One of my greatest delights as a university professor has been my association with men and women who were dedicating their lives to ministry in the Lord’s kingdom. Two decades of teaching university courses in Preaching, Congregational Ministry, and Church History allowed me the blessing and privilege of association with these bright, determined visionaries. Their passion for the Lord and his kingdom, their hunger for knowing Scripture, and their eagerness to be about the Father’s business continually refreshed my soul. During those years it was my privilege to speak in a chapel attended largely by young men and women preparing for ministry. I presented more than sixty lessons on various aspects of the ministry and the minister. While the aim was to speak to many of the practical issues that concerned them, I also wanted to use those few minutes of quiet to probe and test, challenge and motivate them to consider ministry in new and refreshing ways and to better appreciate what is required of those who would dare to speak God’s Word to others. I wanted them to know that, if they would walk with Jesus as they tried to do whatever their ministry required, they would never have even a moment’s regret for having chosen such a life. But mostly, I wanted them to realize that God had given them a gift and that they could use every day for the rest of their lives saying “thank you” through their service to others. A man with a prophet’s heart, Dr. Mike W. Ireland has been preaching Jesus for over 50 years. His ministry has included overseas missions, seminars, radio and television. He was a professor of Bible and Preaching for 20 years at Harding University where he taught countless students about the gift of ministry. Although retired from university teaching, he continues to preach and write. He and his wife of 51 years, Deborah, reside in Searcy, Arkansas.
I love the way the writer has made the chapters short enough to keep our interest and long enough to lead us somewhere important. I love the way he anchors every message in the timeless words of scripture. I love the way he transparently lets us travel with him through his triumphs and failures without ever making himself the hero of his own stories. I love the way he describes his beautiful partnership with Deborah, celebrating the asset she has been to their ministry and always speaking of her with love and respect. I love the way he is honest and spot-on accurate about the special challenges that churches present for a minister and that he does so without even a hint of the arrogance, cynicism or bitterness that can so easily take up residence in a minister’s heart. I love the way that he presents the minister’s walk with God as the central opportunity of a life of ministry. As Dr. Ireland reminds us, ministry is, ultimately, a “gift.” Dr. Bruce D. McLarty
Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble or directly from the author – [email protected]