Thursday, June 21, 2007

Confessions of a Pastor – Craig Groeschel

As a pastor I receive these mailings called “Pastor Ministry Cards.” They are filled with advertisements and mail-in cards to help me in my ministry. I usually skim through them quickly just in case there is something useful for me or the church inside. A few months ago I received a similar mailing. This one was more of a catalog than a packet of cards, but the premise was the same. I thumbed through and found an offer for a free book—just go on-line to this address and click on that link and register for your book. I’m all about free books, especially those that promise to help me in my ministry. A few days later I received this book. I’ll start by saying it was worth the price, and if I had known how good it was, I would have paid cover price and read it long before now.

Craig Groeschel is the founding pastor of a megachurch. He’s trying to get real. Part of the way he is doing this is by publishing his “Confessions”. Inside the covers we learn of his battles with being the best pastor that he could be, his doubts about his own ability, his struggles with sexual sin and loneliness. We learn that even though he’s the pastor of a fast-growing, multi-location church, he’s just a regular person. Wouldn’t it be nice if all our pastors (present company included) would admit to their own humanity?

From the introduction in which he admits to living a lie—wearing a mask in order to seem to be the person that others want to see—to the close of the last chapter in which he challenges the reader to become real too, Groeschel makes you realize that you need to own up to your own personal shortcomings as well.

Perhaps the most telling confession for me was in the chapter that the author dealt with fear of failure. My own fear of this giant often keeps me from stepping out and doing something for the Kingdom. And that’s his point. If we will admit to our shortfalls, confess our obsessions and guiltiness, God can take us and use us. Here’s the deal: God already knows that we don’t like some people, that we gossip, that we lust, and we lie. If we will admit, confess these things, we release them to the One who can help us overcome them. It doesn’t make it okay to practice these things, but it allows God to know that we know who we are and we will stop trying to be someone else.

I recommend this book to ministers and lay-persons alike. Anyone who is a Christ follower and wants to become more like Jesus will benefit from reading this book. I recommend it for small group study—men’s groups, ladies’ groups, young or old adults. I recommend it, but with a warning. You may find the mirror he is holding up shows an ugly picture. You may become angry or embarrassed by what the book forces you to reveal to or about yourself. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. And Confessions of a Pastor is worth the read.

—Benjamin Potter, June 21, 2007

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