The Crucifixion of Ministry - Book Review

The Crucifixion of Ministry by Andrew Purves is a book that helps those involved in full-time Christian ministry give "their ministries" back to Christ.

I bought this book because a friend of mine was reading it and I loved the title. I ended up liking the book too.

Purves makes two big points throughout the book: (1) The ministry we lead isn't ours. It never was ours. It never will be ours. And, when we begin to think of it as ours, it usually goes about as far as we're able to take a supernatural ministry in our very natural power: nowhere... over and over again. If you pastor "your church" or "your para-church ministry," or for that matter "your Sunday School class," you really ought to kill it.

(2) Christ is at work in the world, and we get to share in what He is doing. But, He will do it in His power, with His resources, in His way. It isn't our job to make Jesus relevant, or catchy, or funny, or angry. Jesus is alive... He can impress people however He likes. Our responsibility is to present Him as Scripture says, help people interpret Scripture, and lead the church in types of worship that point people back to Jesus (communion, baptism, etc...).

Purves is much more reformed than I, so there were a few places that I disagreed with the theology behind his advice. He talks a lot about Jesus "believing" for us, which I think is an over-reach of some reformed theology, but it didn't distract from Purves' main point.

Lots of books will help you be a good pastor from the man-side. They'll help you do your job better from the standpoint of the congregation, your elders, and in your own eyes. But if you're a pastor looking for a good theology of pastoral ministry from the God-side, Purves' book is a pretty good place to start.