The Power of the Call

By Henry T. Blackaby and henry Brendt
Nashville, TN : Broadman & Holman (1997). 260 Pages.

Reviewed by Thomas Halstead
11.1 (Spring 2000) : 119-120

The authors state in their introduction that this is not a methodological book, but rather a book about relationships to God and to others, both believers and unbelievers. It is divided into four sections: (1) God’s Standard for Your Calling. This section includes the pastor’s role in which he is to be a spiritual leader and his purpose which is evangelization and edification. (2) God’s Standard for Your Message. The standard focuses on redemptive preaching which “should cause each person on his own to examine himself and to locate himself, spiritually speaking” (64). (3) God’s Standard for Your Heart. The emphasis in these chapters is obedience, which is the basis for true contentment, and God’s sufficiency, which is the sum and substance of all ministry. (4) God’s Standard for Y our Ministry. In this section the authors give a spiritual inventory for all pastors to take and also offers twenty-six marks of spiritual leadership for any servant leader.

Blackaby and Brandt have provided the reader with a number of positive insights in the book. The recommended reading list for pastors and leaders (247-50) is excellent. Also very helpful are the “process the message” questions at the end of each chapter. The purpose of the questions is to assist the reader in applying the thoughts of the chapter m ore specifically. In addition, the authors intersperse their discussion with scriptural quotations that complement the concepts. The spiritual inventory found in chapter eleven is relevant for the man seeking to be God’s true shepherd, while the marks of spiritual leadership in chapter thirteen give every servant leader the standard for ministry.

However, the book lacks a clear focus. The chapters resemble a collection of personal illustrations and insights with no specific direction. Correlating the sections to the title of the book is difficult. Additionally, the movement from one section to the other is not clear, i.e., from the calling to the message to the heart to the ministry. The authors furthermore emphasize the importance of biblical sufficiency. For example, Brandt states, “As a pastor your assignment from God is not to make people comfortable with their sin, but to help them diagnose and deal with their sin” (88). However, certain places in the book (e.g., 135) indicate the opposite: “Good relations with your neighbor depend upon a good estimate of yourself.”

Overall, I believe the book will produce conviction in the hearts of those who read it.