Preventing Ministry Failure: A ShepherdCare Guide for Pastors, Ministers and Other Caregivers

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Overview

Great falls from ministry don't just happen either. A complex mix of factors both internal and external test the limits of your ability to minister wholeheartedly over the long haul. Senior pastor Brad Hoffmann and licensed professional counselor Michael Todd Wilson work with pastors 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, the authors reasoned, can they be prevented?

Preventing Ministry Failure is a personal guidebook for people in ministry 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, 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

About the Author:
Brad Hoffmann is senior pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Baytown, Texas, and cofounder of ShepherdCare

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Editorial Reviews

Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox
"Pastors need relationships with other pastors. It's that simple. This book provides a great resource for a small group of pastors to go through together. The material focuses on seven common precursors to ministry failure, including lack of meaningful relationships, inadequate stress-management skills, and underdeveloped leadership skills. Besides being ideal for small groups of ministers (or church staff members), it's also a nice guide for a more experienced pastor to go through with a novice pastor in a mentoring session."
Alan Chambers
"The Bible clearly tells us that in this world we will have trouble, and those in ministry are not exempt from it. We all experience trials and temptations, and are faced with difficult choices related to our human struggles. Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann understand this and have done an excellent job sharing a biblical perspective on avoiding the all-too-common pitfalls of ministry that can lead to destruction. The wisdom and insight found in this book has helped me become a more effective leader and minister."
Michael Catt
"ShepherdCare is a wonderful ministry to help pastors keep their hands to the plow and finish well. This book is a must-read for all ministers . . . a resource they will go to again and again as they strive to serve the Lord, their families and their churches with integrity."
Doctor - Johnny M. Hunt
"Nothing ignites my passion more than instructing and encouraging fellow ministers through our Timothy Barnabas conferences. As one who has ministered to thousands of pastors struggling with the demands of ministry, Preventing Ministry Failure is as instructive as it is encouraging for the minister dealing with the daily challenges of ministry responsibility—including the important need for intentional boundaries to protect the minister's calling, family and personal integrity. This book promotes something I've been encouraging ministers to do for over fifteen years: to develop relationships with other pastors that they may serve as support to one another. If you're serious about having a lifelong and fruitful ministry, Preventing Ministry Failure is for you."
Mark Laaser
"It has long been time for us ministers to become honest with ourselves and break the silence surrounding the myth, 'It won't happen to me.' I work with countless ministers every year who believed the same lie yet found themselves in one of our Faithful & True workshops--burned out on life and ministry from an affair, Internet pornography use or some other pattern of sexual indiscretion. Moral and ministry failure can happen to any of us and it happens all the time. Preventing Ministry Failure is a book for ministers who are willing to admit 'There, but for the grace of God, go I.' Those with honest humility will see this book as a godsend--a systematic and practical tool for proactive maintenance in the minister's life."
H. B. London Jr.
"Michael Todd and Brad have lived in the world they write about. Their passion is enabling called-out men and women to succeed without stepping on the land mines that haunt clergy everywhere. Devour their book and live the life they prescribe. It will become a win-win."
C. Gary Barnes
"Preventing Ministry Failure is a first-of-its-kind 'package' that is sure to have deep and broad impact for those committed to shepherding ministries. This resource is the result of collaborative efforts of pastors and professionals empirically deriving seven areas of concern for force-terminated ministers. These findings have been provided for us now in a workbook format for establishing and applying preventative self-care plans that are theologically and psychologically sound. Thank you, Michael Todd and Brad, for providing a text that I am eager to implement at our seminary."
Archibald D. Hart
"Preventing Ministry Failure is most timely and appropriate. Covering a wide range of challenges facing pastors today, it provides insightful and practical suggestions for avoiding ministry failure. Also, as the authors point out, long-term effectiveness in ministry isn't just about the pastor, it's also about the pastor's family as well. There is little point in building a great church while your own family disintegrates or your children turn against you and God--which is what occurs more often than we acknowledge publicly. With suggestions for self-care, having an accountability group, boundary setting and a host of other important issues essential to finishing well in ministry, this book is the most comprehensive I have yet seen. I recommend it as a textbook for every seminary."
Dave Carder
"Thirty years ago the moral failure of my second senior pastor forced me to start working with adultery in ministry. I wish I had had this material then. After years of everyone telling us pastors that we need to be in a small group where we can be open and vulnerable, Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann finally provide for us a guide that not only tells us but shows us how to do that. I know of nothing else like it for those of us in vocational Christian ministry, and I can't wait to use it in my own group."
Ken Whitten
"In a day where senior pastors and ministers alike are reading, collecting and gathering materials from books, CDs and seminars for the benefit of someone else, Brad Hoffmann and Michael Todd Wilson have written an excellent self-help book for the minister himself. These seven reasons why ministers struggle, quit, resign or are forced out of ministry have been identified and analyzed, and a course of action recommended for the health and happiness of the minister's home and family.
The book moves beyond the theory to the practical. Trust me, these two have been there, done that and bought the shirt."
Dr. Johnny M. Hunt
"Nothing ignites my passion more than instructing and encouraging fellow ministers through our Timothy Barnabas conferences. As one who has ministered to thousands of pastors struggling with the demands of ministry, Preventing Ministry Failure is as instructive as it is encouraging for the minister dealing with the daily challenges of ministry responsibility--including the important need for intentional boundaries to protect the minister's calling, family and personal integrity. This book promotes something I've been encouraging ministers to do for over fifteen years: to develop relationships with other pastors that they may serve as support to one another. If you're serious about having a lifelong and fruitful ministry, Preventing Ministry Failure is for you."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830834440
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Pages: 265
  • Sales rank: 731,830
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Todd Wilson is a licensed professional counselor and cofounder of ShepherdCare. He is the coauthor of Soul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality (Baker Books).

Brad Hoffmann (D.Min., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) is pastor of Cool Spring Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, Virginia, and cofounder of ShepherdCare.

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Table of Contents


Before We Begin: Getting the Most from This Workbook     9
Introduction: Why Preventing Ministry Failure Is So Important     15
Ministry in America Today     15
Resolving the "God Complex"     19
The Process of Restoration: The Journey Back Home     21
The Seven Foundation Stones for Effective Long-Term Ministry     25
Intimacy: Connecting to the Heart of Successful Pastoring     33
What Intimacy Really Is     34
The Consequences of Avoiding Intimacy     36
Intimacy with God     41
Intimacy Through Close Friendships     43
Intimacy with Your Spouse (and What to Do if You're Single)     48
Practical Steps Toward Deeper Human Relationships     52
Finding and Growing a Few Good Same-Gender Friendships     59
Wrap-Up     63
Calling: The Power for Effectiveness in Ministry     65
Understanding Our Call to Ministry     65
Being Sure of Our Calling     76
Called Versus Not Called: The Negative Effects of Working Outside Our Calling     82
Staying Versus Leaving: Called to Remain or Move Toward a New Assignment?     88
Wrap-Up     97
Stress Management: Avoiding Ineffectiveness and Burnout     100
Stress: The Energy to Accomplish Our Calling     100
The Energy Drain of Stress Mismanagement     106
Are You Distressed?: Self-Evaluation Tools for the Weary     111
Practical Safeguards: Spiritual and Relational     117
Practical Safeguards: Emotional and Physical     126
Wrap-Up     137
Boundaries: Protecting What Matters Most     139
Personal Boundaries     140
Real-World Boundaries in Our Ministry Setting     147
Real-World Boundaries with Intimate Relationships     157
Real-World Boundaries with Ourselves and with God     164
Wrap-Up     168
Re-creation: The Fuel to Re-energize Ministry     170
Slaves to the Schedule     170
Common Excuses for Not Re-creating     174
The Three Rs of Re-creation: Rest, Recess, Renewal     179
Creating Our Own Re-creation Plan     182
Wrap-Up     187
People Skills: Managing Our Most Valuable Resource     190
Personality and Personality Theory     190
Active Listening: Tailored Shepherding for Our Unique Flock     201
Reflective Listening     205
Assertiveness Techniques Every Minister Can Use     211
Wrap-Up      219
Leadership Skills: Setting Ministers Apart from the Rest of the Sheep     220
Transformative Leadership     220
Dealing with Change in Ministry     226
Leadership Styles: What's in Your Wardrobe?     230
Other Ingredients for Effective Leadership     239
Wrap-Up     244
Feelings List     251
Christian Counseling Resources and Related Ministries     254
The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory     255
Balanced Breathing Exercise for Relaxation     257
Personality Strengths Inventory     258
Contributors from CareGivers Forum     261
For Further Reading     262
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