Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review of ReChurch by Stephen Mansfield

Product Description

It seems that everyone who has ever been part of a church has suffered a “church hurt.” The pastor had an affair or the congregation fought over money or the leaders were disguising gossip as “prayer.” Stephen Mansfield has been there. Though he is now a New York Times best-selling author, he was a pastor for over 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 take 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 ReChurch.

My Thoughts

If you are or have been an involved member in a church, you most likely have experienced "church hurt."  Undoubtedly, you put your tail between your legs and left or you "fought the [not] good fight" and made the situation worse.  Whatever your story, ReChurch by Stephen Mansfield provides a way out from the hurt and bitterness in a rather direct, but loving manner.  Mansfield, a former victim of "church hurt," provides anecdotes for how he personally recovered from the hurt and details them in a way to help others recover from the same or similar issues.  Mansfield does not mince words in his book and I believe this approach is needed to make his points.  

Mansfield utilizes Koine Greek translations of Scripture to paint a better picture of what certain words mean.  This application and the examples following allow the reader to visualize forgiveness.  Mansfield backs up his solutions and statements with stories from the Bible that adds credence to his book.  Additionally, Mansfield notes Scripture to remind the reader that we are to act according to God's Word.  Inevitably, we are going to face tough circumstances, betrayal, and even "church hurt" [the place where we are programmed to think we are always safe].  Once we accept this truth and that humans are not infallible [yes, even church members], we can move on to the life we are called to live.

The greatest thing about this book in my eyes is that you can take Mansfield's suggestions and directions and apply them to any type of hurt, bitterness, or fragmented relationships in your life.  While primarily focused on getting over the "church hurt" and getting back into a church serving, Mansfield does wonders explaining our responsibility for how hurt negatively effects us and our relationship with God.  Ultimately, WE decide how to let the hurt or betrayal affect us and our lives.  We can "take the bait" and be caught in the "animal trap" of bitterness or we can learn how to forgive in a real and meaningful way that eliminates the negative.

ReChurch is a very liberating book that should be read by anyone trying to get over the forgiveness hump or "church hurt."  As Mansfield points out, "You have a destiny, but your destiny is fulfilled by investing in the destinies of others."  This adequately summarizes every point that Mansfield makes in ReChurch.  Ultimately, we are gifted by God and called to fulfill a purpose much greater than sulking in our hurt.

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

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