Book Review: Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by Kent and Barbara Hughes

“Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome is a welcomed breath of fresh air. It is not needed for those who keep their eyes on the Lord, are continuously filled with the Holy Spirit, have memorized and completely live by God’s Word through faith. However, the rest of us humans Kent and Barbara have addressed the challenges pastors face.

Kent is wonderfully transparent in his own struggles, although a successful pastor from the world’s standards. His quotes from great preachers of the past are liberating. His thoughts are for the entire church so that they can work together as a team and hold each other up in the spiritual conflict of the enemy’s onslaught to neutralize the pastor’s leadership. Few are immune from the discouragements, estrangements and rejections faced in ministry, unless they have a paid staff who insulate leadership from the expectations of self-oriented, yet well-intentioned sheep.

He builds his case in Part One on the dark side of the soul and his necessity to rely upon the faith of his wife. Then in Part Two, he constructs the Biblical definition of success contrasting the world’s definition from God’s definition. Of course, God’s view is more difficult to measure, but then faith is difficult to measure. Success is measured by faithfulness, serving, loving, believing, prayer, holiness, and attitude, but how many people are willing to measure success apart from logic, numbers and the five senses? His quotes, illustrations and Biblical examples are enlightening, assuring and encouraging.

He transitions to in Part Three to encouragements for ministries. Hughes has chosen five sources of encouragement to refresh, restore, uplift and propel forward again for ministry. There is encouragement from God, the Call, the Ordinary, from Ordinary workers and from Reward.

Finally in Part Four, Kent and Barbara address two helps. The first is from Barbara and the pastor’s wife’s role in helping the pastor. Genuine, suitable, submissive, loyal and holy are the words that stand out in the again excellent perspectives that Barbara explains. Then secondly, Hughes explains helps from the congregation. Those who begin to grow spiritually, can have a huge influence in supporting the pastor in the angelic conflict.

This is an encouragement for pastors and church leadership and instructive to sheep who want to honor the Lord. Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth and the enemy would desire few things more than to shake up a weak church and scatter the sheep. Plant your feet in the principles and Truths that Hughes extracts from Scripture and you will be a good and faithful soldier of the Lord Jesus!



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