The Journey of Ministry: Insights from a Life of Practice is a book written from a wealth of experience. Eddie Gibbs takes us on a journey through his life in ministry. His life has varied from pastoral to missions to teaching in a seminary and it is wealth of experience from which to draw.
The book is formatted on single pictures that he develops into deeper, more nuanced thoughts in each chapter. The chapters are simple one word titles: “Walking,” “Dying,” “Hurdling,” etc.
But each chapter draws on that illustration and takes us into a deeper journey. In “Walking” it is the thought that in a life of ministry you don’t “lead” people in a military way. You walk with them. It’s a long journey. Do it together.
When he talks about “Dying,” one of the insights he draws from is learning when something in ministry should die. There are times when churches may need to legitimately close the doors and allow something they loved have a decent funeral so that something new can spring up. One of the most powerful experiences I remember in the life of a friend of mine was watching him lead his church through that exact process. The church spent a season of prayer together and they all reached the same conclusion: It was time to close the doors and allow God to do something fresh and new. It was a journey that was incredibly hard, but I watched my friend come through it with the power of the Spirit.
Gibbs’ gift as a teacher comes through in the writing. He gives wonderful personal experiences, but he is methodical and walks through each experience to teach specific ideas and give practical helps.
For me, it reads differently than hearing from someone who has pastored their entire career, but that doesn’t make it inferior to other books I am drawing from right now. It’s just a different style.
I find this a helpful book in my current stage of ministry, and I think it is useful for younger ministers to take Gibbs’ thoughts and learn from someone who has made a lifelong commitment to ministry. It is a wealth of information in a few pages.
This review is written without obligation to be “positive.” The book was sent as a review copy to me, compliments of InterVarsity Press.
The Journey of Ministry: Insights from a Life of Practice