Baker Academic’s “Spiritual Companioning” by Angela H. Reed, Richard R. Osmer and Marcus G. Smucker is a very good read. Baker Academic generously sent me a copy of this book for me to do an honest review. This book is a basics book on how to counsel people within the church using a process called spiritual companioning.
Often, I do reviews on Bibles and reference books, however I wanted to take a look at this book from the perspective of looking at connectedness and spirituality today in the church. It was a good read and does give some practical ideas on gaining deeper relationships and Biblical spirituality within the church relating to people as well as God .
I would give this book a 7.6 out of my normal 10 point rating scale. On a “5 star” scale that some websites use, I would give it a 4 star rating.
In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by Baker Academic to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
“Spiritual Companioning” is a pretty engaging book to read. The focus of the book is on the idea of spiritual companioning to combat the lessening of genuine relationships rather than going to church to be entertained or to feel like you have “just done a good thing” by going. The concept of spiritual companioning is not anything new. In fact is it a very old approach that has been used for hundreds of years. The authors carefully present the case of spiritual companioning throughout the book starting with the need for it, to what it is and then wrapping up with possible ways to implement it. I did appreciate the many examples of scenarios and situations that the authors provided. They really did help quite a bit in painting the picture throughout the book on how to develop these relationship. There were a few points when reading the book that I felt they authors started to venture a tad into the psychology realm a little bit, but they did pull it back in with a Biblical perspective. Overall, there are some very good examples where church or group leaders would be able to pull into their ministries.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review from Baker Academic and all opinions are my own.
DESCRIPTION OF THIS BOOK:
Type of Book: Church Ministry
Publisher: Baker Academic
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
ISBN-13 of Book Reviewed: 978-0801049897
Price: At the time of writing this, you can get new from Amazon.com for $21.99 (suggested retail is $17.90 per the publisher) http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Companioning-Protestant-Theology-Practice/dp/080104989X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447622988&sr=8-1&keywords=spiritual+companioning
•Patent (perfect/square back) bound
•Dimensions:6″ wide x 9” high
Goal of Book:
The authors’ goal is to show the basics in practical ways that we implement spiritual companioning within our church or small group. I feel that the authors did do a pretty good job in keeping it simple and practical. There are many practical and real life examples (“names changed to protect the innocent” approach) included in the book to help understand what spiritual companioning is and how to possibly apply it to your church or group. Spiritual companioning goes beyond counseling that is typically done in the church environment. It is geared toward doing more listening to each other and helping others realize in their own descriptions and words what God is saying, how they feel about it and how they react to it, etc. The book does do a good job explaining the process and gives ideas on how to implement something like this.
My Favorite Part:
I really appreciated the many examples and scenarios that the authors included in this book. They really were able to help me understand the concepts in a tangible way. Very well written and very helpful.
My Least Favorite Part:
As I mentioned in my summary, there were a few points that felt a little more psychology based vs. scriptural based, however the authors did bring it back to Scripture ultimately and effectively. It almost felt like the authors had that portion in for some credibility perspective and providing statistics in some cases, but then, it was certainly a very minor portion of the book that felt this way.
I would recommend this book to anyone that is desiring their church or small group to venture into a more personal and accountable community than what they may currently have. There are many more books out on the topic of community, but this one gears more towards the very intimate personal relationships between two people or a small group and also with God. It is a good read.
Who Would Enjoy This Book:
Anyone in a leadership position (pastors, elders, deacons, small group leaders, etc.) that are looking into ideas on building spiritual relationships with God and others in their church or small group.
1. Spiritual Companioning as Presence
2. Spiritual Companioning in the Congregation
3. Spiritual Companioning in Spiritual Direction
4. Spiritual Companioning in Small Groups
5. Spiritual Companioning in Everyday Life
6. Spiritual Companioning and the Journey of Life
7. Spiritual Companioning for Leaders
Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.