Statistics from the book:
~ 80% of pastors believe being in pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families
~ 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started
~ 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once per month
~ Only 1 of every 10 pastors will actually retire as a minister in some form
Being a pastor is hard, no doubt about it. Burnout is all too common. After serving 30+ years as a pastor, Dr. Charles Stone had enough. He went in search of the killer of ministry. Working with The Barna Group, LifeWay Research, and Christianity Today’s NationalChristianPoll.com, he surveyed over 1,900 pastors and 1,000 non-pastors.
He found not one, but FIVE killers and he’s calling them out in FIVE MINISTRY KILLERS and How to Defeat Them: Help for Frustrated Pastors.
In 5 Ministry Killers, Author Charles Stone has set out to examine the statistics, to evaluate the reports of the condition of those in ministry, and to provide help for frustrated pastors. He presents the information to pastors, but it’s packaged in such a way that lay people would gain much from reading the book as well. The author presents a convincing argument for the need to encourage pastors and help them renew their enthusiasm for ministry.
The book is based on sound research from multiple sources and the author approaches the topic from the trenches. I found this refreshing since he’s been there and understands that which he writes about. In a few cases, I thought maybe his experiences were a little too emotionally raw in that he comes across a little cynical, or mad. However, considering how few people really understand their pastor or his frustration, these feelings are understandable. He assumes that all 12-15% of pastors who said they had no struggles were in denial and clueless (p.55), however, I find it possible that not every pastor is frustrated. Still, the idea makes the reader want to explore a little and find out what truly does frustrate his or her own pastor.
Stone challenges the reader to think, spells out the problem, and then offers four clear steps for dealing with ministry frustration. The 5 ministry killers are mentioned in the introduction and then in Chapter 4, but then the author says, “I don’t unpack this in a linear fashion…Rather, I’ve sprinkled them throughout the book” (p. 11). I’m a little more linear in my thinking, so I would have liked to have seen a little more attention given to clearly unpacking the 5 ministry killers since that was the title of the book.
Does your pastor need this book? Most likely, yes. Why not give a copy as a gift? (see how you can win a copy below)
To watch a video of Dr. Stone discussing his new release from Bethany House, FIVE MINISTRY KILLERS and How to Defeat Them – Help for Frustrated Pastors, simply click on his image to the right.