Some books are well-written. Some are well-timed. Some are well-grounded, in good theology, life experience, or research. Some are well-planned and well-paced. But Stephen Mansfield's Healing Your Church Hurt is all of the above.
I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone. Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times bestselling author of The Faith of George W. Bush and Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill, among others, so the fact that the book is well-written is fairly predictable.
He was a pastor for twenty years, so the sound and effective biblical teaching he offers is unsurprising.
He also suffered a series of devastating betrayals from elders and others in the church he served that brought his ministry to a hurtful and unfair conclusion. So the fact that he knows whereof he speaks is no great shock, either.
And he has walked the difficult but redeeming path that leads to healing and wholeness himself, so the utter helpfulness of the book and the vulnerability and transparency with which he writes is understandable, too. And the subsequent success and joy he has found as an author, speaker, and consultant make the hope and encouragement he offers the reader understandable.
Especially impactful for me were his recurring references to the story of Paul and Barnabas--and John Mark--that unfold through various parts of the New Testament, and his solid, solid, solid discussion of the deep and frequent hurt that can come from a poor or incomplete theology, particularly as it regards us fallen human beings.
Healing Your Church Hurt (subtitled What to do when you still love God but have been wounded by his people) is a wonderful people. I say that sincerely, and without qualification. If you have been hurt by a church--or by a series of churches--I couldn't more highly recommend a book than I do this one. It can help you, if you read it, if you let it.
You can read the first chapter here. AND you can win a free copy of the book by commenting on this post by 5 p.m. Monday, March 5. You don't have to be profound. You don't even have to say anything much at all. Just leave a comment. The winner will be chosen at random from all commenters.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”)