Resilient Ministry, written by three people involved in theological education in the US, is the fruit of a fairly intensive research project carried out over a number of years and involving dozens of pastors and their spouses. The key question for the researchers as they listened to these pastoral couples was ‘What does it take to survive and thrive in pastoral ministry?’ From the 12000 or so pages of transcripts, the researchers highlighted five themes:
- Spiritual formation – the ongoing process of maturing as a Christian
- Self-care – the ongoing development of the whole person
- Emotional and cultural intelligence
- Marriage and family
- The poetry and plumbing of leadership
Far from being a dryly academic summary of findings, the authors have produced an excellent, highly readable resource that should be of value to anyone in pastoral leadership (or involved in the training, mentoring or support of pastoral leaders).
Over the next few days I will be posting a section by section summary of the book’s themes.
Meantime, here is a thought on ministry ‘success’:
Christian leaders are to bear fruit by sharing their faith and nurturing the fruit of God’s grace in their own lives and in the lives of others. Fruitfulness includes a measure of faithfulness and a measure of success – valuing both but preferring neither.