Let the Word to the Work
Ed. Peter Bolt. Matthais Media, 2015
I don’t think there as a been a single person that God has used in the last 40 years that would rival Phillip Jensen for the effect on evangelical Christianity in Sydney. As a preacher, writer, trainer, publisher, strategist, pastor and most of all evangelist. So when Peter Bolt told me he was working on a book for Phillip’s retirement(1) I was intrigued as to what he would produce.
It’s not what I expected. It’s not a biography. Phillip is a surprisingly private person and so this is not a huge surprise. Nor is it the bunch of essays that I have seen in the past to commemorate someone’s retirement, which is what I expected.
It’s…well a bunch of short essay/ reflections from people who have worked with Phillip in one way or another. Many of them looking at what Phillip taught them when they were growing. And they cover a range of different topics from preaching and pastoring to the DNA of a Mid Year Conference and even thoughts on temperance and alcohol consumption in a church.
All the essays are worth reading and considering. None of them pretend to be objective. Some are more reflective that others (e.g. Peter Bolt’s own contribution).
But it got me thinking, why produce a book like this? Why not a biography? Why not a set of more objective essays? Phillip’s answer would be what does the Bible say?
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19 ESV)
The best way of seeing whether ministry is fruitful or productive is to look at the people it is producing. This book is a testament to the people that Phillip’s ministry has produced. Hence it is exactly the right way to commemorate a milestone of Phillip’s ministry.
If you want to understand why Sydney evangelicalism is the way it is, then this is an important book to read. If you want to see a good model of ministry then this is an important book to read.
(1) I should point out by ‘retirement’ I mean the ending of his formal ministry at the Sydney Cathedral. He will of course continue to minister at “Two Ways to Live Ministries”.