Back in October I went to The Third Lausanne Congress: Cape Town 2010, during which I heard Ajith Fernando speak on Ephesians 1. Following that I got hold of a copy of Jesus Driven Ministry to hear some more of his thoughts on ministry, especially his concept of joy and suffering in ministry.
It came at a time when I was really wrestling with what the foundations of ministry should be about: what is success in ministry - is it longevity, is it numbers, is it missionary activity or is it a mixture of all three?
In many ways this book is Fernando's wrestling of what ministry should look like and the lessons he's learnt in over 30 years of ministry with Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka. This book hasn't really taught me anything new, although it pulled into one place a number of different facets: God's affirmation, retreating from activity, leading from a spiritual base, growing team and focussing on younger leaders. Instead it came at just the perfect time for me to hear an elder statesman of the Christian world share his struggles, his joys, his pains, his experience of ministry.
If you haven't read this book do get hold of it, hopefully it will inspire you as much as me to continue on the journey.
'Jesus Driven Ministry' - it does exactly what it says on the tin. Ajith Fernando opens up the beginning of Mark's gospel in such a way as is beneficial for pastors and ministers. He uses plenty of personal examples from his many years of experience. Without doubt, much of what he says is valuable and thought-provoking. He thinks differently to a Westerner; he offers quite a bit of originality.
My pastor and I read this book together. We met up once a week to discuss a chapter and share thoughts. Make no mistake: this is a very good book on the subject of Pastoring. It deals with the basics and these are dealt with well. Ajith begins with the need to identify with the people to whom we minister and how vital it is to make sure we are filled with God's Holy Spirit before we begin the work. As he travels through Mark's gospel, he shows other basic requirements for ministry work, like our need to retreat from activity every so often, as Jesus did, and how we should never go it alone, but be involved in a ministry team.
The sad fact is that the core teachings of this book ought to be common knowledge amongst all ministers. But I'm afraid they aren't. Take the issue, for example, of ministering to the demon-possessed. How often do ministers get involved in that sort of thing? Or do you realise that much of Christ's ministry was done in the homes of others? Christ was an incredibly sociable man. All ministers ought to be too.
The one downside to this book is that I feel that Ajith has included one or two chapters that my pastor and I couldn't see were necessary. Chapter 7 on 'Facing Wild Animals' was loosely connected to a passage in Mark's gospel, but we questioned whether Ajith had brought out the right interpretation. Plus is was a very short chapter and we questioned the point of including it at all. Also, his chapter on 'Bearing Good News' did have some important things to say. But my big question was, What is the gospel that we ought to be telling to people? This wasn't really addressed in any detail. But surely such a question has to be asked if we are to be gospel-bearers, right? There is a lot of confusion around as to what the gospel actually is and what people need to hear in order to be saved.
All in all, though, an excellent book and well worth the read. I'm in two minds about whether to read it again. I don't know yet. Oh, and nothing is said in this book about how to preach. But that's ok because that's not the point of the book.
Solid examination of Jesus' foundational ministry principles from the gospel of Mark. Written by the 26-year veteran director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka. One of the rare books that gives pertinent examples from the author's personal life, failures, and pastoral ministry.
I found it very useful as it pointed out a number of important things that those considering going into ministry must be prepared for. I will recommend this if you are seriously considering going into full time ministry.
It is a great book for any one involved in Christian ministry on a full time or part time capacity. The insights and truths described in the book are so valuable in today’s ministry. Ajith draws the reader back to some basics which we often forget. Great work. I would recommend this book to be with all those who serve the Lord.