By: Wayne Cordeiro
Guest Review By: Meridith Johnson
Difficulties, seasons of change and challenges mark the lives of nearly every pastor or church worker, yet often the topic seems least discussed in Bible colleges and seminaries. Present and future church leaders will find new insight to trials or simply seasons of change in Sifted. Author Wayne Cordeiro offers great advice and perspective for those in church ministry undergoing difficulty or change, as a pastor who has confronted many challenges. With the help of experienced pastors Francis Chan and Larry Osborn, each share personal testimonies of how God worked in their ministries and families through times of trial and challenge.
As a seasoned pastor, church planter, and active board member of a Christian college in Oregon, Cordeiro has seen God work in difficult seasons of his own life and ministry. Some examples from his own experiences include: challenges of meeting needs of congregants, facing turbulent financial situations, as well as balancing family and ministry. His wide variety of experiences make this book an encouraging read.
Based on Jesus’ warning in Luke 22 that Peter would soon face a trial, Cordeiro compares Peter’s experience to ministers today. Peter’s trial or “sifting” tested his faith and exposed his weakness. Jesus, however, encouraged Peter that through this testing, his growth in dependence on Christ would enable him to minister more effectively to others. The same encouragement Jesus presented to Peter, Cordeiro offers to church leaders today in Sifted. Trials offer an opportunity for faith to grow. As personal faith grows and stretches, ministers can empathize in a deeper way and encourage those in their congregations more effectively.
Sifted unfolds in three sections: Heart Work, Home Work, and Hard Work. Cordeiro begins with the individual and the heart. He then discusses how to have a balanced family life and the importance of family involvement in ministry. The final portion of the book asks the reader to assess his or her own character, and calls for an honest evaluation of his or her heart and life.
Summary statements at the end of each chapter give readers a take-away principle to ponder. Portions of the book also provide question-and-answer sections intended to take the individual reader deeper to understanding how God works in ministry difficulties.
The book offers great insight and new perspective with Cordeiro’s personal stories and experiences. However, the book unlikely provides new information for the average minister. The title of the book, Sifted: Pursuing Growth Through Trials, Challenges and Disappointments seems somewhat misleading as well. Written for a specific audience: ministers and church planters, the title should better reflect and target its intended audience.