In case you missed it, here is my guest blog over at The Middle Years Ministry. Check it out!
Grandpa Wiersbe. You can imagine the words of this book coming from a grandpa, giving their grandson advice about ministry. Maybe I think that because both my grandpa and my wife’s grandpa were in ministry for decades. The advice is not in a condescending tone, but come across as loving and caring. You want to get to the page to learn more, like you are sitting on your grandpa’s proverbial knee.
Quotes For Days. This man has a quote for everything, and each one is dynamite. Seriously, how does he do it? Wiersbe doesn’t just reference one or two servant books and take some nuggets to build on. No, he grabs quotes from deep in history, professors, old preachers, and the list goes on. No stone was left unturned to drive the point home.
Ministry A to Z. This is like the Amazon logo of ministry books. It takes you from A to Z of every aspect of ministry. Both practical aspects of ministry and also the personal/spiritual side as well. Such wisdom in these pages from a man who has lived it.
Nada. Nothing bad to report.
The Grade: A+. This book will be on my “read again and again and again” list. OK, I don’t really have that list, but if I did, this book would be at or near the top. So much wisdom and practicality to this book, where it walks alongside you in ministry and drops truth bombs on every aspect of your life. It is a must read for all those that are going into ministry, non-negotiable.
It Takes Two. Probably my favorite aspect of the book is each chapter provides two perspectives: the pastor and the pastor’s wife. This did two things. First, as a pastor it provided encouragement, challenge, and practical training for the years ahead. Second, it provided a whole new perspective of what the wife feels, deals with, and the challenges they face. It allows the reader to come away more sensitive to the other spouse and a willingness to see the other side of situations.
Big Eye Emoji. I was shocked. Maybe I need to be a better student of church history, but I had no idea of the struggles some of the greatest preachers in history had in their family life. Marital struggles, parenting regrets, and family difficulty…how was I so naive. If these fellas struggled, I need to be even more on guard and fight for my marriage, my family, my children.
Heart to Heart. At the end of each chapter, it allows the husband and wife to ask questions. Each of these questions were well thought out and are valuable to a ministry marriage. Put these into practice and allow it to be life-changing material rather than just head knowledge.
For Real. This is stretching it, but for someone early in ministry there needs to be a warning here. This book is real and honest. It speaks of difficulties, depression, struggles…just make sure you are ready to read this. It acts as a warning, and an important one, but prepare yourself if you are just entering ministry or have a young marriage/family.
The Grade: A. Those in ministry need to read this book. It won’t take you long, but it will have great impact. It’s highly practical, challenging, and encouraging along the way. It’s like a pastoral mentor and his wife taking you by the hand and leading you through the next years of your marriage and parenting. The value goes beyond the price of the book. Without a godly family, how will you have a godly ministry. Sometimes we get things backwards…this book will help put you back on track.
Extra Credit: Read the reflection article on pages 107-109. It is dynamite.
A few years ago, I asked my pastor to give me some tips on Baptism. With my inexperience in my back pocket, and some butterflies in my stomach…I thought it would best if I just posted a little cheat sheet in the baptistery to help jog my memory in case my mind went blank while standing waist deep in water. Here are some instructions my pastor gave me for my cheat sheet…
Ask any youth ministry veteran what they wished they did more of in their first few years of ministry, and partnering with parents will probably be in their top 3, if not their top wish. It is so important to get on the same team as your parents in youth ministry. This book will help you be the assistant coach to the head coach (parents) that you can be.
Book Review: Team Up by Phil Bell
Pep Talk. Skeptical of involving parents in your ministry? Well, at least read chapter one and then let me know what you think. The author does a great job grabbing the reader’s attention in the first chapter to explain the importance of parent involvement.
Practice Makes Perfect. At the end of each chapter, the practice drills are dynamite. They provide ways to implement everything you just read. These could also be put to good use in parent meetings.
Super Practical. Man, I came away from this book with tons of ideas for parent meetings and boosting my relationships with parents. How do you do parent meetings, how do you communicate, how do you _______. It’s all there and the steps are all written out. Right on Phil Bell!
Gimme Some Cheat Codes. The only thing I really feel like this book is missing is some devotional or lessons for parents using God’s Word. It would be nice to get some example of lessons or portions of the parent seminars that were mentioned in the book. I’m not looking to copy the entire presentation, but passages used, more detail of topics covered, and lessons that proved to be effective would be beneficial for the reader.
The Grade: A-. Talk about a practical ministry book that everyone in youth ministry should read. This would be the one. After reading it, I texted a few of my youth ministry buddies right away and told them about this one. So this me telling you all, get this book and be encouraged by ways you can minister to and with parents.
How’s that for an introduction. Wow! What an introduction. A biblical survey of shepherding can be found on the opening pages of this book. It certainly sets the stage for the rest of the book.
Can you hear me church? The author does an incredible job at holding the local church accountable in the process to training those who are called to ministry. Also, it does not tip toe around the necessity of protecting the church from those who do not qualify for these positions as well. I appreciate how this book upholds the church’s responsibility.
Do I need my appendix? Well, your body might not need your appendix, but your church body might need this book’s appendix. Don’t skip over the valuable preparatory material found in the back of this book. It will be quite valuable for the training and confirming of one’s call.
Could you be more specific? If you are looking how to conduct a youth internship, children’s ministry intern, or a more specific role…you will not find those specifics here. This book is not very big and it paints a broader stroke in training those in ministry. Not necessarily a bad thing, but something I wanted to warn the reader.
The Grade: B+. I wouldn’t call it earth-shattering, but I certainly would call it effective. It puts the local church’s feet to the fire, so to speak. It is a challenge to the church to do its job in training and sending people into full-time ministry, all while confirming the call. This is serious business, and I appreciate how this book treats it as such and provides an effective way of making the calling sure.
You Talking to Me. What an easy read. Seriously, it is like having a conversation with the author. I’m a big fan of books that are written in a laid-back conversational style. If I read a book about pastoral calling, I would hope it would speak to me. Well, the author’s style does just that – it is like you are being counseled in the chair across from him, and he speaks right to you and your heart.
Dry as a bone. For those that know me, I enjoy dry humor. And this book caused me to laugh out loud at times with the witty jabs that you almost miss, but add life to the book. These little comments and stories provide great flavor to a very meaty subject.
Paging all church search committees. This isn’t just a book for those seeking confirmation of the call, but can be highly useful for pastoral search committees and church boards establishing their philosophy of ministry. What a lesson on the requirements of a pastor, in behavior, practice, and lifestyle. Before writing a job description, you might want to read this book.
Better Sooner than Later. Seriously, this may sound sappy, but the only bad thing about this book is that I did not read it sooner. It satisfied the reader’s longing to understand and confirm the calling. It answers the question “Am I Called” to completion, with great detail, confidence, and sound doctrine.
The Grade: A. Got someone interested in ministry? Put this book in their hands. Think about it. We are talking about the calling to lead the body of Christ…the bride of the Savior of the world. Before any seminary applications, job interviews, internships…read this book. Start here. Seriously, it puts the pastoral call to the test. Better to test your calling with a hot chocolate, bedroom slippers, and this book…than when you are knee-deep in ministry! Buy the book, and make your calling sure.
At a young age, people began realizing he was special. He had a gift. He was wise beyond his years. At times, even his parents were overshadowed by his brilliance and insight. Although we do not know much about his childhood, history picks it up in his early 30’s.
Although he lived in the early 1st century, we still find a plethora of information. We read how this man started a revolution. His exploits are still talked about today, worldwide. His compassion for people is an example to many. His life is the epitome of a life well-lived. His example is taught in many places as one to follow and replicate as close as possible. His teachings are studied closely on many academic levels. Those that follow him are sometimes called fanatics, freaks, or outcasts. But, even in the persecution both is word and in deed, people are willing to follow, even to the point of death.
You would think with the level of following, this man would have lived a long life. But who ever said that to live an important and significant life, you have to live a long life. To the shock of many of his friends, this man was murdered. Because of his teachings, which some viewed as radical and blasphemous, he was killed by the religious leaders of the day. Without proper trial and witnesses, this man was rushed to capital punishment, receiving torturous beatings and ill-treatment along the way.
Yet, most historians have told us his death was at the age of 33. So young for a man with such potential, such influence, such compassion…a tragedy to many. That is, until you hear the name of that man. That man’s name is Jesus, the King of Kings, and the Savior of the World. Jesus Christ, the Messiah! With only 33 years of life, He turned the world upside down. He defeated sin and death. He wrestled with the enemy and pinned him the ground for all eternity. A ministry full of miracles, timeless teaching, healing, encouragement, counsel, and wisdom.
For some, they would say His life was too short. But those that know who Jesus is, they know the significance of his life. They know what He accomplished, and the eternal consequences of His death and resurrection. They know His death was needed to be forgiven. They know the Savior’s life was given, not taken, so we might have eternity in paradise.
Why is turning 33 significant? Well, it was yesterday that I turned 33 years old. What have I done that even compares to the Savior? Look what he accomplished in 33 years of life. Sure, He is God, so I am at a bit of a disadvantage. But it doesn’t mean I should not try. Try to have compassion on people who many have left behind. Try to bring forgiveness to hurting hearts by sharing the Gospel. Try to teach God’s Word, because it is from my Heavenly Father too. Try to live by the will of the Father.
Turning 33 is humbling. I look back and see what all I have done for the kingdom, and it truly pales in comparison to just 3 years of the Savior’s ministry. I realize I will try many of things that Jesus did so perfectly and often fail. But it doesn’t mean I should not try. Jesus’ ministry on earth ended in this year of his life, but as mine continues, I hope to accomplish just one pinky nail of what Jesus did. I can’t do it on my own. I need Jesus. I need my Heavenly Father. Jesus, please help my ministry to have more in common with you than just age, because next year, I won’t have that in common with you any more.
A testimony by a man who grew in his love for the church. Let it be our prayer that we love the Bride of Christ…allow it to be a place of healing, a place of refuge, of place of life change, a place of worship, and a place we can call God’s house. What do you want your church to be?