Monday, November 4, 2013
Book Review: Embracing Shared Ministry by Joseph H. Hellerman
Book Review: Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why It Matters Today by Joseph H. Hellerman
A fresh take on how pastoral ministry was done in the early church, contrasting the contemporary senior pastor model with a multiple elders model, which, the author contends was the way pastoring was done in the first century. Furthermore, the author deals with authority abuse in churches, advocating, as a solution, for a “cruciform” type of life modeled by those in authority. He takes his clues from Paul’s letter to the Philippians in order to cast a markedly alternative vision in a truly biblical theology of leadership.
The author also compares the single pastor model to the plurality of elders one and makes a good case that the latter is, at the very least, the practice in the early church, particularly as lived out in Philippi. By giving modern day examples, biblical theology is brought into the realm of practical theology and helps the reader to ascertain the prevalent weaknesses in today’s popular pastor-as-CEO model.
It is possible that many pastors do not realize they have come to see the church as their own playing ground where they exercise supreme authority. It is possible that they honestly think that anyone not singing the pastor’s praises is a carnal individual that would be better off attending elsewhere. The book should at the very least help them think through how they do church government. Maybe they would learn a thing or two about pastoring the biblical way, and maybe other sheep will be spared the spiritual abuse that has victimized countless souls.
Every pastor, minister, elder, deacon and member of the board in the church should read this book!!!
Disclosure: The book was received for free from Kregel Academic & Ministry book review program. The program does not require a positive review, only an honest one.