Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Review of Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome - Overview

By way of overview, the book is divided into four parts. The first is essentially outlining the problems ministers face in thinking about ‘success’. They do this with wonderful candour and honesty in recounting the difficulty that they themselves experienced in coming face to face with the frustration and disappointment of being ‘unsuccessful’ in ministry. After identifying the issue, they turn in part two to address, from the Scriptures, what success actually is. This is the heart of the book, and would reward careful reading and re-reading. Thirdly, they consider the encouragements in ministry – where the pastor can find support and help in seeking to be the ‘successful’ minister set out in part two. The last part is the nuts and bolts of ministry – how the minister’s wife and congregation can actually help him be the faithful servant seen in part two.

In reviewing the book I’ll adhere to the gendered language used by the Hughes’. This is not to say that there aren’t many women in ministry for whom this book will be incredibly helpful. However, I consider that there are issue which the book addresses which are particularly male-orientated (how they address lust and issues of jealousy, for example), and the Hughes’ recognise the ordered nature of the marriage relationship in addressing how the two partners interact and love each other in a ministry marriage.

I will also spend more time on certain areas than on others. Sometimes this is because I think that such a particular area is of more significance to us in our context, other times because I think they are incorrect or have omitted a particular aspect of the issue, and at other times simply because I was captivated by a specific issue and not by another. My arbitrariness should be seen as an encouragement for you to go and read the book yourself!

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