Recently, I was sent a complimentary copy from Tyndale House Publishers of Stephen Mansfield’s newest book entitled ReChurch.
The inside of the book jacket reads: You are reading this book because you have been hurt by a church or you know someone who has.
ReChurch is a much-needed book for the body of Christ. I don’t think there is a believer that has not been hurt or offended by another believer. The scenario becomes all the more hurtful when it takes place within the supposedly safe walls of one’s church.
Stephen Mansfield knows this type of hurt all too well. Stephen was in the midst of enjoying a 20-year tenure as a pastor when he was betrayed and hurt by members of his own church family.
It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that this book would be an exercise in “misery loves company” regarding wounding at the hand of the Church. This book can be characterized as anything but licking ones wounds.
This book is short in length, less than 170 pages, but it is mighty in content and very readable.
Stephen addresses his own experience as well as the average church attendee. He is very candid about his struggles during this hard time in his life. He recounts stories of historical and famous individuals that endured pain by those that they trusted and who actually flourished in their lives despite and because of their pain.
He gives the reader a different lens to view those who have caused hurt. He speaks of forgiveness and not allowing bitterness to reign. He encourages the wounded to know that God can use this difficult time for His glory and to fulfill their appointed calling.
The chapter titled Lessons from a Season of Hell was quite valuable. The author poses 5 key questions related to the season of crisis and taking the necessary time to do interior work as one walks through forgiveness. This was one of several places where the author encourages the reader to pause, seek counsel, pray and do vital work before proceeding. He knows first hand that this type of pain requires time and work to heal.
The final chapter is about taking the steps to find the way back to church for those who have opted out of church life. I found this chapter quite short but I do not think Stephen Mansfield’s purpose in writing this book was to point the reader to a new church but to promote healing in those who have been wounded. Once that healing is allowed to take place then one can begin the journey of finding a church home or remaining in the church where the hurt took place.
We are all fallen people and we will all be hurt at some point in our lives. ReChurch is a very valuable resource for anyone that is struggling with hurts that have come at the hand of other believers. Stephen Mansfield has an easy reading style and is very transparent in his own struggles to find peace in the midst of great pain and betrayal.
If you are struggling with a church hurt or know someone who is, I would urge you to read this book. Stephen Mansfield shows you that it is possible to get to the other side after deep wounding of spirit and soul.