Grassi, Jim. Building a Ministry of Spiritual Mentoring. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2014. 256 pp. $16.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.
Dr. Jim Grassi has served as chaplain with Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco Forty Niners. He is the Founder/President of the culturally strategic Men’s Ministry Catalyst. This is the first book in a new series entitled “A Romans 12 Disciple.”
Dr. Grassi has divided this work into 13 individual chapters along with a section entitled “exhibits.” The Exhibits alone are worth the price of the book. In the first chapter, he offers how to develop a men’s ministry while chapters 2-4 instructs you how to lay a solid foundation. The rest of the book offers particulars and observations as well as qualified recommendations on how to keep the men’s ministry running through all of life’s pitfalls and mountain peak experiences.
I was quite honestly impressed with the balance struck by Dr. Grassi between theological and practical. Not that theology is impractical, but that most think they are independent of one another. The fact is, they are interdependent and this is why so many fledgling ministries either remain fledgling or die out altogether. His serving as an NFL team chaplain gives him keen insight into how men’s ministry works in what may arguably be one of the most difficult situations in American culture today — sports. Drawing from his years of experience, each chapter offers substance rooted in the Bible with specific actions to implement in the local ministry.
I was surprised, however, that he drew much from a translation of the Bible that I was not familiar. That translation is The Voice, a dynamic equivalent translation, that was only published in 2012. While I do not necessarily think this is a bad thing, I would be extremely cautious in using this translation to lay a foundation for any ministry in the local church let alone any doctrinal assertions.
As I stated earlier, the exhibits section is worth the price of the book as it literally offers the reader the step by step directions for laying a solid foundation for men’s ministry. There are some 12 exhibits that, if followed, will lead to a sound men’s ministry. It must be noted, however, that you will 1) not agree with everything (I didn’t) and 2) it is not fool-proof. In other words, these are man-made steps for ministry. They do not necessitate a biblically successful ministry nor are they guaranteed to work in every circumstance. Nonetheless, they will certainly get you going in the right direction.
I look forward to the rest of this series as it is developed. As a pastor, I enjoyed this book and recommend it to all who are looking to establish a men’s ministry or have one that is floundering. This may be the tool used by the Lord to guide into a biblically-successful men’s ministry.