Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, and Founder of Practical Shepherding.
James Carroll is the Senior Pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, KY.
Facing Snarls and Scowls is an encouraging work that does not dim down the weight of preaching in revitalization. It shows that revitalization is hard work, but by God’s grace, one may be able to see the sinking ship turn in the right direction. The authors remind readers of endurance in Christ and that we are to be good stewards of what we have been given. They provide winsome words throughout this book to encourage pastors to do so.
Readers will be reminded that the trials of this life are here to stay and there will always be threats to the gospel among us. But our hope by God’s power is that faithful preaching will produce a harvest. Preaching and struggles go hand in hand, and preaching may not always have positive results. But Brian and James do a fantastic job of walking through passages that show trials will come with those who strive to be faithful. We should glean from examples who have come before us.
Brian and James argue, “Since preaching is a vital instrument for God’s work in individuals and His church, the last thing needed in the church, and particularly in revitalization settings, is the unhealthy concoction of bad preaching and snarling congregants” (pg. 61). They show that pastors should steward their pulpits well and preach well! The proclamation of the gospel is vital and preachers should strive to be better in the pulpit. After these warnings, Brian and James give huge practical advice so that our preaching points to Jesus, not just principles.
Brian and James recognize that there has been a revival of preaching today. They define it as, “The task in Expository Preaching is to allow the theme, thrust, and structure of the text to provide the theme, thrust, and structure of the sermon” (pg. 83). Christians are people who are bound to the Word of God. Preachers are called to handle the Text well!
The authors throughout this work exhort readers to be patient in church revitalizations. They call readers to press on! One of the benefits of this book is that I personally know James Carroll. He practices what he preaches. Towards the end of the book, there is a quote on pg. 152, “One of the most significant blind-spots for pastors, and especially young pastors, is a lack of self-awareness”. James has repeatedly told me this and it has been a point of some of our fruitful discussions.
This is a work that pours out practical wisdom that is rooted in Biblical Truth. Chruch Revitalizations, Church Planters, Pastors, and Christians as a whole will benefit from this work.
Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He serves as Minister of Students at Bullitt Lick Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, KY. He also serves as the Executive Assistant of the Nelson Baptist Association. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies