Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Book Review: The Measure of Our Success (Shawn Lovejoy)

I am trying to picture Shawn Lovejoy sitting in my office with me as I write this review. I felt as if his book, The Measure of Our Success, was doing the very thing it was arguing against. And the more I read, the more frustrated I got. So, if I picture that brother sitting here, it makes me less inclined to vent.

The premise of Lovejoy’s argument is that we pastors tend to measure success by all the wrong criteria – number of bodies in the pew, budget size, growth rates, etc., and with this I can heartily agree. But, it seemed to me that the book spent just as much time defending those criteria in the end. What was even more difficult was the fact that every chapter was completed with another pastor’s interaction to what Lovejoy had just written. Tellingly, all of these pastors were of the celebrity type. I longed for some unknown, country church bloke to write one of these responses! If we are not supposed to try and be like the mega-church dudes, why are they the only ones whose opinions seemed to matter?

Admittedly, I gave up on the book about halfway through, so my review cannot be considered as thorough as I would like. But as I sped through the second half I didn’t see anything to change me evaluation.

This book would have been greatly helped by a robust and convincing “tearing down the idols in our hearts and lives” (27) that so plagues ministers of the Gospel. From what I could see, that never happened.

A far better read in this vein is R. Kent Hughes, LiberatingMinistry From the Success Syndrome.

(This book was provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and BakerBooks in exchange for an honest review.)