I would highly recommend Stephen Mansfield’s “Healing Your Church Hurt: What to do When You Still Love God but Have Been Wounded by His People.” I was provided two copies of the book in a special pre-release directly from the publisher for review purposes (the second copy goes to the first person to tweet a link of this blog or to post a link on to their Facebook page). You can pre-order a paperback copy for under $12 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Your-Church-Hurt-Wounded/dp/1414365608/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334011433&sr=8-1) or directly from Tyndale at http://tyndale.com/Healing-Your-Church-Hurt/9781414365602.
My favorite chapter dealt with “The Image of our Folly” where the author shares his heart for the walking wounded. He writes, “A guy falls into a deep hole and starts yelling for help. Soon a doctor happens by and hears the anguished cry. The doctor peers down into the hole, writes a prescription, throws it to the guy below, and keeps walking. Seeing the man below, the priest comes by and he peers into the hole. Seeing the man below, the priest writes out a prayer and throws it down before walking on. The guy in the hole starts yelling even louder. Soon his friend Joe comes by.
‘Hey Joe, help me. I’m down in this hole.’
So Joe jumps down into the hole too.’
‘What have you done?’ our guy says, ‘Now we’re both stuck down here!’
‘Yeah,’ says Joe calmly, ‘but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out'” (12-13).
What a wonderful way to illustrate just one more reason we feel so compelled to plant Blue Bridge Church in the Tri-Cities. There are so many of our friends and family members who are currently de-churched. For one reason or another – some of them were hurt and others were the ones doing the hurting. Regardless, they are dire need of rescue. They need someone to jump into the hole and show them the way out. They need to be reminded of God’s mission. I am convinced that if they spend six months planning and praying and preparing to plant a church that they will fall in love with a faith community again – and with the One who is at the center of that Call – Jesus Christ himself.
I have been down here before. And I am not afraid to go back.
Official Book Description: If you’ve been part of a church, you have probably suffered a “church hurt”—or know someone who has. Maybe the pastor had an affair or the congregation fought over money or the leaders were disguising gossip as “prayer.” Stephen Mansfield knows how it feels. Though he is now a New York Times bestselling author, he was a pastor for more than 20 years, and he loved it—until he learned how much a church can hurt. Yet he also learned how to dig out of that hurt, break through the bitterness and anger, stop making excuses, and get back to where he ought to be with God and his people. If you’re ready to choose the tough path to healing, Mansfield will walk you through it with brotherly love, showing you how you can be better than ever on the other side of this mess—if you’re willing to start Healing Your Church Hurt. Previously published as ReChurch.
Official Author Biographies: Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times bestselling author of The Faith of George W. Bush, The Faith of the American Soldier, Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill, and ReChurch: Healing Your Way Back to the People of God among other works of history and biography. Founder of The Mansfield Group, a research and communications firm, and Chartwell Literary Group, which creates and manages literary projects, Stephen is also in wide demand as a lecturer and inspirational speaker. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Beverly, a successful producer and songwriter.
George Barna was raised and educated on the East Coast before moving to California in the early 1980s. He held executive positions in advertising, public policy, political campaigns, and media/marketing research before beginning his own company, the Barna Research Group (now The Barna Group), in 1984. The firm analyzes American culture and creates resources and experiences designed to facilitate moral and spiritual transformation. Located in Ventura, California, The Barna Group provides primary research as well as developmental resources and analytic diagnostics. The company has served several hundred parachurch ministries and thousands of Christian churches throughout the country. It has also supplied research to for-profit corporations such as the Ford Motor Company, the Walt Disney Company, Visa USA, and Prudential, and has assisted the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army as well.
To date, George has written more than 40 books, predominantly in the areas of leadership, trends, spiritual development, and church health. Included among them are best sellers such as Revolution, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, The Frog in the Kettle, The Power of Vision, and Pagan Christianity? Several of his books have received national awards and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He has also written for numerous periodicals and has published various syndicated reports on topics related to faith and lifestyle. He frequently writes about faith and culture in The Barna Update, a bimonthly research report accessed by hundreds of thousands of people through The Barna Group’s Web site (www.barna.org). His work is frequently cited as an authoritative source by the media. He has been hailed as “the most quoted person in the Christian church today” and is counted among its most influential leaders. In 2009, George initiated Metaformation, a new organization designed to help people maximize their potential. He is also the founding director in the Strategenius Group, which is engaged in business development and strategic marketing projects. To read George’s blog and get more information about his current projects, visit http://www.georgebarna.com.
Barna is a popular speaker at ministry conferences around the world and has taught at several universities and seminaries. He has served as a pastor of a large multiethnic church, has been involved in several church plants, and currently leads an organic church. He has served on the board of directors of various organizations. After graduating summa cum laude from Boston College, Barna earned two master’s degrees from Rutgers University. At Rutgers, he was awarded the Eagleton Fellowship. He also received a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University. He lives with his wife and their three daughters in Southern California. He enjoys spending time with his family, writing, reading novels, playing and listening to guitar, relaxing on the beach, visiting bookstores, and eating pizza.