As I read the book, I felt like it could greatly benefit those who are newly called to preach and for those who are newly pastoring. It also would be beneficial for pastors who have found themselves in a funk or who are discouraged by a stagnated fellowship or a drop in membership and/or attendance.
At first I felt a little skepticism, because Morris' own church is a large church. We're talking thousands of attendees and members, multiple church services, and church BRANCHES. Yes, I said BRANCHES. That, to me, is remarkable. In a day where we find that some large churches tote the prosperity gospel line, I found myself starting out this book a little biased and definitely looking for signs that this church might be one of them. I'm ashamed to say that, but I also believe that we also have to be cautious in what we read.
Upon further reading of this book, I found several nuggets of great advice and truth. I'm a big staunch supporter of those in leadership positions being leaders. Notice I said leaders--not kowtowing slaves or hard-nosed dictators. There's a middle ground there that is hard to stand on, yet a pastor (or Sunday school teacher, or prayer warrior, or choir leader, etc.) should try to maintain that. Anyone in church leadership should be willing to listen, to delegate authority when needed, and jump in there when work needs to be done.
Some things that I wrote down that I found relevant to me and to those I know were these:
- What frustrates you is probably what God has ordained your ministry to be. Aha!! Brilliant! I definitely could see that possibility. (this from Chapter 6)
- Write a vision for your church so that the body knows what the goals of the church are. (chapter 10) I think a lot of times, we just are focused on having church: worshiping, listening to the preaching, going to Bible study, that we fail to think about a vision of where we're hoping to head in the future.
- Pastors need to delegate. Exodus 18:13-23 was shared, in which Jethro gave Moses advice on delegating authority to other men so that Moses was not spending from daylight till dark in hearing the needs of the people. "Otherwise, you and your associates will all fall prey to burnout, which, in turn, eventually leads to what I call the prayer of the burned-out pastor." WOW!! How many times have you seen the same people doing everything? Often, this is a situation where there's not enough delegation happening. (Though sometimes it's as a result of there not being enough willing to do the work!) Too often there's an individual who doesn't trust someone (or "someones") to help do the job because they think it won't get done properly. This, like Morris iterated, causes burnout and oftentimes bitterness on the part of the person doing it all, and sometimes on those who would like to help but who are turned down.
I received The Blessed Church as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. My comments and opinions are my own.