“Great Spiritual Encouragement”
3.5 stars, rounded up.
Pastor Dai Hankey shares spiritual reflections and personal stories in this book, encouraging Christians who feel weary and are struggling to endure. He writes about his experience with ministry burnout and spiritual exhaustion, and he reflects on the rest and hope that Jesus provides. Each chapter explores a different theme related to spiritual growth, and these chapters are short and easy to process, with example prayers and reflection questions at the end of each one.
However, even though this book offers wonderful encouragement from the gospel, it only deals with spiritual matters. This would be much stronger if Hankey had cast a broader look at burnout, addressing other causes and solutions. We need Jesus, and that is the most important thing, but we also need to drink enough water, get enough sleep, process griefs and traumas, and not drive ourselves into the ground with too many commitments.
Some people have deeply healthy spiritual lives while also feeling worn down by their circumstances, and this book's emphasis can unintentionally lead someone to think that if they're still struggling, then they don’t have enough faith. Hankey never suggests that trusting in Jesus will make your problems go away, and he encourages people to seek counseling if necessary, but the sole focus on faith issues here will prevent the book from being as helpful to as many people as it could be.
"Hopeward" is a helpful guide to cultivating your spiritual life in the midst of stress and discouragement. The writing style is very conversational, and this book will appeal to people who are looking for a quick read with deep spiritual encouragement. Even though I wish that the author had addressed more facets of burnout, this will be helpful for many Christians, and it is a solid choice for both personal reading and church discussion groups.
Note: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange to an honest review.