Healing Your Church Hurt: What to do when you still love God but have been wounded by his people (Stephen Mansfield, Barna 2010) is a book that should be required reading for church membership classes. We all know that the church is made up of imperfect people, and it’s just unfortunate that more of the congregation isn’t like each of us. But since we’re not all alike, all on the same page, all intimate family members, there are bound to be disagreements. Mansfield gives us some insight into how to handle those disagreeable times that happen in every church.
I was impressed with the profound concepts that were explained in simple words. Mansfield has a knack for pointing out the obvious, but doing so in a way that often left me feeling that I should have seen that before, and wondering why I hadn’t made the connection.
Early in the book, (p 1-3) we are treated to the story of Timmy, a screaming little boy with his hand stuck in a candy machine. Lots of noise, lots of tears, lots of suggestions on how to get the arm out, and finally someone gives a clear and concise directive: “let go of the candy bar.” And often the secret is right there: let go!
Mansfield walks us through several steps, including looking at our part, and helps us see that we’re not quite as perfect as we may like to think. But the good news is that we’re not alone. Several of the stalwarts of Christianity (George Whitfield for example) suffered some of the same things that churches, their leaders and their members still go through today.
Examples, suggestions, and a reminder from scripture (Paul writing to the church at Corinth, reminding them that his Apostolic authority was never intended to tear them down, but rather to build them up.
Hopefully you’re in a perfect church, where everybody gets along and agrees on everything, but if you’re not, reading this book may be the first step in reconciliation and healing.
To read the first chapter of this book, follow this link: http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-1-4143-6560-2.pdf
Thanks to Tyndale publishers for providing me a review copy of this book.
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