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Sustaining Leadership: You are more important than your ministry [9780857466518]

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Many books on leadership and ministry are written from the point of view of success and strength. In Sustaining Leadership Paul Swann writes out of the raw experience of failure, getting to the heart of who we are as leaders rather than what we do. From this he offers both hope and practical resources for sustaining effective long-term ministry, looking at self-care, balance and healthy ministry, feasting on divine love, and more. As he says, this is the best gift we can offer those we serve.

PREACH REVIEW:

I wish I had read this book when I was in my 20s. The subtitle was something I badly needed to hear and understand; ‘You are more important than your ministry’. I have already bought several copies to give to leaders I journey alongside, which probably tells you what I think of it more than I can express in this review.

Paul Swann is an Anglican minister who served in two busy, growing parishes. In 2008, he retired early and spent four years in the wilderness of total fatigue. He describes this experience with no-drama honesty. But this is no look-at-me biography where the writer indulges in emotional striptease. Instead he offers a pilgrim’s progress of thoughtful reflection on how his personal disintegration led to a slow and steady reintegration, based on a fresh understanding of what God was calling him to be.

That word ‘fresh’ is important, as this is a book that refreshes. One of the endorsements on the cover warns against rushing to read the contents, and it’s a wise caution. I forced myself to a slower pace and took time to reflect, section by section. This led me to consider some of the end of chapter questions I often skim-read, and it opened the way for some honest personal evaluation and serious prayer.

Swann covers many practical challenges about sustaining effective leadership, including self-care, boundaries and balance. But the kernel of truth that runs throughout is ministry arises from what we are in Christ more than what we do. As someone who lives with to-do lists, I rediscovered the value of the to-be list. The primacy of being was my big takeaway from this valuable volume.

The book is packed with quotes (some of crown jewel quality) and rich with practical suggestions on how to sustain servant leadership within the demands of helter-skelter church programmes.

Paul Swann writes out of what must have been a dark and lonely journey. But he emerged fitter, wiser and with a greater sense of what it means to be a servant of the Lord. It’s a book I intend to return to as a reminder of what healthy ministry should always look like.

 

Preach magazine book review by Ian Coffey

Baptist minister; Vice Principal (Strategy) and Director of Leadership Training at Moorlands College.


AUTHOR: Paul Swann trained for ordination in the Anglican Church and served in two growing parishes in the Diocese of Worcester. In 2008, Paul was forced to retire early and spent four years in the wilderness of total fatigue. Since 2012, Paul has begun to offer a new ministry from this place of weakness. He has served as diocesan adviser on spirituality, offers spiritual direction and leads retreats. The insights of this book are drawn from these experiences.

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SKU:
9780857466518
UPC:
9780857466518
Availability:
Delivery Usually In 6-15 Working Days
Author:
Paul Swann
Publisher:
BRF (The Bible Reading Fellowship)
Publication:
20-Jul-2018
Format:
Paperback
Pages:
160
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