Review: Surviving Ministry

Surviving Ministry: How to Weather the Storms of Church LeadershipSurviving Ministry: How to Weather the Storms of Church Leadership by Michael E. Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After 35 years of ministry, I have certainly experienced some ‘storms of church leadership’. Osborne uses the strength and destruction of Katrina to talk about the kinds of storms that pastors go through. It is an apt comparison.

This book would be most valuable to someone in their first five years of ministry, in my opinion. It has both story elements and practical lists of ‘what to do’ in certain situations. I didn’t read anything in this book that I would disagree with, as it is written from the perspective of experience and faith. I also think that someone preaching for a smaller congregation would find help here, as well as those who work with larger churches.

Osborne fills the book with extensive quoting from various resources. In a way, this is endearing, as it reflects that he is wider perspective shared by the wisdom of others who have weathered the storms. In addition, he points out mistakes along the way that can be avoided and that will create deeper ministry relationships.

The book begins with a startling admission that rings true to me. This admission is the foundation of the book and gives reason to spend some time with it:

“It may be unjust, and it won’t be this way after Jesus comes back, but right now, storms of controversy, rejection, discord, betrayal, and opposition are inevitable. They are part of shepherding broken people in a broken world out of your own broken condition.”

That’s a good starting place.


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