Article & Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
CTJ 2:5 (June 1998) p. 206
Article & Book Reviews
By the faculty of Tyndale Biblical Institute & Theological Seminary and others
Mal Couch, Editor
The Power of Loving Your Church by David Hansen, Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1998, 170 pp., cloth, $16.99
To be quite frank, when I first received this book for review, I had an instant dislike toward the title before I even opened it’s pages. Now I admit, this is not being very objective. My mental block to the title was caused by the fact that I don’t believe our evangelical churches need anymore wimpy, syrupy, goodie-goodie, always smiling pastors. I’m looking for the John Knox and Calvin types—like J. Vernon McGee, who told his sniveling church boards how to eat the cabbage. (That’s why he could remain in the same church for about forty-five years!) The book’s title made me feel it was going to be another “just lov’em” kind of reading experience, but I was pleasantly surprised.
There are the “pastor—love-em” chapters, but there are also some reality sections. Now let me be clear, there is no question that the pastor must love the sheep. This love for them should be deep and spread around with a lot of patience. This is only right, and it is definitely biblical.
But back to the book, it is about loving the sheep but there is more to it than this concept. Hansen has spent a lot of time with small, rural churches, and he’s seen and experienced it all. He reminds pastors that they will have people who dislike them no matter how they pastor. But he adds, “The power of pastoral leadership is deliberately, stubbornly, and consistently liking people who do not necessarily like us.”
But he reminds us too of the pastors who couldn’t take it. The many men who left the ministry because, in the eyes of so many in the pews, they could do nothing right! The many wives who left bitter because of the hardness and harshness that came from those whom they were trying to please! The
CTJ 2:5 (June 1998) p. 207
destroyed pastoral dreams! The crushed feelings! Good men now selling shoes in the shopping mall!
Hansen reminds us that there is a time to stop giving that which is holy to the dogs (Mt. 7:6). But when does that time arrive? When does the pastor answer back? He admits that finding that moment can be tough. Hansen says that it may be when the pastor discovers that the church he is in has lost the Lampstand. The love has cooled. The fire has gone out.
For pastors standing at the crossroads, this is one of those slow, laid-back, contemplative type books! Read it and see where you are!
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