Sad to say, but if you have been in ministry very long, you know the hard truth that some of the deepest wounds in our hearts come from God’s people. The women you minister to have been hurt by those in the church, and you yourself have probably not escaped the hurts, intentional and unintentional, caused by those who call themselves Christians.
I am going to take a moment to recommend a book. Written by Anne Graham Lotz (daughter of Billy Graham), Wounded by God’s People uses the biblical story of Hagar to show how a young Egyptian slave was wounded by God’s people, those she loved, respected and trusted. Like Hagar, when we are wounded in the church, our response may be to run away from those who hurt us, and even put distance between ourself and God.
This book reminds us that God cares. He sees, and He hasn’t forgotten us. He has a unique path for each of us, and sometimes He uses those hurts to prepare us for the next step. He wants to heal our hurts and renew and restore our purpose. He wants us to move forward, and Anne gives us steps to take that lead to healing and forgiveness.
This is a book you should make time to read.
The Servant Leader is a small, easy-to-read book of less than 125 pages. It was written by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. Mr. Blanchard was one of the authors of the secular best seller entitled The One Minute Manager. In fact, they reference this fact in their introduction, where they summarize this book by the phrase “Turning the One Minute Manager into a servant leader like Jesus.” This book shows that Jesus is a practical and effective leadership model for all situations and all people. They encourage us to put His servant leadership into practice in all of our leadership roles, inside and outside of the church setting.
They tackle leadership issues such as self-serving leaders vs. servant leaders, character, vision, leadership styles, etc. They back up everything with scripture, and give scriptural “case studies” for each point they make, in addition to personal examples. They emphasize the need for the servant leader to to be a student of the Word as well as the need for accountability. The authors say “True success in servant leadership depends on how clearly values are defined, ordered, and lived by the leader.”
This book clearly and concisely defines the steps to becoming a servant leader like Jesus. It made me long to not only put these principles into practice myself, but to serve under such leadership!
Buy The Servant Leader on Amazon.com
On Being a Servant of God is a book written by Warren Wiersbe. Mr. Wiersbe has been in the ministry for over 30 years, and he writes this book as a means of sharing “what I wish I had known.” It consists of 30 short “armchair chats,” where he shares his perspective on issues we all face serving God–tough situations, tough people, the desire to run away, being misunderstood, being unappreciated. This book is not directed only to pastors and those in full-time ministry, but to anyone who serves in the church. Most will relate to the issues discussed in this gem of a book.
Wiersbe defines ministry as taking place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God. He discusses these four elements in ministry–divine resources, human needs, loving channels and the glory of God. He reminds us that the love we need for ministry is something that only God can provide. He says that our “Christian service is supposed to make us grow and it will if we’re in the right place with the right attitude. He suggests that God allows problem people in our lives so that we will have the opportunity to develop spiritual maturity. He says that our Christian service “is supposed to make us grow and it will if we’re in the right place with the right attitude.”
Wiersbe touches on sensitive issues like knowing when and how to close a ministry and move on, being misunderstood and under-appreciated, how to learn from our failures and families in the ministry. He discusses the joys of Christian service, standing against the enemy’s tactics, loyalty and humility in the ministry, dealing with discouragement and disappointment, dealing with those bad days in the ministry, dealing with enemies and unjust accusations, and money issues and stewardship in the ministry. The subject of disagreements among servants in the church was one of the most applicable of his “chats” as he discussed what we can compromise (our right to be right all the time) and what we can’t compromise (fundamental doctrine).
What may seem like a mishmash of miscellaneous topics relating to ministry actually comes across as wise fatherly advice, backed up by scripture, shared by one who has had years of experience in the ministry. I would highly recommend this book to those who are serving within their church.
Resource Guide for Women’s Ministry is a book which offers “practical and creative ideas for leading prayer groups, using your home in a hospitality ministry, beginning outreach programs, forming fellowship support groups, and much more. The author, Linda McGinn Waterman, desires that every woman find God’s ministry for her life. God equips us for ministry through the unique experiences, circumstances and events of our lives. He gives us the Holy Spirit to direct and empower us to to His work.
The book is geared more toward the individual and her ministry within the community or neighborhood rather than toward a women’s ministry within the church, although some of the her ideas may work in a women’s ministry group setting. She encourages women discover God’s ministry for their lives. She encourages us to look at the needs around us (the poor and needy, senior adults, caregivers, married couples, homeschool families, single parents, widows, etc.) and to find practical and creative ways to minister to them. Some of her suggestions include: prayer groups, one-to-one and small group discipleship, hospitality, planning a women’s conference and starting evangelistic outreaches such as Bible studies and luncheons. For the woman who doesn’t know what her ministry is, the book includes a “personal inventory” for the reader to complete in order to help her identify her ministry “niche”.
The value I see in this book is that it gives an overview of the many needs that are all around in our community, and encourages women to not only be aware of those needs, but to find a creative way to minister to those needs. Each chapter is filled with creative ministry ideas and real-life experiences of women who have found a unique way that they can be used as His instruments in a hurting world.
In her book High Call, High Privilege, Gail MacDonald offers encouragement to women involved in church leadership and/or married to a church leader. She speaks from her experience of many years of “fishbowl living” as a pastor’s wife, and presents principles she has gleaned over her years in ministry. She focuses on five key relationships: a woman’s relationship to the Lord, to herself, to her husband, to her children and to the church and community. Her main themes are the joys and the privileges of ministry; however, in pursuing those themes, she touches on the realities of life in the ministry, which include pressure, applause and criticism, anger and joy, and failure and success. In order to have that joy in serving, a woman needs to learn to handle those realities.
If a woman is to survive in the ministry, the author emphasizes the primary importance of “tending the fire” of one’s personal relationship with God. Learning to listen to His voice and spending time intimately communing with the Father is the heart of “tending the fire,” and this prepares us for whatever we face in ministry. She discusses spiritual disciplines which are key to staying spiritually fresh. She encourages women to find and use their spiritual gifts.
Much of this book reiterates truths that we know. But Ms. McDonald’s many personal examples, as well as her honesty about her own struggles and failures, makes this book one that is not only very readable, but one that is also very applicational. Originally published in 1981, is was revised and updated in a 2000 version.
It is very obvious that this author loves the ministry. She encourages her readers to have a life of servanthood that is characterized by joy, knowing that God has given us the privilege and calling to ministry.