at Greater Risk A
two-part Review by Dr John Lim
two-part Review by Dr John Lim
book was first titled, “Pastors at Risk” and published by
Victor Books (1993). Now, ten
years later it has been updated, revised and some new insights have been
added. It is now titled “Pastors
at Greater Risk” because the authors sensed that “the risks in
ministry are greater than ever” (p. 14).
It is under a different publisher.
This is a book for pastors and church leaders as well. This is one
of those books you do not want to speed read.
It is serious reading, but thankfully is easy reading.
three sections and "deal with the risks that pastors tell us they
face. In section 1, we explore
in detail where these risks
come from. In section 2, we
investigate the risks pastors face right in their own families.
In section 3, we look at the risks confronting pastors in their
inner, personal lives" (p. 16).
James Dobson, in his Foreword writes: “It is impossible to overstate how
deeply I feel about the importance of upholding the men and women who
serve us through the ministry of the church….
The pastor, in addition to carrying this heavy responsibility for
the church and society, usually has a family of his own at home”
shared concern of Dr Dobson for the personal and professional life of the
pastor was first aired on his “Focus on the Family” broadcast.
In that conversation, which is the book’s first chapter, “Warning:
Crisis in Progress,” Mr. London, one of the two authors,
recites a list of alarming risk factors gathered by the 1991 Fuller
Institute Survey of Pastors. Here
authors reinforce these shocking statistics with the findings of other
pastoral surveys. In Focus on
the Family’s random survey of 5000 pastors, 40% said they considered
leaving their positions in the previous three months (pp. 25-26).
chapter two, the authors dealt with “Ministry Keeps Getting
Tougher.” The advice is “Ministry
is vastly different from what it used to be---I must retool my ministry
with strategies to meet effectively the challenges I’m facing” (p.
37). Then they went on to list
some 20 hazards ministers face today.
Decides What You Do?” (Chapter Three) addresses the problems of inflated
expectations and the resultant leadership crisis. To help fight the
downward spiral of disillusionment, the authors encourage pastors to
redefine their vision for the ministry---including themselves and their
families---according to the Golden Rule, in a set of worthier, more
realistic expectations. Goals should include the pursuit of excellence and
a life “saturated with Christ.” But
they must also recognize human limitations and consider the source when
expectations are expressed by others.
Four, “Avoiding the Hazards in Ministry Marriage,” the authors
zeroed in on pastors’ marriages. With
the help of Gordon and Gail McDonald, whose lives and ministry were pulled
apart by infidelity but eventually were restored, London and Wiseman trace
the pitfalls set in the way of ministers and their spouses. The McDonalds
point out that, ironically, in an age where sex is all around, intimacy is
often lost, and self-deceit is a key factor in entertaining temptation, in
a cultural climate where truth is becoming less and less valued. Pastors
are especially vulnerable to moral failure when they feel they are above
reproach, and when their congregation accords them success and accolades.
authors then made the following prescriptions for nurturing a healthy
pastoral marriage (pp. 109 – 113):
Chapters Five and Six (“God Made Your Wife Special” and “Showcase
Kids or Strong Families” respectively), the authors visit the
pastor’s home to consider the pastor’s family; his wife and the
notorious PK (preacher’s kid). In
a true example, a 16-year old caught drinking wreaks havoc on the family
and the ministry of a pastor who looks good from the outside because of
his outward achievements, but, says the authors, “his inner spiritual
resources are dry and brittle” (p. 150).
authors offer some advice in this matter here. They say that the pastors
with this kind of dilemma should be more concerned about their children
than their reputations. Instead
of looking for someone to blame, this pastor needs to show unconditional
love while confronting the problem, realizing that the teen will soon be
an adult and recognizing that there must be support from the congregation
for “a serious bump in the road” which is “not a life-threatening
episode.” Meanwhile, the minister must confront his own insincerity.
is especially important for pastors and their spouses to provide guidance
and leadership for their children through the career crises and
inconveniences that often come with being part of a pastor’s family. The
authors advise parents of “PKs” to remember to please the people that
matter most to them -- their families -- by nurturing their relationship
with God and by seeking outside support for their lifetime role as
would like to stop here and continue this review in the next issue of BTW.
But, dear fellow ministers, I would highly recommend you to
purchase a copy and read it. I
have discovered it to be an exceedingly helpful book that brings
significant hope and practical solutions to the constant and major changes
so many pastors faced today.
(This book is available from
BGST Library: LC 253 LON.)
Last Wednesday we had one of our lady-student, Khoo Ka Bit, who spoke from Jn. 21:4-22 on the topic, "The Lord Who Commissions Us Cares for Us." Our Lord loves and cares for our physical needs (21:4-14), and our spiritual needs (21:15-17). In response to this, we ought to "follow Jesus" (21:18-22). In our following, we must deny ourselves (vv. 18-19) and focus on Jesus alone (vv 20-22).
On 18 August Dr Aquila Lee will be chairing the Chapel.
GENERAL FUND UPDATE:
Budget for the month of
Aug 2004 =$51,200
A Blessed Birthday to…
Stephen Looi 17/8
Violet Lim 17/8
Edmund Wong 18/8
Daisy Yeo 19/8
Koh How Eng 20/8
Chia Hwee Pin 21/8
Joseph Heng 22/8