Book Review: The Renegade Pastor by Nelson Searcy

“The Renegade Pastor” by Nelson Searcy is written for pastors and church leaders who want to move beyond mediocrity to excellence. However, even a person who is not in church leadership can gain from this book in order to understand some of the systems in which a pastor works and what kind of systems that will make a church function well.

Nelson has noticed that many pastors have charged into ministry with passion and great ideas, but over the course of ministry, which is full of challenges, too many leaders have fallen to mediocrity and despair. If the pastor will commit himself to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and understand the commitments Searcy emphasizes, he will turn from despair to hope. Nelson has taken the best principles from life and God’s Word to formulate eight systems for ministry and to be full of church impact and excellence.

Searcy’s illustration of Alex Average and Rob Renegade resonate as good contrasts between mediocrity and striving for excellence.  The systems and commitments Nelson promotes are important and have influenced thousands of pastors and leaders. I rejoice with the Apostle Paul that the name of Jesus is being proclaimed in Searcy’s churches of New York, San Francisco and Boca Raton as well as hundreds of churches over which he has coaching influence.

He directs pastors to seven commitments. Those commitments are 1) Follow The Lord, 2) Love Your Family, 3) Fulfill Your Calling, 4) Manage Your Time, 5) Shepherd Your Flock, 6) Maximize Your Church, and 5) Expand God’s Kingdom.  I would have appreciated more Scripture to support his principles. They seem drawn from excellent common sense resources. There is little about the dependency on the Holy Spirit. Yet, understanding the organizational principles under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit will take an average pastor to Mount Zion.

Nelson does delineate a great deal of Scripture on two pages for the seven principles. He mentions that he was limited by “word count” and offered the passages for a “self-study guide.” As a coach, that may be a wise approach, so that the Holy Spirit might have the best opportunity to guide and lead each pastor – student.

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