Imagine shaking a tree to dislodge and retrieve fruit that is hanging there. As you shake, eventually the fruit comes free and falls into your waiting arms – you have received your reward, and simultaneously rid the tree of dead leaves and limbs. Imagine this scenario and you have a good idea of what Skye Jethani is doing as he shakes our ministry “trees” trying to free good fruit while also ridding our ministries of that which is dead or dying by suggesting new ways – paradigms – of looking at and doing ministry in Immeasurable: Reflections on the Soul of Ministry in the Age of Church, Inc. (Moody Publishers, 2017). More than just another book on pastoral and church ministry, this collection of essays provides some keen insights into how we can better do ministry in the Western world in the early years of the 21st century.
The world of Church, Inc., is described right away in the introduction: “It is shorthand for ministry devoid of mystery, for pastors who assume that the exercise of their calling is a matter of skill more than the gravity of their soul. It represents the exchange of the transcendent calling of Christian ministry with mere management of religious institutions and services. If ministry is encountering the heat and light of an uncontrollable sun, Church, Inc., is the tanning salon in the local strip mall.” The book moves from there to address such things as motivation for ministry, control, the biblical role of pastors, preaching, rest, consumerism, technology, engaging in ministry, and several other relevant themes. Along the way, Jethani does a masterful job providing powerful observation and wise advice to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear – and hearts to understand. It’s not always a pleasant journey, and toes will be stepped on, but the exercise of thoughtfully reading this book is helpful (and sometimes painful), but worth it in the end – even as the paradigms for ministry are not-so-gently shaken.
Are all Jethani’s pieces of advice perfect? Should the reader soak it all in without critique? No, not at all. Personally, for example, this pastor and preacher is still processing how I feel about the chapters related to preaching. I find myself not fully agreeing, but still my mind is stimulated enough to go deeper. There are other areas that any reader will likely find the same kind of tension; even so, explore the tension and take the advice that is offered.
In the end, I highly recommend this book to any and all pastors, church leaders, denominational executives, college and seminary professors, and anyone interested in effective church ministry.
- Audio CD
- Publisher: christianaudio; Unabridged edition (3 October 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1683668146
- ISBN-13: 978-1683668145
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 1.4 x 13.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 90.7 g
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