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For the last ten years, Dale Frimodt has directed Barnabas Ministries in Omaha, Nebraska, giving counseling and encouragement to pastors and their families. These are his recommended books dealing with the sexual side of ministry.
The Myth of the Greener Grass by J. Allen Petersen, Tyndale, 1983
Petersen helps us recognize the enemy we so often battle, an enemy that seems to present itself with especially great allurement when we struggle in other areas of life. Through the interviews he includes, we are likely to see how easily we, too, could fall.
Petersen's honest discussion and helpful advice are right on target. His realistic appraisal helps demythologize the lie of greener grass.
Divorce in the Parsonage by Mary LaGrand Bouma, Bethany Fellowship, 1979
The wife of a pastor, Bouma has seen the good and the less-than-good aspects of the ministry. This allows her to give some down-to-earth suggestions for a successful ministry marriage.
The part I found most helpful, however, was the section of interviews she conducted with people who otherwise would be only sad statistics to us. By listening to stories from some of the two hundred she interviewed, we gain insight into those things that make the minister or spouse vulnerable to sexual temptation.
Secrets of a Growing Marriage by Roger and Donna Vann, Here's Life, 1985
For the married, a loving, open, and growing marriage provides one of the best deterrents to falling into the trap of sexual temptation. Of the many excellent books by qualified authors, this one is unique: It's a workbook.
The Vanns designed this tool for couples to use during a personal marriage retreat. This book can turn a weekend getaway into a productive marriage builder.
Counseling Christian Workers by Louis McBurney, Word, 1986
I have a bias toward McBurney. He and his wife, Melissa, are pioneers in the field of helping those in ministry. This book provides masterful insight into the life and problems of the minister.
It seems as though pastors are most often failing the test of sexual temptation when they are slipping in other areas of their lives. The link between moral failure and lack of self-esteem or discontentment in ministry is often strong. Those who face such problems will find them diagnosed and treated in this book.
Beyond Forgiveness by Don Baker, Multnomah, 1984
What if it's too late for prevention? Those who have succumbed to temptation writhe in guilt and fear of discovery. And when their sin is uncovered, so often they are lost not only to the ministry, but also to the church.
Baker's book shows the story can have a better ending. Through this true account of what happened to one of his staff members, we find hope even in the face of failure. He shows how the body of Christ can be a place of redemption.
The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner, Word, 1981
No list of this sort would be complete without a sex manual, and this one, written by a psychologist and a nurse, fills the bill well. Approaching their delicate subject from a positive and Christian viewpoint, the Penners provide a comprehensive handbook on sex and our sexuality.
They cover such topics as the confusion about sex, anatomy and physiology, the psychology of sex, sexual technique, and overcoming problems. The Penners don't blush, but neither do they lead us astray. This is a book to keep for reference and to give away for help.
Leadership Winter 1988 p. 34
Copyright © 1988 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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