Liberating Ministry from Success Syndrome
Analyze Barbara and Kent Hughes’ book compilation on Liberating Ministry from Success
Liberating Ministry from Success Syndrome
Barbara and Kent Hughes’ book compilation on Liberating Ministry from Success is a phenomenal writing piece covering aspects ranging from practical, biblical, to anecdotal. The book’s context covers experience in the Ministry of the Word as an exposition guide with the backing of the writer’s lifetime experience. This level of expertise has enabled the readers to reorient and redefine their success in the Ministry of God’s Word.
Kent Hughes has written this epic piece based on his own story as a minister of God’s Word. This book mainly explains the concept of success from his experience in the field of Ministry. He describes how success is transformed gradually and profoundly. In this book, Hughes talks about his early days as a young pastor responsible for a small congregation in southern California. During this period, the Lord reveals to him worldly terms for a heart and spirit that understood success in Ministry (Hughes 1988, 72).
This evangelical piece of literature is a classic which has been on the shelves for more than twenty years, guiding upcoming ministers as its content is relayed in a pastoral tone that is personal and transparent. This literature is helpful to both the church congregants and the pastor alike. The book, as written by the Hughes couple, notes the instance when Jesus preached to a Samaritan woman bringing home the point that there is a need to pursue faithfulness tirelessly.
Church leaders who seemed to be opposed to the idea of a pragmatic church growth philosophy may be tempted to assume that they have a solid understanding of what success in Ministry actually is. In his literature, Hughes is not critical of such leaders but rather takes it upon himself to motivate them as well. This book has challenged those in leadership positions within the church who may be characteristically orthodox biblically and in doctrine to be watchful of how they live their personal life as they preach the doctrine.
A gem in conservative literature in the field of evangelism, this book by Hughes has dominated the shelves for almost 20 years for a reason. The pastoral and personal tone applied in this book’s writing is familiar and applicable to both the congregants and the church members. The publication addresses the predominant mega-church among other target audiences.
One prominent example is the episode in which Jesus speaks to a Samaritan lady at the water well to bring home the point that regardless of the cost, pastors and congregants alike should pursue faithfulness. In His arrogance, it would have been straightforward for him to announce that he had been preaching to thousands and that he needed some time off from the preaching and rest. Instead, Jesus pursued this single soul fervently in one of the most spectacular instances of showing grace. This piece of literature compares joy to hope with sanguinity. The most apparent result of a mental approach that is optimistic covers other areas relating to actual life activities.
The writer of this literature piece is gifted with a clear demonstration of specific talents pastorally, a gifted population socially and economic support. After a while, Hughes found himself at a point where he was losing hope and was set to drift from the Ministry. He talks about the extent of hopelessness that tarnished this early phase of his Ministry. The book most importantly proposes that its target audience rightly understand and is well conversant with how to apply the gospel. This book presents a real meaning to actual success, which revolves around faithfulness, loving, attitude, holiness, and serving. However, based on an incorrect understanding of the Ministry’s success is an internal contortion of misuse of the holy teachings. Considering other outcomes, the argument could have started then and after that escalated to match these carefully chosen qualities.
Although Hughes’ piece of literature is simply a masterpiece in nearly all aspects, some areas are of concern to the reader. These areas can sure use a few adjustments to make this exquisite book even better for the benefit of the readers, who are likely pastors and even congregants alike. With these adjustments, this piece of literature will improve the evangelical Ministry as a whole. These areas of concern that need to be addressed are discussed.
The importance of prayer is a crucial sector that seems to be given little attention as compared to that which it deserves. The concept of success understanding needs to be improved to address the possibility of unanswered prayer or delayed response from The Almighty. This is important to enable a servant of God to maintain his faith and belief in God even when faced with such as the situation of unanswered prayer ( Draper 2018, 56).
Another critical area that needs to be addressed is the idea of holiness. For a servant of the Lord, holiness is such a high bar to achieve, and the concept of purity might suitably replace this. As compared to holiness, a servant of God can quickly pursue purity of the body rather than complete holiness. Only God relates to holiness, and asking that of a servant who is susceptible to temptation seems to be some form of a tall order for even the writer. Purity as a virtue is mainly related to the sexual purity of an individual seeking to pursue service in the Ministry.
Furthermore, Hughes assumes that all his readers are well conversant with the gospel. Thus, the definition of success based on biblical qualities may not be understandable and relatable by all readers of this book. The base of misunderstanding success in evangelical Ministry may result in the gospel being misapplied by the readers of this book. The mood of the book may be a concern as the readers need biblical qualities, and at some point, the reader of this book may not speak of a common religion as the writer. In the optimism of the reader, he may lack the spiritual gift of faith to understand and believe in the words of this book.
- One can be regarded as hugely successful in the Ministry and yet be a failure.
- One the most elementary level, you do not have to go to church to be a Christian. You do not have to go home to be married either. But in both cases, if you do not, you will have a very poor relationship.
- Fixing our thoughts on Jesus requires time, for true reflection cannot happen with a glance. No one can see the beauty of a country if he hurries through it on the interstate.
This inspirational literature contains epic quotes all over its course that can be an inspiration to an individual. In an attempt to enlighten his readers, Kent Hughes has laid out some valuable quotes all through this piece of literature for use and application by readers seeking inspiration. Among the many quotes within the book, a few are stated above and broadly reviewed (Hughes 1988, 201).
Within his book ‘Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome, Hughes quotes that one can be regarded as hugely successful in the Ministry and yet a failure at the same time. This quote is directly related to Moses’s life story, who God chose to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt to their new land. Moses was an excellent leader graced with leadership qualities to lead a whole nation. His leadership was endorsed and backed by God Himself.
Moses is considered a successful leader when he succeeds in leading the Israelites out of Egypt but is faced with a serious challenge of managing the Israelites in the next phase. Israelites under his leadership resort to worship of false gods right under his nose. He faces rebellion from his own flock, and some even question his leadership and prefer the bondage in Egypt. Notably, Moses was successful in leading the Israelites out of Egypt but faced a great challenge managing them in the wilderness. The approach he adopted in the resolution of these challenges earned him the reputation of a failed leader.
Onto the second quote by Hughes saying, ‘you do not have to go to church to be a Christian; you do not have to go home to be married either. But in both cases, if you do not, you will have a very poor relationship. Hughes emphasizes the importance of attending church services to the believer. In this quote, he says that although attending a church service may not be a necessity; it is similarly important to attend a church service. In his quote, he compares this to being married and going home to the spouse. For a union between two to work, there has to be contacted between the two at regular intervals. Failure to establish physical contact between the two is a platform for a failed marriage altogether. This is directly relatable to Christian life and attending church services (Hughes 1988, 196).
Finally, Hughes quotes that, ‘fixing our thoughts on Jesus requires time, for true reflection cannot happen with a glance. No one can see the beauty of a country if he hurries through it on the interstate’. At this point, he calls for both the churchgoer and the ministers to exercise patience in their walk of faith. Ministers are advised to take time and watch their Ministry grow rather than expected it to just bloom overnight. He further adds that there is pride in watching your own progress over time.
This literature, ‘Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome,’ is a great motivational guide to an individual. It teaches great virtues that are essential in Ministry and to a churchgoer. As an aspiring minister of the Word, the book is an excellent guide that teaches a lot. There are many lessons to be drawn from Hughes’ vast lessons in the book and as an aspiring minister; the book has enlightened me on certain critical areas as discussed.
Success is faithfulness and serving. In as much as success is not a guarantee when called by God, as a servant of God, I’m expected to be faithful in my endeavors. It matters not where I am positioned, but it is my duty and responsibility to be faithful in my service. From faithful service in the Ministry, success will result. From the gospel, John and James aspired to be the first disciples, but in response, Jesus told them that those aspiring to be the greatest must be willing to serve others just as Jesus did. Jesus came to this world to serve humanity and not to be served by humanity. Therefore, it is my duty as an aspiring servant in Ministry to serve God’s people faithfully. This, in turn, will count as my success as a servant in the field of evangelical Ministry (Beresford 2020, 93).
Further, Hughes, in his book, teaches that success is belief and love. The scripture records that in the absence of faith, pleasing God is impossible. To God, my success in service cannot be guaranteed if there is no belief. As an evangelical minister, I have to believe that God’s love for me is unlimited. God is my eternal guide, and I think He will use me for His work. God will honor His promises to me as His servant just as I walk by faith and not my personal sight. I will execute God’s work with utmost faith and not my personal ways. According to John’s gospel, after His resurrection, he met who was engulfed by a feeling of guilt. Jesus asks Peter whether he loves Him then instructs Peter to tend to his sheep. From this scripture, my service to the Lord will be purely out of love. My service to Jesus must be out of love and not for personal success. For without love, our relationship with God has no meaning.
Finally, for my personal success, I need to be holy and prayerful. My morality as an evangelist is just as important as my work. As a minister, I am associated with God, and my moral fiber has to be a reflection of God. It is from being holy and true to God that will form the foundation of my success in Ministry. Constant prayer will build my relationship with God, and through this, He will offer His guidance to me as a servant.
Beresford, Andrew M. “St. Bartholomew’s Evangelical Ministry and the Cosmic Drama of Conversion.” In Sacred Skin: The Legend of St. Bartholomew in Spanish Art and Literature, pp. 91-141. Brill, 2020.
Draper, Mark. “Jacob Albright: An Evangelical Conversion and an Evangelical Ministry.” (2018).
Hughes, R. Kent, and Barbara Hughes. Liberating Ministry from the success syndrome. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1988.