Book Review: The Art of Mentoring

51ygdsiqwnl-_ac_ul320_sr208320_“The Art of Mentoring: Embracing the Great Generational Transition” by Darlene Zschech

2017 Reading Challenge — Book 35: A book about the Church

I am passionate about raising up worship leaders from the generations to follow, discipling them, developing their skills, and providing them with opportunities to lead. Unfortunately, this is an area in which the Church (speaking generally, not of any specific local church) does not have a strong recent track record. The lack of competent, pastoral worship leaders is reaching crisis proportions, which, while great for job security, is very bad for the Kingdom.

So when I see a church that is excelling in passing on their vision to a new generation of leaders, I want to hear more about how they’re doing it.

Let’s get a few things out of the way here: I have some theological differences—some of which are major—with Hillsong Church, and with their former Worship Pastor Darlene Zschech. My personal views on the extent to which their music ought to be a part of our worship services at FBC Powell are far too nuanced to get into here, but this discussion (of which I was a part last November) pretty well reflects my take on the matter.

That said, there are an awful lot of ways in which I know I can benefit from their ministry, not least of which are their approach to artistic excellence and multigenerational worship leadership. I would think that even their most ardent critics should be able to recognize Hillsong’s organizational strength in these areas, and be able to learn from their experience and teaching. And so it is that this book was predictably a mixed bag, though I found far more positives that I can use than I did things which I can simply discard due to differences in theology & practice.

In particular, Zschech’s chapters (though she doesn’t call them “chapters”) on fostering excellence through “the squeeze” (i.e., perseverance in adversity) and on discipling and leading “geniuses” were especially helpful. The latter because I undoubtedly have geniuses in my ministry whose talents I want to develop and whose souls I want to nurture; the former because the day I become satisfied as an artist is the day I need to find a new line of work.

Here’s an area where everyone I know (even especially Baptists!) can learn from Zschech: she is passionately, relentlessly optimistic about the coming generation, about the future of worship music, and about the triumph of Christ through the Church. We need more of that! The way Scripture rolls from her tongue and from her pen is both encouraging and instructive (Romans 15:4), as well as convicting, when I contrast that with my own speech and writing.

All in all, this is a worthwhile read for those who desire to raise up leaders from the next generations, particularly those serving in worship ministry. You may not agree with everything, but the good bits are really good, and it’s an easy enough read that you won’t have to spend much time on the rest. Get your copy here.

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