Archives For Ministry

 

Prophetic in Reconciliation
 

Intercultural Ministry:
Hope for a Changing World
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Grace Ji-Sun Kim /
Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Eds.

Paperback: Judson Press. 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Kevin Book-Satterlee
 
 
One of the most important starting points for bringing differing people together is being open with one’s own story and understanding of their story. The act of being self-reflective auto-locates a person within their social imaginary. If anything is taken from Kim and Aldredge-Clanton’s book, Intercultural Ministry: Hope for a Changing World, it is the persistence of self-reflexivity as a foundation for bringing people together. Nearly every case study in the book begins their success and recovers from their failures by fostering a place of telling and admitting their story; an open space for people to participate, dialogue, and forge paths of coming together where they might not have before. Each and every author demonstrate a commitment to forming an intercultural, inclusive faith community, and the case studies within this book can serve as encouraging examples for both the novice and the experienced embarking upon this path. The book is as confessional as it is encouraging.

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Facing Death with Grace and Courage

A Brief Review of 

Walking Home Together:
Spiritual Guidance & Practical Advice for the End of Life

Michael Mercer

Paperback: 23rd Publications, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   

Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith

Facing our own death, or that of a loved one, can stir up much anxiety in us. When we inevitably must take this journey, it is wonderful to have a friend who knows what to expect and can walk this journey with us. Michael Mercer, a hospice chaplain here in Indianapolis, has walked this road with many people, and captures much of his own wisdom about this journey in the new book Walking Home Together.
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Educating, Maturing and Preparing

A Feature Review of

Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure
J.R. Briggs

Paperback: IVP Books, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Micheal Hickerson
 
Earlier this summer, my wife and I visited about ten unfamiliar churches around Cincinnati. For every healthy community we encountered, there was another that was slowly dying, with a small group of survivors still meeting in a mostly empty sanctuary. At several, we were among their few visitors all year. One church, itself in the midst of a long pastor search, had recently merged with another that had been forced to sell its building, producing the strange scene of a pastor without a church attending a church without a pastor. Even flourishing churches bore scars of recent wounds, such as the wealthy and well-attended church whose lobby featured protraits of every pastor since the 1920s. Every pastor, that is, except for the most recently departed.
 
Fail grew out of Briggs’s own failures and his subsequent launch of the Epic Fail conferences, a series of intimate gatherings around the country unlike any church conference I’ve ever attended.

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Timothy Keller - Center ChurchThe Entirely New and Entirely Familiar

A Review of

Center Church : Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City

Timothy Keller

Hardback: Zondervan, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Michaela Flack

A few years back, I found myself serving as a youthwork coordinator at a tiny urban church in the United Kingdom. Having lived there for three years, while completing my Bachelor’s degree, I was excited to find myself finally serving in a church full-time, ready to move into my “urban ministry calling”, listening to Tim Keller’s sermons on a Gospel Vision for the City on the bus ride to work each day. I announced to my pastor that I was planning on moving into the area where our church was (a neighborhood notorious for being the poorest public housing complex in all of the UK) in order to live and work and minister. To my surprise, I was strongly discouraged, borderline commanded from my superior not to do so. It wasn’t safe, he said. So at the end of each day, I went back to my city apartment in the (apparently safe) student area of town, and he went back to his suburban neighborhood. Six months later, with mutual agreement, I left the position and moved back to the States.

Fast forward 6 years. In my research for Tim Keller’s new book, Center Church, I took a look around its promotional website, which includes a video book trailer. Press play, and it’s hard to not be impressed by whichever media art department put this together. Continue Reading…

 

835300: Whole Life Transformation: Becoming the Change Your Church Needs

A Brief Review of

Whole Life Transformation:
Becoming the Change Your Church Needs

By Keith D. Meyer.
Hardback: Intervarsity Press, 2010.

Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by William Mills

If you want a book that inspires, encourages, and stirs the imagination then Keith Meyer’s new book, Whole Life Transformation is just the book for you. Keith Meyer has both an MDiv and DMin degree and has been a pastor for over thirty years. He started the Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove, MN and currently serves as a senior fellow with the Renovare Spiritual Formation Institute. Meyer is also a contributing editor to Leadership Journal as well as an editor of the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care.

Many books deal either with spirituality or ministry but Whole Life Transformation includes the best of both these worlds. Meyer shows his readers that ministry leaders must be proactive in their own spiritual journey, seeking mental, physical, and spiritual health so that they can go out and serve God’s people. Meyer notes that many pastors, himself included, have lived, breathed, and preached a very active and “busy” ministry which included Church growth, high-energy evangelism, and increasing membership in their churches. However, after hitting bottom with his own personal demons as well as the repercussions of family dysfunction, Meyer sought help. Throughout this book Meyer includes personal stories from his therapy which included not just visiting with a pastoral counselor but also seeking out a spiritual director. After time in deep contemplation: reading the scriptures prayerfully, taking time away from parish life in order to spend more time with family, maintaining safe personal and family boundaries, Meyer felt equipped to re-enter ministry.

Whole Life Transformation is a book that every pastor and seminarian must read at least once a year. All too often pastors fall into the trap that our job is to be the CEO of our congregations, focusing our attention on what Meyer’s calls the “externals” buildings, budgets, increasing memberships, and so forth. Due to high stress from Church authorities and from parishioners pastors succumb to high demands and pressures which often result in some sort of addictive or toxic behaviors. Meyer’s shows us that if pastors are grounded in the person and ministry of Christ, a ministry focused on prayer, rest, proper mental and physical health, then we can best serve our flocks. I congratulate Mr. Meyer for his ruthless honesty about himself and about the Church at large and his boldness to take on the many demons that are plaguing the Church today.

Do yourself a favor and “take and read” Whole Life Transformation, you won’t be disappointed.