- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Baker Books (May 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801014603
- ISBN-13: 978-0801014604
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Measure of Our Success, The: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors Paperback – May 1, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Our worth is simply not measured by our church attendance, programs, buildings, and budgets. At least it cannot be, or it will cost us. In fact, it already has.
Pastor Shawn Lovejoy has seen false measures of success do damage in his own life. In his work as speaker, consultant, and coach, he's also seen them lead to pride, self-reliance, loneliness, isolation, exhaustion, and even self-destruction in the lives of other pastors. In this transparent, brutally honest, yet encouraging book, he calls us back to measuring our success as pastors the way God does. Using Scripture, personal examples, and practical insights, Lovejoy leads us back to our first love and, in doing so, toward a more effective and healthy ministry.
With contributions from leading pastors, including
and many more
"Too often we've listened to the false gods of competition and numbers instead of to the Holy Spirit and Scripture. Shawn offers us a needed corrective."--Larry Osborne, author; pastor of North Coast Church, Vista, CA
"An encouraging must-read for any pastor feeling discouraged, worn out, and worried that success will never come."--Greg Surratt, founding pastor of Seacoast Church, Mt. Pleasant, SC
"I wish I had this book when I started The Journey. I highly recommend that everyone who serves in the church read this cover to cover."--Darrin Patrick, author; lead pastor of The Journey, St. Louis, MO
"Shawn has given us a book filled with practical insight. I wish I could have gathered this much wisdom in one book when I set out to start my first church seventeen years ago. I would have avoided so many painful mistakes."--Chris Seay, author of A Place at the Table; pastor of Ecclesia, Houston, TX
Shawn Lovejoy is the founding and lead pastor of Mountain Lake Church and directional leader of Churchplanters.com, a coaching and resource ministry for church planters. Shawn, his wife Tricia, and their three kids live near Atlanta, Georgia.
About the Author
Shawn Lovejoy is the founding and lead pastor of Mountain Lake Church, the directional leader of churchplanters.com, and the author of The Measure of Our Success. God has used Mountain Lake Church and churchplanters.com to become one of the most influential church planting ministries in the world, and Shawn gives Jesus all the credit. Shawn loves his wife, his kids, the church, pastors, college football, and PlayStation3. In that order. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia.
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Secondly, the author works on redefining true success in terms of:
Spiritual, emotional, relational, intellectual, and physical vitality
People are our ministry; Loving them is our tapestry.
Teamwork with people of character, care, clarity, conviction, and culture
Willingness to pay the price to obey God rather than human preferences
Dealing constructively with all kinds of criticisms
Preventative measures to avoid casting the quitting card.
Thirdly, the author focuses on what really matters, and what needs to be the true measure of success in ministry. Instead of numerical growth, focus on conversion growth. Do not stuff oneself with spiritual meat without the corresponding fruit. Leaders need to spend time meaningfully with leaders or leaders to be, instead of aimless superficial mingling with crowds. Christology is first, not ecclesiology. In other words, we cannot kid ourselves by thinking that the Church is the vehicle of salvation for the world. It is Christ alone. Knowing when to step down is not a mark of failure. It is a mark of wisdom and spiritual success.
Having a wrong metric will lead to erroneous use of precious resources in ministry. This book carries with it a crucial message for us. It is a necessary book for those of us interested in learning how to measure success in ministry. Personally, I do not like the word 'success.' It has too many connotations with worldly metrics. That said, the use of this word connects very well with all people. Moreover, I think it is basically used in a "for lack of a better word" sentiment. I appreciate the real world application aspect that comes at the end of every chapter. Prominent leaders like Larry Osborne, Mark Batterson, Steven Furtick, Tony Morgan, Chris Seay, Pete Wilson, and many more, provide helpful insights into the chapters offered by Shawn Lovejoy. It is like a book led by one central author, supported by contributors toward the same goal: moving away from false measurements toward true measurements of ministry success. Let me close with this wonderful words of Lovejoy.
"We must not seek to please people. We must please God.
We must not seek to fill auditoriums. We must fill heaven.
We must not seek fame. We must make Jesus famous.
We must not seek our agenda. We must proclaim his agenda.
We must not quit if we are called. We will quit if we are not.
The measure of our success is clear. It is laid out for us in Scripture. If we muddy the waters with our own desires and expectations, we will ultimately fail in the very thing we have given our lives to: our ministries." (180)
Can we do both? That is, both worldly success as well as spiritual success? I like to think we can, but the principle behind Matthew 6:24 seems to indicate only one way. Everyone likes to be a part of a growing church. The key question is not the numbers or the experience of being part of a vibrant body, but whether the Church is glorifying God. Beware of churches that shoot up quickly, but when the elements and the trials of life appear, members leave and that church wilts away.
This book may very well save you from falling into the treacherous potholes of ministry. It is not for the sake of our ministry that we need to adopt appropriate and healthy metrics for measuring our effectiveness and fruitfulness in ministry. It is for the sake of the world that we try to measure up to the godly standards that Jesus has put forth for us. That said, we can only do so much. It is the Holy Spirit that does the ultimate work: Pointing all to God.
Rating: 4 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me free by Baker Books and Graf-Martin Communications (Resourcing Leaders Program) without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
One of the book's greatest strengths is having each chapter end with an insight by another person (usually a pastor) on the same topic. This is novel, and because the short essays of insight are not "rubber stamps" of the chapter, it shows a good measure of humility on the author's part to permit them in "his" book.
As the subtitle indicates, the book is written with a consistently "impassioned" tone, but it is not whiny, and seldom accusatory of practices he disagrees with (though he does go there a couple of times). There's plenty of good stuff, so you can toss out the 2 or 3 bones and profit from the rest. The author says he's basically writing a confessional piece, urging pastors not to do what he did in his early years of ministry, and the book carries a ring of truth to one who's been there and "done it that way before" - and has repented. In this way, it sounds a lot like the path other pastors have traveled who might be "Type A" personalities: flying 24/7/365 with afterburners on takes a toll on a person and on all the people around them. You either have a meltdown, or change your ways.
Oddly, with such a strong focus on the principle that "success is being faithful with what we have," there is only a single minor reference to Jesus' parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27). This parable is THE classic biblical justification of the principle.
I greatly appreciated his point about "Culture Trumping Vision." Pretty much everyone who pastors a growing or large church teaches that Vision-casting is the key to moving forward and expanding. The author rightly points out that even the best vision will go nowhere if a church's culture is unhealthy. If your church has culture problems, you've got to work on that first. He points to Samuel R. Chand's excellent book on this: "Cracking Your Church's Culture Code."
The book is very good. There aren't many books with so many - and such a variety - of good and actionable pointers for pastors.