The first part of Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome (hereafter Liberating) is a candid account of the difficulty the Hughes' (particularly
In response to his heartfelt confession, Barbara identified that the real issue was a definition of what success in ministry actually is.
This is an incredibly helpful and refreshingly honest chapter. I’m struck by how a similar approach has been seen in conservative exegesis of texts such as Daniel 1 – Daniel’s faithfulness, godliness, etc. is used by God for his success – he is better looking, smarter, has spiritual insight, is highly favoured by the king, etc. The application – if you’re good to God, God will be good to you – and (here’s the error) – God being good to you involves what the world sees as success. We’ll come back to this later on in the book, but the fundamental error, to use Luther’s language, is an understanding of God’s work in the world as theologia gloriae rather than theologia crucis.