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Recommended Reading: The Journey of Ministry

Recently I’ve been reading The Journey of Ministry: Insights from a Life of Practice by Fuller seminary professor Dr. Eddie Gibbs. (Thanks go to Gibbs’ son-in-law Brian Auten (a fellow BHT patron whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet once, for far too short a conversation) for pointing it out when it was on sale.) While it seemed to start out a bit slowly, the second half of the book is chock full of good insights on the Western church and its needs in the 21st century.

The Journey of Ministry cover

A couple of choice bits:

The church also needs to multiply points of contact by taking the initiative in becoming involved in all aspects of community life and being seen making a transformative impact. We also need churches small enough for everybody to feel that they are valued, that their questions are welcomed and that they can make a contribution to expand and deepen the various expressions of ministry. The serious challenge we face today in older, traditional denominations and in many independent churches is that our model of church is not easily reproducible. It’s too expensive, consumerist and controlled. It also is increasingly out of step with a networking, relational culture.

A bit later:

The pulpit no longer provides the platform from which the neighboring community and beyond can be addressed. Its message seldom reaches beyond the dwindling ranks of the faithful, and sometimes it even falls on deaf ears in the pews.

Oh, OK, one more:

The preacher must not be allowed to become the sole interpreter of a poem. Turning poetry into prose destroys the power of the medium. It’s like explaining a joke. Poetry needs to be restored to the prophet.

Gibbs’ Chapter 6, ‘Communicating’, on the roles of apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, and pastor is worth the price of the book all by itself. Worth reading if you get the chance.

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