This review is especially exciting because I will giving a copy of Healing Your Church Hurt by Stephen Mansfield away! You can read an except of the book here. You can enter the giveaway here.
Healing Your Church Hurt was very good. It's written especially for those who have been severely hurt by church in the past to the point of leaving. I had a church hurt when I was young, which God healed in me several years ago, so I could relate, but I never had something the extent of the target group. Despite that I actually found that much of the advice given was applicable even to me. I think it is a book that does address the topic well, but also would be helpful to a broader audience.
Mansfield describes himself as being a "coach" and proclaims he's being very tough on the readers, but in reality I thought he had a perfect touch; delicate enough to not scar itself, but real enough to get to the root of the problems. And, of course, at the root of the problem there is something that has caused pain in the reader, so facing that can be quite painful. But Mansfield himself is as gentle as a skilled surgeon; he only "cuts" where it is necessary to correct the damage.
The reason for the "church hurt" is not made important by Mansfield. It's not that he claims it's irrelevant, but he wrote the book to help everyone from those who left a church because of deep, raw betrayal (like sabotage or abuse) to those who left because they just felt their voice wasn't hurt on issues important to them. He doesn't do the work of healing for them, but instead just guides them through recognizing and confessing their pain and acknowledges real healing is between them and God. His goal is to bring these wounded believers not just back to the church, but to bring them through this trial with stronger faith and as those who have overcome.
In the end reconciling hurt believers is an issue for all Christians, whether we've been hurt or not, because the Bible is not vague in the slightest that we need each other. There is a large percent of the Body of Christ which is alienated from their brethren and need to be re-embraced. Whether you need this book or know someone who needs this or not, if you are a Christian you should join me in prayer for those who do! (Oh, and apparently this had been previously published under the name ReChurch).
I received this book free from the publisher, Tyndale, in exchange for my unbiased review.
Don't forget to come back to enter the giveaway on Monday! I'll do the drawing on Friday (my birthday!)