Authentic ministry is not simply a matter of mastering professional skills or of endlessly pouring oneself out in works of service. Rather, it springs from joyful union with the heart of Christ.
Authentic Ministry offers practical guidance and spiritual nourishment for all who serve the church. Each of the nine chapters orients readers to the “one thing [that] is necessary” (cf. Luke 10:42)—abiding in Christ—while asking and answering questions both simple and profound: What is prayer? How should I respond to suffering? Who is my friend? What is theology? What does it mean to love?
This short volume originated as a series of talks delivered to various assemblies of students, pastors in training, and church leaders in the UK and beyond.
In Acts 20, Paul spoke to the elders of the church at Ephe- sus, charging them: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (v. 28).
When thinking about Christian ministry, or preparing students for it, it is all too easy to think only about Paul’s second command here: to pay attention to the flock and how we might best serve others. This is an easy shortcut, one that allows us to focus on growing our pastoral skills and our biblical knowledge, all the while leaving our own hearts unsearched. It leaves the door open to hypocrisy and hollow professionalism. It ushers in a horde of troubles, from burnout to bullying, from anxiety to isolation.
But Paul’s second exhortation builds upon the foundation of the first: “Pay careful attention to yourselves.” Only when we first do that can we have an authentic ministry that is able—from a position of health—to care rightly for all the flock of God. The simple aim of this little book is to help you pay attention to yourself and so cultivate the inner fitness necessary for outward service of the church.
Michael Reeves is the President of Union School of Theology, where he teaches in the areas of systematic and historical theology and also on preaching and spiritual formation. He is author of several books, including Rejoicing in Christ, Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith, and Rejoice and Tremble: The Surprising Good News of the Fear of the Lord.
No. of Pages:
5.0 x 7.0
January 4, 2022
Table of Contents
- Delight in God
- Boast Only in the Cross
- Pray Boldly
- Relish Humility
- Esteem Friendship
- Grow through Suffering
- Love the Church
- Be a Theologian, But Take Care
- Run the Race