192 pages, Hardback, Published by The Bereans Publishing Ltd., 38 Mountain Road, Kilkeel, County Down, BT34 4BB.
As the back cover summary indicates, this book has been written ‘as a handbook for all believers who desire to faithfully labour in service for Christ at home or abroad’. Chapters include: God’s commission; Personal responsibility and harmony; Age and area of service; Looking after servants; A letter of commendation for full-time service;
The servant’s family life; Hindrances in the work;
The service of sisters; Joy and suffering in ministry; and A call to service. The last forty pages are taken up by an appendix which gives further detail on references quoted and expands on some of those quotations.
Although his sources are clearly selective, the author has spent a considerable amount of time in researching his subject. He peppers his book with lengthy quotes, some stretching over three and more pages, and from authors writing in English, German, French, and Dutch. Whilst much of what Bubenzer writes may not be new, it has seldom been brought together in this way before. The detailed contents pages enable the reader to get a quick overview of the book and also information on where they might locate material of interest. The information in chapter 4 was particularly fascinating, even though some of the names were unfamiliar. Similarly, his comments in section 5.4 on supporting servants are helpful.
However, overall, I found the book difficult to read.
Though the writer of the Foreword describes the book as ‘a handbook [that could] … guide individuals or couples exercised about serving the Lord’, its layout and structure bears too great a resemblance to a government report. Its lengthy quotations from the writings of others, which probably occupy around 40-50% of the book, could have been pruned, and some mediated for a 21st-century audience. Equally, some of the questions asked and answered seemed unusual, although they may be relevant in the circles in which the author has served. Finally, some comments seemed strange, particularly those relating to letters of commendation. The book may have some good points, but this reviewer felt it could have been better.