There are countless books on ministry that fill bookshops and online-bookshops all over the world. Many of them focusing on the role of a person in church leadership, particularly their actions. For example, there are plenty of books on preaching, pastoral care, discipleship, etc. Those books are good and necessary, but they assume something – that the leader is taking care of themselves.
In ‘Authentic Ministry’ Mike Reeves takes you to Acts 20:28 “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.”
Reeves helpfully points out that so much of the focus today is on the later half of the command, to care for the flock. This isn’t bad, but it’s a bad shortcut. You can only look after others as much as you look out for yourself.
In nine chapters Reeves brings good challenges, helpful advice and sound biblical teaching to the reader. These chapters were originally addresses given to students going into ministry from Union, where Reeves teaches.
The chapters speak on topics like an individual’s relationship with God, humility, prayer, friendship, growing through suffering, the local church and more.
Each chapter has multiple quotes that could be highlighted here to convince you to buy the book. However, those quotes are just snippets of a book that will ultimately encourage you in your service and spur you on to continue running the race.
The thing I like about this book is that Reeves doesn’t only encourage, but he also challenges the reader. He tackles theological pride, Christian snobbery, dishonest ‘success’ and a cheap view of the church.
I haven’t read a book about ministry in quite a while that I have underlined so much. I engender dog-eared a lot of pages, which for me is a no no.
If you’re struggling in ministry, or if you’re doing well but you want to check the foundations, this book will help.
My one ‘critique’ of the book is that it is a bit repetitive. Naturally, being written as spoken addresses to students, the format of the chapters isn’t as you might normally expect in a book. If you’re willing to overlook these ‘flaws’, and you should, this is a helpful book worth getting. If you’re in ministry, in whatever form that takes, this book can be a massive encouragement to you. Grab your copy here.
Michael Reeves is an author, speaker, and President and Professor of Theology at Union School of Theology in Oxford, England. He was former Head of Theology for UCCF and associate minister at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London. He is currently a church minister in Oxford, where he lives with his wife and children.
*** I received this book from the publisher in exchange for honest review. This does not change the way I rate the book. My views are my own. ***