Preventing Ministry Failure: A ShepherdCare Guide for Pastors, Ministers and Other Caregivers, By Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann

Preventing Ministry Failure

A ShepherdCare Guide for Pastors, Ministers and Other Caregivers

by Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann

Preventing Ministry Failure
  • Length: 265 pages
  • Dimensions: 7 × 10 in
  • Published: September 11, 2007
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3444
  • ISBN: 9780830834440

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Great ministers don't just happen.

Great falls from ministry don't just happen either. A complex mix of factors both internal and external test the limits of your ability to minister wholeheartedly over the long haul.

Senior pastor Brad Hoffmann and licensed professional counselor Michael Todd Wilson work with pastors removed from their place of service. The common experiences of these pastors revealed patterns that consistently contributed to burnout, ineffectiveness and moral failure. If such patterns can be predicted, the authors reasoned, can they be prevented?Preventing Ministry Failure is a personal guidebook for pastors and other caregivers to prepare them to withstand common pressures and to flourish in the ministry God has called them to. Work through the exercises and reflections individually or in conversation with your peers, and you'll find yourself better equipped for the challenges of vocational ministry, and more conscious of the presence of God leading you on and restoring your soul.

"The Bible clearly tells us that in this world we will have trouble, and those in ministry are not exempt from it. We all experience trials and temptations, and are faced with difficult choices related to our human struggles. Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann understand this and have done an excellent job sharing a biblical perspective on avoiding the all-too-common pitfalls of ministry that can lead to destruction. The wisdom and insight found in this book has helped me become a more effective leader and minister."

Alan Chambers, President, Exodus International

"Thirty years ago the moral failure of my second senior pastor forced me to start working with adultery in ministry. I wish I had had this material then. After years of everyone telling us pastors that we need to be in a small group where we can be open and vulnerable, Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann finally provide for us a guide that not only tells us but shows us how to do that. I know of nothing else like it for those of us in vocational Christian ministry, and I can't wait to use it in my own group."

Dave Carder, author of Torn Asunder: Recovering from Extramarital Affairs

"In a day where senior pastors and ministers alike are reading, collecting and gathering materials from books, CDs and seminars for the benefit of someone else, Brad Hoffmann and Michael Todd Wilson have written an excellent self-help book for the minister himself. These seven reasons why ministers struggle, quit, resign or are forced out of ministry have been identified and analyzed, and a course of action recommended for the health and happiness of the minister's home and family.

The book moves beyond the theory to the practical. Trust me, these two have been there, done that and bought the shirt."

Ken Whitten, Senior Pastor, Idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, Florida

"Preventing Ministry Failure is a first-of-its-kind 'package' that is sure to have deep and broad impact for those committed to shepherding ministries. This resource is the result of collaborative efforts of pastors and professionals empirically deriving seven areas of concern for force-terminated ministers. These findings have been provided for us now in a workbook format for establishing and applying preventative self-care plans that are theologically and psychologically sound. Thank you, Michael Todd and Brad, for providing a text that I am eager to implement at our seminary."

C. Gary Barnes, Th.M., Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist and Associate Professor, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Michael Todd and Brad have lived in the world they write about. Their passion is enabling called-out men and women to succeed without stepping on the land mines that haunt clergy everywhere. Devour their book and live the life they prescribe. It will become a win-win."

H. B. London Jr., Vice President, Church Clergy, Focus on the Family

"It has long been time for us ministers to become honest with ourselves and break the silence surrounding the myth, 'It won't happen to me.' I work with countless ministers every year who believed the same lie yet found themselves in one of our Faithful True workshops--burned out on life and ministry from an affair, Internet pornography use or some other pattern of sexual indiscretion. Moral and ministry failure can happen to any of us and it happens all the time. Preventing Ministry Failure is a book for ministers who are willing to admit 'There, but for the grace of God, go I.' Those with honest humility will see this book as a godsend--a systematic and practical tool for proactive maintenance in the minister's life."

Mark Laaser, Founder, Faithful True Ministries, and author of Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction

"Nothing ignites my passion more than instructing and encouraging fellow ministers through our Timothy Barnabas conferences. As one who has ministered to thousands of pastors struggling with the demands of ministry, Preventing Ministry Failure is as instructive as it is encouraging for the minister dealing with the daily challenges of ministry responsibility--including the important need for intentional boundaries to protect the minister's calling, family and personal integrity. This book promotes something I've been encouraging ministers to do for over fifteen years: to develop relationships with other pastors that they may serve as support to one another. If you're serious about having a lifelong and fruitful ministry, Preventing Ministry Failure is for you."

Dr. Johnny M. Hunt, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, and Founder, Timothy Barnabas Ministries

"ShepherdCare is a wonderful ministry to help pastors keep their hands to the plow and finish well. This book is a must-read for all ministers . . . a resource they will go to again and again as they strive to serve the Lord, their families and their churches with integrity."

Michael Catt, Senior Pastor, Sherwood Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia

"Preventing Ministry Failure is most timely and appropriate. Covering a wide range of challenges facing pastors today, it provides insightful and practical suggestions for avoiding ministry failure. Also, as the authors point out, long-term effectiveness in ministry isn't just about the pastor, it's also about the pastor's family as well. There is little point in building a great church while your own family disintegrates or your children turn against you and God--which is what occurs more often than we acknowledge publicly. With suggestions for self-care, having an accountability group, boundary setting and a host of other important issues essential to finishing well in ministry, this book is the most comprehensive I have yet seen. I recommend it as a textbook for every seminary."

Archibald D. Hart, Ph.D., FPPR, Senior Professor of Psychology and Dean Emeritus, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

Highly recommended for not only those who are Christian leaders, but also for those who have that aspiration.

M. G. Paregian, The Paregian Information and Referral Directory, July 2009

Wilson and Hoffmann give pastors a practical plan they can apply to their lives. Ministers can adopt these action points as they work toward healthy and happy marriages and families while serving in minstry for a lifetime.

Wayde Goodall, enrichment, Winter 2009

Drawing upon years of experience in counseling pastoral leaders, Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffman offer their insights to those facing challenges in ministry. Preventing Ministry Failure is a workbook for Christian leaders providing practical advice to pastors who are experieincing trials - or simply hoping to avoid them. As they discuss topics ranging from intimacy and stress management to establshing proper boundaries and dealing with transitions, scarecly any aspect of ministry is left unmentioned. Each section is filled with helpful questions for reflection.

David Rogers, Ministry Today, (, October 2008

This book is from the heart of two men who care deeply about the ministry and those who minister. Application is practical. I recommend that pastors use this practical tool to do an "inventory check" on their lives and perform some preventative maintenance before they find themselves in the throes of a failed ministry.

Douglas Brown, SharperIron Book Reviews, May 15, 2008

. . .a great encouragement to those in vocational Christian service. The self-care measures in this book should go a long way in helping Christian minstry workers care for themselves.

The Baptist Bulletin, March/April 2008

"Pastors need relationships with other pastors. It's that simple. This book provides a great resource for a small group of pastors to go through together. The material focuses on seven common precursors to ministry failure, including lack of meaningful relationships, inadequate stress-management skills, and underdeveloped leadership skills. Besides being ideal for small groups of ministers (or church staff members), it's also a nice guide for a more experienced pastor to go through with a novice pastor in a mentoring session."

Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox

"Drawing upon years of experience in counseling pastoral leaders, Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffman offer their insights to those facing challenges in ministry. . . . [S]carcely any aspect of ministry is left unmentioned. Each section is filled with helpful questions for reflection."

Ministry Today, November/December 2007


Introduction: Why Practicing Shepherdcare Is So Important
Foundation Stone 1: Intimacy: Connecting to the Heart of Successful Pastoring
Foundation Stone 2: Calling: Having the Power for Effectiveness in Ministry
Foundation Stone 3: Stress Management: Avoiding Ineffectiveness in Ministry
Foundation Stone 4: Boundaries: Protecting What Matters Most
Foundation Stone 5: Re-Creation: Necessary Fuel for Effective Long-Term Ministry
Foundation Stone 6: People Skills: Managing Your Church's Most Valuable Resource
Foundation Stone 7: Leadership Skills


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Michael Todd Wilson

Michael Todd Wilson is a licensed professional counselor and board-certified coach with Intentional Hearts, offering specialized coaching to Christian men in the recovery and pursuit of sexual integrity. He is also director of ShepherdCare, equipping Christian leaders for health and long-term effectiveness in ministry. He is the coauthor of Soul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality and Preventing Ministry Failure.

Brad Hoffmann

Brad Hoffmann (DMin, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) is pastor of Cool Spring Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, Virginia, and cofounder of ShepherdCare. Visit the ShepherdCare website.