Early in 2016 I was introduced to Nate Pickowicz via a viral Facebook post that included a “heresy” stamp. Someone had made a book stamp for him that read “Heretical: For Research Purposes Only.” I loved it! But I had no idea who Nate Pickowicz was.
(picture accessed via Facebook search on January 1, 2017)
Mid-year I turn into a fangirl (sorry, Jessica). I have discovered Entreating Favor, joined Twitter, connected with Jessica and Nate, and I learn that Nate is writing a book on the history of Christianity in New England. This is one of my favorite topics from Seminary, because I am a nerd (which is no surprise to anyone who has read my blog for any length of time).
I ordered Nate’s book, Reviving New England: The Key to Revitalizing Post-Christian America, and I sit down to enjoy a treatise on the history of liberalism in New England, and what pastors in New England need to do today to turn the churches back to Christ.
Instead, I spent the majority of my time reading chunks of the books out loud to my husband, whispering, “YES!,” and underlining massive sections of it, realizing that every woman who leads women’s ministries across the United States (and beyond) needs this book.
(image accessed from entreatingfavor.com on January 1, 2017)
Pickowicz does start the book with a brief history of the rise (and fall) of Christianity in New England. For those of you not students of church history, he does an excellent job of making this information relevant to today and fast-paced. (Trust me, I’ve heard my fair share of less-than-exciting lectures on this topic. He does a great job keeping your interest.) However, the history lesson is brief, and this is where the book becomes, in my opinion, necessary for women’s ministry leaders today.
The rest of the book is written for pastors and centers on how to preach the Word of God. He does a masterful job of navigating the problems in so many pulpits and offering real practical solutions to guiding the church back to sound biblical principles.
So why do I think women’s ministry leaders need this? I think rightly handling the Word of God is something lacking in a large majority of women’s ministries. I pray yours is an exception, but…
When was the last time a women’s ministry director you know addressed the problem of sin (page 40), the need for repentance (page 45), and sanctification (page 52)? When was the last time a women’s Bible study was centered on true biblical discipleship (page 65) instead of emotional manipulation? When have you ever heard a women’s lesson on church discipline (page 71) as opposed to women laughing around a table full of gossip during craft time, or, worse, a wine-fueled “girls’ night out”? When have you heard the gospel shared at a women’s retreat instead of someone’s story (page 78)?
“The content of our message is Christ and God, not our journey to faith. Our personal testimony may be included, but witnessing is more that reciting our spiritual autobiography” (page 78).
Furthermore, “while it must be said that it is necessary for Christians to ‘live our their faith’ by being above reproach in character, the gospel message does not simply get absorbed by others through osmosis. The message must be explicit” (page 79).
I cannot tell you how many women’s ministry events I have attended, including year-long Bible studies, where the message of the gospel was never shared.
Never. Not once.
“We cannot skimp on this message; a whole region (I say a whole gender who comes to “Bible” studies and tea parties and sewing circles and wine and painting nights and, and, and…) full of lost souls are at stake. We must preach, explain, and share the gospel” (page 79). (obviously I added the italicized part)
The solutions Nate offers to pastors are, admittedly, church planting type solutions. And again, this books is written primarily for pastors. I don’t believe scripturally that women are called to be pastors. But I truly believe that if there is a women’s ministry director out there who is wanting to disciple instead of distract, train instead of treat, and edify and educate instead of entertain, this book will be monumentally helpful.
First, the book is encouraging. You are not alone. There are ministers (and I promise, women’s ministry directors) who have inherited a mess and want to fix it. There is a long history of such.
Second, the book is inspiring. Nate is on fire for the Lord – there is no question about that. His enthusiasm for “doing church right” is contagious, and you will catch it simply from reading the book.
Third, the book is practical. The steps outlined for reviving the church are “easy” in that they don’t require extensive equipment, training, or technology. Will it be easy in terms of not hard work? Certainly not. But it will be worth it.
Finally, the book is biblical. The amount of Scripture woven throughout Nate’s work is impressive, but even more impressive is that the Scripture is woven well and handled correctly. There is no question that following Nate’s ideas would be biblical and result in a church that would thrive.
Obviously I think this is a great book. I am not the target audience, and my blog readers probably are not, either, seeing as how I write for women. But ladies, if you lead at all in your churches, I cannot encourage you enough to read this book. It might just open your eyes to a better way to lead and shepherd the ladies under your care.
Pickowicz, Nate. Reviving New England: The Key to Revitalizing Post-Christian America. 2017, EntreatingFavor.com.
I was not compensated in any way for this review, nor was I asked to write it. All opinions are my own, and I purchased the book off of Amazon. You can also order the book from entreatingfavor.com.