Book Review: Sifted

Book Review: Sifted

Author: Wayne Cordeiro

Publisher: Zondervan ISBN: 9780310494478

Sifted: Pursuing Growth through Trials, Challenges, and Disappointments

I found Sifted to be an engaging and solid read. I appreciated the content, finding it vulnerable, valuable, and viable. Wayne Cordeiro is the primary author of Sifted, but has contributing assistance from Francis Chan and Larry Osborne. Each of these men has wisdom and experience to offer in the area of being “sifted.” Each of them has planted churches and worked through the development stages therein and they have all faced various challenges along the way. This, I believe, is one of the strengths of this book. Not only is the content tried and true, but it is measured and retold from multiple experiences and perspectives… very valuable and insightful sharing.

The book follows a three-part outline. My interpretation and alliteration tool for understanding the movement through the outline was assessment, awareness, and action plan. The assessment piece of part one is taking a personal inventory of self, understanding the nature of sifting and getting a good look at where you are and how you got there. I believe this is the proverbial thirty-thousand foot view. Part two is the logical progression to awareness and nurture of our basic needs… those things that help to anchor us (marriage, family, rest, recreation, etc.). Part three was, to me, about action and purpose. As I was reading the chapters of part three, I was reminded of the words of the apostle Paul to the young pastor Timothy; “So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain” (2 Timothy 2:1-7 MSG). Although the words and context are different, I think the intent is the same; as a leader-minister moves forward, they do so with character, integrity, diligence, and an attitude of purposeful perseverance.

Pros: I enjoyed the perspective shifts and the insight from the various contributors (Cordeiro, Chan, and Osborne). I think this is one of the primary strengths of the book. I also like that action steps and interactive sections were included at the end of the chapters…it helps to engage the reading introspectively even if they do not pursue the steps literally. The book was written in an easy-to-read format; there were numerous side-bars, short quotes, anecdotes, and sub-headings. This style of writing or format makes for shorter reading sessions with easy start and stop points providing a break to consider what the author was trying to convey.

Cons: I think the material is as valuable for the “everyday Joe” as it is for the stressed ministry leader and/or church planter. I think many people might miss the value of the wisdom and experience in this book because it might be perceived as being a bit narrow in focus for its audience. I believe with a minor bit of effort and editing, this book might appeal to an even larger audience.

I recommend it for anyone, not only ministry leaders.

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