annette,

      I have been away from my blog for a season and am just returning. I see your encouraging words and I too remember fondly the L’Abri night that you mention. I too felt that our Lord was very kind to draw near to us and to enable us to sense His presence. He is very kind that way.

      The essay that you mention has since become part of a book that I have written for Crossway Books. The book is presently titled, “Preaching Barefoot: Life and Ministry as a Human Being.” It is not released yet. I am happy to send to you by email my updated version of the essay. You may email me at zack@riversidestl.org and I will send it to you.

      I too continue to come back to these truths in my longing to recover what it means to live humanly with Him as we were meant to. There is freedom and joy to be found in surrendering to our noble limits and entrusting everything unlimited to Him.

      May His grace continue to strengthen you each day.
      He is faithful,

  5. Hi Zack,
    I was wondering if you or the rest of the blog community could comment on an idea I have. I am preaching through a series on Job this summer and am thinking about not leading people to Christ and leaving them there during the sermon. Rather, the text I’m dealing with, Job 1.1-2.12, introduces the central question of the book, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” I thought I would leave people with the tension that this text invites and then resolve the tension in my presentation of the Table. What might be helpful or unhelpful about this approach?

  6. Hi David. Thank you for your question. Your suggestion has the advantage of highlighting the gospel provision God has given us in the Lord’s Supper. But in my opinion it has the disadvantage of veiling the purpose and provision of preaching. Biblically, as I understand our Lord, the problem with the pharisee’s reading and preaching of the Bible was that their ministry of the word did not recognize Him. (Jn. 5:39) Jesus also seems to indicate that the focus of the Old Testament was Him. (Lk. 24:27; 44-47). Also, when the New Testament tells us about Job it links Job’s situation specifically to how it reveals the character of the Lord (Jms. 5:11). Finally, the way Paul and the other NT letters describe preaching has to do with the gospel of Jesus (e.g., Col. 1:28-29) Conscience-wise, this approach of delaying the remedy is often demonstrated in the Bible for those who are hard-hearted. The Pharisees but not the woman at the well receives this kind of delay within the tension. The soft-hearted do not receive this kind of delay as best as I can see. Paul’s words come to mind. (I Thess. 5:14) We admonish the idle not the weak. We encourage the weak and not the idle. Technologically, if the sermon is recorded, those who listen to it will not receive the gospel provision. These are my two cents. Let me know how it goes. May the Lord continue to bless your ministry of word and sacrament dear brother.

  7. Zack, Thanks so much for your very helpful response. I certainly don’t think of our congregation as hard-hearted, and so will not plan on delaying the remedy. Thinking of you often and grateful for your ministry.

  8. Dr. Eswine,

    Have you written anything on the effects of Charles Spurgeon preaching and writing ministry on evangelicalism today? I’m going to be writing a paper for my church history on this topic. I have your book kindled fire and am reading it (and enjoying it). Thanks for any help you can offer.

    1. Hi Dave, thank you for asking. Yes, I have a bit, but that is found in my Ph.D. dissertation. Some theological libraries may have it. Otherwise, no I haven’t. Interestingly, you may want to peruse journals or works having to do with Pentecostal Homiletics. Because of Spurgeon’s strong emphasis on the Holy Spirit, he is had impact in those tributaries of Christianity as well.

  9. Zack (if I may) … I wanted to stop mid-way through my read of Sensing Jesus and let you know how thankful I am that you peeled-back our pastoral veneer and with courage and integrity exposed the issues for the whole. I am underway with my dissertation (D.Min., Gordon-Conwell) and will enthusiastically suggest that this be REQUIRED reading for all who pass through their programs. I also feel somewhat obligated to contact my folks back @ Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., ’07) to request the same for those in the Pastoral Leadership track. I am indebted to you my friend and look forward to following your heart for ministry as you follow Christ. Brothers.

  10. Zack,

    I’m overwhelmed by your gutsy honesty in Sensing Jesus. No, I’m not a pastor, but I am an ex-pastor’s wife who’s husband and ministry partner of 20+ years has been sentenced to prison for 17 years.

    By the grace of God, I am standing fast. My four children are standing fast. We have a precious church that is family to us, as well as the community has stood around us, protecting us. (It was a high profile media case).

    But I’ve been bereft of ministry and trying to figure out who I am now that “he” is gone….because, I, too, was called to the ministry.

    Your book had a tremendous, tremendous impact on me. I’d love to share more, but know there is limited room and time. Just know that nearly every word you wrote in there, I needed to hear. C.S. Lewis is a path down which God pointed me to salvation. Your book has pointed me toward the healing of my aching soul. Rich in scripture, I have soaked it up like a dry sponge.

    Blessings to you,


  11. Dear Zachary,
    What a privilege to see God’s favor & Hand rest upon you in Christ! Karen and I love to be in your presence, watch your life, listen to you sing and preach the Gospel, reach those who would not feel welcome by other Christians, invest in our children, publish so well about pastoral theology, and look into the faces of people with your beautiful eyes.

    Bob & Karen Smart

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