Book Review: “Preventing Ministry Failure” by Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann (2007)

“A ShepherdCare Guide for Pastors, Ministers, and Other Caregivers.”

This is perhaps the most practical preparation guide a would-be minister could take, short of immersing himself in an internship or meeting regularly with a mentor for assignments and accountability. Authors Wilson and Hoffmann have prepared an easy-to-follow and deeply convicting workbook for the one preparing for (or already involved in) ministry, and I am a better leader for having taken the time to go through it.

The workbook is organized into what the authors call their seven “Foundational Stones”: intimacy, calling, stress management, boundaries, re-creation, people skills, and leadership skills. Through each of these sections, the reader is faced not only with captivating, Scripture-oriented text, but also with some of the most personal, thought-provoking questions possible to open up his true self and to let that Scripture dig deep in his heart and mind. In the beginning, I certainly found myself not wanting to open up this way, and certainly not wanting to record any thoughts that came to mind. But as I progressed through the foundational stones, I realized that the more honest and open I was with the text, the more amplified the material became, and the more I learned.

This book is not really for the timid, for it accesses corners of one’s self that most of us think should simply remain hidden. I did find, occasionally, that there were questions I simply could not answer, not because I refused to be honest with myself, but because I do not have the years of ministerial experience that the authors expect from a majority of their readership, so please bear that in mind. This book will prepare anyone for the ministry, and will even give a heads-up to the few expecting to someday become 65-hours-per-week ministers.

I recommend this book to anyone serious about confronting their hidden selves and takes the necessary steps to change themselves for the sake of the ministry.

©2012 E.T.

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