A brief instructional handbook for laypeople interested in Christian ministry.
In this book, Etoori (Visions of Glory, 2015, etc.) covers such eclectic topics as prayer, the gender and character of God, and the meaning of true obedience as he shares his accumulated knowledge about the nature of spiritual leadership. The author addresses theological questions, such as the relationship between faith and knowledge, provides interpretations of biblical text, and directly addresses the challenges that may confront any lay ministry. Many readers will find his disambiguation of salvation and rebirth to be particularly instructive given the growth of evangelical religion today. The principal theological theme undergirding Etoori’s account, though, seems to be the kingdom of God; at one point, he memorably describes the Bible as the kingdom’s constitution. A preoccupation with eschatology also haunts the work, and Etoori finds reasons to believe that the final days, and the divine judgment that comes with them, are imminent. The author is at his best when he articulates the limitations of ministry: “Sometimes we forget that even if the person does not get saved immediately our witness may have sown a seed in them, which will bear fruit later.” Although the author explicitly bills this book as a guide, it’s too scattershot in its organization to be a useful reference. Etoori’s writing is unfailingly clear and direct, but the book would have been more pedagogically effective if he’d included more discussions of his own experiences rather than a series of lessons and conclusions. For example, the book ends with what he calls a “short story”—a valuable, illustrative anecdotal account of a predicament he once faced as a minister. Still, the author manages to discuss difficult theological and exegetical issues in admirably accessible prose. Some readers may find that it takes on a proselytizing tone, but this is unlikely to overly discomfit the book’s target audience.
A scattered but sometimes-valuable introduction to ministry.