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In my first seminary class, we were asked to introduce ourselves and say why we enrolled. I'll never forget what one student said 'My denomination wants me to have an M.Div., but once they see I can grow a big church, I don't think they'll make me finish the program. The priorities of this future pastor were startling, but he's not alone in them.In the years since that class, author and minister Skye Jethani has seen more and more pastors swallowed by the celebrity syndrome. Not long ago, ministers were among the most trusted and admired people in our culture. But not anymore. A 2013 study from Gallop revealed that Americans' admiration for clergy has reached an all-time low. That, taken with reduced trust of institutional religion overall, makes it easy to see why ministers feel insecure about their calling. In response to this trend, some pastors have looked to emulate those who are praised by the culture, business leaders, entertainers, and social activists. This has led to a new understanding of what a minister should be. We've turned away from viewing our pastors as shepherds, and now expect them to be celebrities. Immeasurable will help ministers recognize the cultural forces shaping their view of the calling, and then reimagine what faithful church leaders can look like in the twenty-first century. Through short essays and reflections on the pastor's soul and skills, this book will help prospective pastors explore their calling to ministry, and it will help veteran pastors reframe their vision for the work. Drawing on cultural dynamics, personal stories, and his own experience working in a church and with church leaders, Skye Jethani will address matters like ambition, anger, community, consumerism, fame, health, justice, platform, preaching, rest,simplicity, success, vision, and more. There are endless resources to help pastors do the practical work of ministry, but there are far fewer that speak to the pastor's soul and spirit. Immeasurable provides affirmation and encouragement for church leaders faithfully serving God. It commends the true work of ministry, shepherding, teaching, encouraging, while redefining what we mean by success in ministry. It's a book church leaders can return to again and again for insight and inspiration.Show more
The challenge facing Christianity today is not a lack of motivation or resources, but a failure of imagination. A growing number of people are disturbed by the values exhibited by the contemporary church. Worship has become entertainment, the church has become a shopping mall, and God has become a consumable product. Many sense that something is wrong, but they cannot imagine an alternative way. The Divine Commodity finally articulates what so many have been feeling and offers hope for the future of a post-consumer Christianity. Through Scripture, history, engaging narrative, and the inspiring art of Vincent van Gogh, The Divine Commodity explores spiritual practices that liberate our imaginations to live as Christ's people in a consumer culture opposed to the values of his kingdom. Each chapter shows how our formation as consumers has distorted an element of our faith. For example, the way churches have become corporations and how branding makes us more focused on image than reality. It then energizes an alternative vision for those seeking a more meaningful faith. Before we can hope to live differently, we must have our minds released from consumerism's grip and captivated once again by Christ.Show more