The Thistle

Resilient Ministry: New Book Reveals What It Takes to Survive and Thrive in Ministry

Resilient Ministry: New Book Reveals What It Takes to Survive and Thrive in Ministry

Every year hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders leave the vocational ministry they thought they had been called to for a lifetime. Why? What does it take for ministry leaders to remain in fruitful ministry for a lifetime? How can both the ministry leaders and those around them pursue resiliency that fosters healthy ministry leadership? Drs. Bob Burns, Tasha Chapman, and Donald Guthrie provide some helpful insights into these and other questions in their new book Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving, recently released by IVP/Praxis.

Based on five years of in-depth research conducted by Covenant Seminary’s Center for Ministry Leadership with financial support from the Lilly Foundation Inc., the book offers more than just a dry scholarly study of pastoral ministry. Rather, by drawing on the real-life ministry experiences and firsthand accounts of seventy-three seasoned pastors (and their spouses) who participated in the study, Resilient Ministry provides a revealing look at the principles and practices that can make—or break—a ministry.

The book identifies five key elements that contribute to long-term ministry health—spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and leadership and management—and offers practical suggestions for how pastors and other church leaders can experience deeper, more fruitful, and more lasting ministry success through careful attention to these key areas in their own ministries. Questions for personal evaluation and reflection are included throughout to bring home the significance of each section.

The book is the perfect companion for a peer cohort of pastors to read together. It can also be of value to church boards and others who want to better understand how to help sustain their pastors in ministry.

About the Authors

  • Dr. Bob Burns (PhD, University of Georgia) is senior associate pastor and head of staff at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and adjunct professor of educational ministries at Covenant Theological Seminary. Bob has been a pastor and teacher for more than forty years, with experiences ranging from church planting to family ministry and from worship and the arts to youth and singles ministries.
  • Dr. Tasha D. Chapman (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is dean of academic services and adjunct professor of educational ministries at Covenant Theological Seminary. Tasha has more than twenty years of U.S.-based and international vocational ministry experience that has focused on children, youth, college students, the disabled, and women.
  • Dr. Donald C. Guthrie (EdD, University of Georgia) is professor of educational ministries at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Donald has a broad range of past experience serving the university sphere (including Covenant Seminary) over the years as a campus minister, vice president for academics, and director of several university programs and conferences.