Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Review of Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome

I’ve just finished reading Kent and Barbara Hughes’ little book ‘Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome’. First published in 1987, it has been republished as a new edition by Crossway (2008), and is well worth the AUD$24.95. But it here. I’m going to post a summary of the various parts of it over the next few days, but in summary (of my summary), what they are getting at is that ‘success’ in ministry is about who you are rather than what you do. It is about the sort of person you are – your attitude (and corresponding behaviour) to God, your wife, your family, your church.

The book is decidedly North American (seen in descriptions of churches, approaches to ministry, sizes of churches, etc.) and non-Anglican (shown by the stress on being called to a pastorate, the role of the church in deciding salary, holidays, etc.), but nevertheless the principles are easily transferred to EngloAustralisian church life. There are a number of areas where questions might be raised (the place of calling in the minister’s life, for example), and we will address some of these as we go through. However, this is an incredibly helpful book for those of us starting out in ministry, and, I would imagine, for those who have been involved in pastoral ministry for some years. The former will be able to avoid unhelpful thinking and behaviour, the latter rectify it and be cared for and encouraged through the words of a pastor who has been there.

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