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A Seat at Wisdom’s Table: Insights, Counsel of Nearly Two Dozen Ministers Compiled

 In All Church of God, CHOG

By Carl Stagner

Few statements have been said that ring truer than this: ministry is not for the faint of heart. Of course, God gives grace to the humble and certainly stands ready to meet our every need. But as disheartening reports of pastoral burnout and failure seemingly become more numerous as the years pass, the practical insights, counsel, and encouragement of those leaders who have been tested by time and trial have perhaps never been more heavily sought-after. Though under the radar for many pastors, Warner Christian Resources published a book last year that responds directly to the dangerous landscape of ministry marked all too often by isolation, inexperience, independence, and ignorance.

Jim Lyon, general director of Church of God Ministries, describes the unique collection in Ministry Wisdom in vivid terms. “Imagine a room of friends, each one with a unique journey and a story to tell,” he writes of the book. “Imagine yourself seated at a table, surrounded by some of the brightest and best, people you respect and admire. Imagine a moment in which you can hear from experienced voices pouring into your calling, making you better at what you do. If you are looking for such a room, you have found it. In this book. On these pages. An anthology of personal and inspired counsel. Just for you. Just for today. The ministry never looked better. Walk in and enjoy.”

Ministry Wisdom is likened to a seat at wisdom’s table because of the staggering number of trusted voices that have spoken into the compilation of a single volume. Often (though not often enough) a pastor has one, maybe two mentors who serve as guides and encouragers along his or her journey in ministry. Rare are the opportunities a pastor has to glean wisdom from nearly two dozen Church of God leaders in one setting.

Consider the list of contributors (some who have passed away) to Ministry Wisdom:

  • Evelyn Price Wilson
  • Alice J. Dise
  • James Sparks
  • Edward Eddy
  • David R. L. Stevens
  • David Hall and Keith Hall
  • Bartholomew Riggings
  • Adrienne Holmes
  • Robert O. Dulin Jr.
  • Curtiss Paul DeYoung
  • Robert Culp
  • Rudolph Smith
  • Maxwell Ware
  • Edward L. Foggs
  • Alvin Lewis
  • Linda L. Braggs
  • Ben Santiago
  • Reginald G. Smith
  • Timothy J. Clarke
  • W. G. Robinson-McNeese, James L. Phillips, and Saundra L. McNeese

The book is conveniently organized into categories of practical wisdom, suggesting strongly its value as resource for recurring reference at the fingertips of any ministry leader.
From keen perspectives and trustworthy tidbits on ministry calling preparation, to astute observations and clear takeaways on administration, bivocational balance, and potential threats to the pastorate—this book is a concept-turned-reality from the great ministry mind of Rev. Dr. Alvin Lewis, himself. Of course, Lewis didn’t rely on his own insights to cover the breadth of ministry wisdom. His approach was clearly collaborative. But with one of the greatest ministry minds of our generation having passed away prior to this volume, Lewis needed a little help collecting content that would have reflected Rev. Dr. James Earl Massey’s contribution, had he still been walking among us at the time of publication.

“This book was enriched by the contribution of Curtiss DeYoung in providing the chapter dealing with the preaching wisdom of Dr. Massey,” Lewis explains in the book. “Curtiss, thank you for giving us permission to utilize Dr. Massey-copyrighted materials and for the extraordinary skill with which you were able to compile your chapter.”

Warner Christian Resources notes, “The call to ministry and the challenges of ministry are very demanding. In today’s world, they can seem overwhelming. Finding help and encouragement is essential and can be critical to the faithful pursuit of one’s assignment. Ministry Wisdom endeavors to support that goal.”

And support that goal it does exceptionally well.

Learn more and order a copy of Ministry Wisdom: A Valuable Resource for Pastors and Ministers through Warner Christian Resources at www.warnerpress.org/9781684343195ministry-wisdom.html.

Feature (top) collage: Rev. Dr. Alvin Lewis and the cover of Ministry Wisdom.

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