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Witt, Lance. Replenish. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011) 235 pages.Replenish: Leading from a Healthy Soul is an easy to read, honest and poignant book filled with stories and antidotes which speak directly to the heart of any pastor or church worker. As a pastor, I found an instant connection with this author, at times believing that he had “lived my life” – dealing with the same people, ministering in the same churches, and dealing with the same stuff, as I.Lance Witt, former Executive Pastor at Saddleback Community Church, candidly shares his own awakenings and personal struggles, confessing that most leaders (even those in local church work) function on two stages – front stage and back stage. The front stage is the public world of leadership, and the back stage is private. He suggests that a number of resources are available to help leaders succeed on the front stage, but few are available for the back.
In a very caring, and encouraging tone, Witt challenges the reader to pay attention to events and circumstances which may lead to burnout in ministry – those things leaders often keep securely on the back stage. He presents issued related to self-care, soul-care, conflict management, technology (one chapter is entitled “iPhones and Your Soul”), relationships with your family and church culture.
The book contains forty-one chapters, each on a different topic related to ministry and leadership. No chapter is more than four to five pages in length. Several questions for reflection are posed at the end of each chapter as well. One could easily use this as part of one’s devotion or journaling time. In fact, a companion DVD and participant guide are available, and could easily be used for leadership training in churches or associations.
Witt combines personal stories in life and ministry, with Biblical principles, yet he comes across as personable, not preachy. This was my second time in as many years to read Replenish, and I found it more useful this time. I would encourage others to spend some time with it as well. Very affordable at $15.