Wilson, Preventing Ministry Failure

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Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffman, Preventing Ministry Failure: A ShepherdCare Guide for Pastors, Ministers and Other Caregivers. IVP Books, 2007.


LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Experienced senior pastor, Brad Hoffman, and licensed professional counselor, Michael Wilson, write out of their experiences in ShepherdCare, a ministry to pastors who have been involuntarily terminated from ministry positions. The author’s begin with a “quiz” to help readers assess their level of awareness of the internal and external factors that contribute to burnout, ineffectiveness and moral failure. The quiz mentions the percentage of ministers who are forced out, who feel inadequately trained, whose families are affected negatively by ministry, who experience depression, who have recurring serious conflict with church members, who currently struggle with internet pornography, and who feel they have no friend to talk to. The actual figures on these and other challenges associated with being called “minister” are astounding. Some of this is due to unrealistic expectations of churches, while the ministers themselves often add fuel to the fire. To address the need, this excellent workbook presents Seven Foundation Stones for Effective Long-Term Ministry:

  1. Intimacy: Connecting to the Heart of Successful Pastoring
  2. Calling: The Power for Effectiveness in Ministry
  3. Stress Management: Avoiding Ineffectiveness and Burnout
  4. Boundaries: Protecting What Matters Most
  5. Re-Creation: The Fuel to Re-Energize Ministry
  6. People-Skills: Managing Our Most Valuable Resource
  7. Leadership Skills: Setting Ministers Apart from the Rest of the Sheep

Unlike many authors on this subject who simply describe the unique pressures of ministry but do little to help you manage them, Wilson actually provides helpful “how-to.” Within its chapters and rich appendices, this workbook is full of exercises, worksheets, inventories, reflections, and conversation guides.

From the Publisher

Great ministers don’t just happen.

Great falls from ministry don’t just happen either. A complex mix of factors both internal and external an unaddressed need for relational intimacy, a misunderstanding of God’s call, unrealistic expectations and inadequate resources coming from the people in your care all test the limits of your ability to minister wholeheartedly over the long haul.

Senior pastor Brad Hoffmann and licensed professional counselor Michael Todd Wilson have studied the struggles that pastors and other shepherds face in their ministries. They began the ministry of ShepherdCare as an extension of their work with pastors who had been removed from their place of service. The common experiences of these pastors revealed patterns that consistently contributed to burnout, ineffectiveness and moral failure. If such patterns can be predicted, they reasoned, can they be prevented?

Preventing Ministry Failure is a personal guidebook for pastors and other caregivers to prepare them to withstand common pressures and to flourish in the ministry God has called them to. Work through the exercises and reflections individually or in conversation with your peers in ministry, and you’ll find yourself better equipped for the challenges of vocational ministry, and more conscious of the presence of God leading you on and restoring your soul.

About the Author

Michael Todd Wilson is a licensed professional counselor and cofounder of ShepherdCare.

Brad Hoffmann is senior pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Baytown, Texas, and cofounder of ShepherdCare.

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