Manual Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving

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Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving by Bob Burns (March 04, ) [Bob Burns;Tasha D. Chapman;Donald C. Guthrie] on.
Table of contents

It seems to me that this may be the most critical insight in terms of pastoral transformation in the whole book. The book includes appendices with various tools, the most helpful of which may be the emotions checklist, which helps one give a name to the emotions one feels especially helpful for men. I would recommend this book as a resource to pastors, others in ministry, and to church or ministry leadership, who need to understand the stressors and key factors to pastoral success in order to support their pastors. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.

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Email required Address never made public. Name required. He expressed the strong desire that none of his flock had weakened in their faith, particularly those whom had been gathered in during the revival. There is no hint whatever of self-absorption.

Making the most of ministry - Mennonite Brethren Herald

Whether I shall be permitted-and how long-to take up so great a work again, my Master only knows. McCheyne was a great man of God driven by his living faith and his love for others, despite being given a weak body that failed him at the age of There was not the slightest hint of hubris, self-importance, or self-obsession in him.

To recast his words as though he was, in fact, a 21 st century narcissist is to dishonour him and distort his message for us. Then there is the curious case of Christmas Evans cited by the authors. First, Evans was a justifiably famous preacher in Wales in the early 19 th century. He served in several difficult but necessary pastoral positions, participated in a pivotal doctrinal dispute and set Wales on fire with his preaching.

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His contributions to the gospel were universally recognised, not for their star-status but because they brought glory to God. The second curiosity appears to be an authorial mistake. The problem is that the quote originated with James D. Berkley, former editor of Leadership Journal who made the quote in a issue of Christianity Today. That of course is material to our evaluation. Is the problem of burn out that is so prevalent in our own day simply an objective phenomenon that can be combatted with more rest, more exercise, more family time, more balance, less work and lower stress?


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If we simply arrive at that conclusion, we simply confirm our own cultural biases and obsessions. We lump everything together under a psychological umbrella. It is a short-sighted approach to say the least. It is also a contemporary conceit. It assumes we know better than the millions who spread the gospel and, in doing so, sacrificed themselves, their families and their worldly futures for the glory of God.

The more I delved into the book, the more unpleasant the experience.

Five Themes of Resilient Ministry

What I slowly began to experience was a heavy sense of condescension on the part of lesser men and women towards truly anointed bearers of the gospel. Take David Wells for example. He has demonstrated tremendous courage in prophesying against the ecclesial idolatries of the age.

The Western church has been backsliding in terms of its convictions and its character and David Wells has told us the truth. They simply nod and go on to focus on the some of the same things Wells warned against.

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Wells would, of course, never argue against the idea of being healthy. He did, however, warn against an obsession with it. By ignoring his core concern, the writers and participants appear to confirm the truth of it. In the name of increasing pastoral balance and resilience, the writers have published an almost entirely unbalanced work that can only confirm the cultural biases and idolatry of the contemporary church.

The whole becomes less than the sum of its often excellent parts. This kind of self-centredness also obscures our core identity as humans made in the image of God to be reflections as martyr-witnesses of his in the world. Because the book does not presuppose this, it serves to move pastors to accept an alternative identity.

What I learnt when I left the ministry

Rather than being martyrs as the Bible describes us, we become responsible men of moderation. Aristotle would be pleased.

More significantly, we blur the picture of Jesus in us. This is the Jesus that bids us follow him no matter what it costs. The stresses of pastoring are well known and can be a match for even the best-prepared, most experienced in ministry--multiple tasks, long hours, taxing responsibilities and, yes, some challenging personalities. Too often the results can be burnout, being run out or just feeling worn out. To find out how pastors can thrive as well as survive, the authors undertook a five-year in-depth research project among working pastors.

Here in this ground-breaking book is the distilled wisdom of dozens of pastors who have been on the front lines of ministry. We hear from them what works, what doesn't and what distinctive issues people in ministry face. The authors uncover five key themes that promote healthy, sustainable ministry that lasts--spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, leadership and management.

These themes are unpacked from the vantage point of ministry on the ground. Questions for personal evaluation and reflection are included throughout the book to bring home the significance of each section. This is the perfect companion for a peer cohort of pastors to read together. It can also be of value to church boards and others who want to better understand how to help sustain their pastors in ministry.

In this wise, insightful and intensely practical book, Burns, Chapman and Guthrie draw on extensive interviews and research to illumine traits and practices that nurture resilient ministry.