Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: People Pleasing Pastors

I wish I read this book in seminary. I wish I had re-read this book at least every year since seminary! Every pastor, whether young or old should read Charles Stone's new book People-Pleasing Pastors which has been newly published by Intervarsity Press 2014.

Charles Stone is the head pastor of the West Park Church in London, Ontario and is the founder of Stonewall Ministries where he serves as a pastoral coach. He is also the author of 5 Ministry Killers and how to Defeat Them.

People-Pleasing Pastors is a topic that is essential for all pastors. The pastor's life is complicated and complex, which is usually comprised of a meandering web of relationships including his or her family as well as those in leadership positions and regular parishioners. People often project thoughts and feelings onto the pastor which then encourages the pastor to have strained and sometimes strange relationships with him or her. Stone has served as a longtime pastor and his experience combined with good sound research makes for an excellent resource for pastors and those who are in ministerial formation.

The book is divided into three sections: The Problem of People Pleasing in the Church Today, The Solution, and the Leader's Toolbox. Each section is then sub-divided into smaller chapters. Stone weaves in personal stories as well as some medical research about brain development and the Biblical stories that are appropriate for the narrative. Stone's basic thesis is that nearly three quarters of pastors try to appease or please parishioners in order to keep the peace in the parish. By doing this the pastor then often feels shame, guilt, and sometimes anger and resentment, sometimes even lashing out at people.

What is so important about this book is not just the information that he provides but the fact that they includes many types of questions for the reader to think about as well as some short little "do it yourself quizzes" about your family of origin, about your thoughts about leadership and so forth. I found myself stopping along the way reading and re-reading certain passages.

People Pleasing Pastors is a great book for small group study as well as for journaling. I will certainly go back and use this book in my journaling time thinking about my style of leadership and the gaps in it.

I highly recommend People Pleasing Pastors, do yourself and favor and buy a copy today!

For more information about this book click here 

For more information about Charles Stone click here