I’ve always thought of preachers, evangelists, and people like that as those in ministry. But Jesus calls all of his followers to minister to others. This means Tested and Approved by Tom Lane is a book for every Christian.
Don’t Let the Title Tested and Approved Scare You
As a Christian, I confess I don’t like the idea of going through any kind of test. After all, who likes tests? School tests involve hours of study and preparation and afterwards waiting to see if the effort paid off. Spiritual tests don’t feel much better. They involve difficult choices, moral dilemmas, and trips far from easy street.
But if we want God to grow our characters, we will need to experience refining and tests of many kinds. The subtitle to Tested and Approved, ’21 Lessons for Life and Ministry’ made me wonder if the book was for me. I don’t consider myself as ‘in a ministry.’ Nevertheless, the title intrigued me. I do want to grow (even if I don’t like growth pains). Here’s what I discovered about ministry and how it applies to me.
By Tom Lane, Gateway Press, September 2020, 240 pages.
Tom Lane, a senior pastor at Gateway Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas, has been in ministry for over 30 years. In his latest book, he offers 21 life-lessons for those in ministry. But this isn’t a book just for pastors, preachers, reverends, and elders.
As believers, God has a ministry for each of us. “God ‘calls’ each of us into a place of service regardless of the particular industry (9).” Teachers minister as teachers, stay-at-home-moms minister as mothers, bloggers minister through their words. God has a ministry for each of us—although we may not see ourselves as ministers, we have a call on our lives to minister.
Although Lane offers these lessons to all believers, his experience and examples come mainly from church leadership. He takes the reader through 21 lessons or principles of leadership which have helped him lead effectively. One of the first tenets he shares holds universal truth whether we minister to a congregation or our children: “We make relationships a priority because that is what God does (11).”
This foundational belief acts as the anchor of the other lessons Lane shares. Lessons on getting along with others, avoiding the comparison game, making difficult decisions, dealing with success and setbacks, and learning healthy rhythms.
“Success is not the result of your brilliance, strategic efforts, or individual diligence; rather, it comes by the grace and mercy of God, who works in and through you (24-25).”
Lane cautions readers to avoid perfectionism. “You will be shocked when you find out that what God is really looking for is excellence rather than perfection, and the two are not the same in their expression (75).” As an overcoming perfectionist, this passage struck me at the core. God wants me to do my best, not create perfect results every time.
Why I Loved This Book
At first, I thought this was a good book not written with me in mind. I’m not a pastor or church leader. But as I read, I realized Lane’s advice is for me. God calls me to minister, even if it’s not from a pulpit. Despite not ‘leading out’ in a formal sense, I still lead those around me. God wants me to accept leadership and accountability, even if I don’t pastor a church.
Practical, wise, and above all infused with a sense of humility and love, this book is for every believer. And you have the opportunity to win a free copy!
Enter to Win a Copy of Tested and Approved!
Gateway Publishers has provided three copies to share with blog readers. This contest is ONLY available to U.S. residents and runs from March 9-16.Book giveaway! Get A free copy of #TestedandApproved and find out how to thrive in ministry today! Click To Tweet