Driven beyond the Call of God

Discovering the rhythms of grace

Pamela Evans

Currently out of stock £7.99

Content

'In attempting to serve the church and our neighbour with all our hearts, minds and strength, we can find ourselves sucked into a lifestyle which undermines our very purpose and makes nonsense of our message.'

This powerful book shows how, rather than presenting the Good News, 'church' can be very bad news indeed. Christians may find themselves driven towards burn-out, becoming so absorbed in the process of worshipping and serving God that they lose sight of him altogether.

Drawing on years of pastoral experience, the author explores a right view of God and shows how his true requirements of us actually produce good mental and spiritual health. She shows, too, how we need an experience of his grace - a gift we cannot earn, however hard we try. And a helpful study section encourages us to reflect on the pace, direction and motivation of our lives, and work with others towards a healthier style of discipleship.

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Author info

Pamela Evans is a doctor with a background in medical research, and an accredited counsellor with a long-standing interest in process addictions.Based in East Sussex, she is married with two grown-up sons, and enjoys writing, singing and conversation with friends.

Reviews

From Triple Helix - Winter 2005

Are you a driven person? Do you think you drive yourself too much? This book will help you answer these questions and do something about it. Pamela Evans is a doctor who is also a counsellor, and investigates some of the reasons behind spiritual 'drivenness' and 'workaholism'. Anything that's used to alter our mood or block out our troublesome feelings is potentially addictive', she writes, and gives the example that some people can be 'addicted' to helping others in the church. She helpfully warns against co-dependency where someone's whole life is focussed on the needs of others. Such people's helpful manner, she suggests, attempts to cover up their own deep needs. She warns against religious activity becoming an end in itself; people can easily get trapped on a treadmill of compulsive church activity at the expense of a vibrant relationship with the living God.

The title of the book derives from Jesus' words: 'Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly' (Matthew 11: 28-30, The Message). Evans sees learning the rhythms of grace as keeping in step with God as he directs our path, rather than following a set of instructions. She gives examples from her own experience of how easy it is to 'put on a show' rather than to be honest with ourselves and with God. She encourages us to do the latter so that we can become more mature in Christ.

This is a challenging book. It is well written is a lively style and with many examples from daily life. I definitely recommend it for anyone in the caring professions, very busy in church or who thinks that they may be doing too much.

Reviewed by Dominic Beer, Consultant Psychiatrist

James Lawrence, Director of Evangelism, CPAS

'Driven, me? Of course not. I'm not a driven person, I'm called.'

I've heard it said many times, and I've said it myself. But now I'm not so sure. Discerning God's call on our lives as leaders is vital. How else do we know where to invest our time, energy and talents among the many competing demands upon us if we don't have a clear sense of what God wants us to be, to do and to become? 'Drivenness' is a crippling disease that blurs God's call and damages people, both the driven one and the people they inevitably end up driving. It is, in fact, an addiction.

Driven Beyond the Call of God is a fascinating exploration of drivenness and God's call on our lives. It includes a penetrating analysis of addiction and the religious overtones this dependency often takes. The book is well written, with great illustrations and perceptive insights into the addictive condition.

Author Pamela Evans is ideally qualified to be addressing this subject. She is a doctor with a background in medical research and a counsellor with longstanding interest in 'process addictions'. She draws on research, experience and the Bible to undermine the view that addiction is limited to a few extreme people. 'The question isn't, Are we addicts - yes or no? Rather, How do we deal with the pain in our lives? To what extent is unacknowledged pain 'in the driving seat'?

In nine chapters, each with helpful reflective questions at the end, she defines addiction, identifies its particular manifestations in church life, considers the place of authority, worship and compassion in the Christian faith, and outlines some practical 'next steps'.

She constantly emphasizes the importance of both a growing relationship with Christ and an unremitting commitment to facing the truth about ourselves in the light of God's perspective on our lives. This is not a comfortable read. But in a society and church where addictive behaviour is increasingly common and where happiness is valued more than holiness, it is a timely call to 'resolve to aim for maturity and healthy discipleship rather than pain relief or tidying up the ragged edges of our lives.' (p195).

The danger with reading such a book is that one is left with good intentions that remain just that - intentions. For that reason it might be best if the material was used as part of leadership team (PCC, church council, vestry, chapter, cell leaders' meeting, etc) study programme where there is a degree of accountability and opportunity for reflection and growth.

I strongly recommend this book for church leaders as they seek to discover the 'rhythms of grace' rather than live by the cycles of guilt or dependency that all too often predominate amongst the most committed and competent leaders.

Sue Clements-Jewery, New Christian Herald 1/5/99

This is a clearly written, easily accessible book aimed at church leaders...Good use is made of biblical material and each chapter concludes with helpful 'focus points' for study and discussion...A good read for overstretched leaders who want to get the balance back.

Canon Young, Church Times 20/8/99

The author has written a sensitive and helpful book, in an accessible style which is devotional in tone, as the sub-title ('Discovering the rhythms of grace') suggests.

From Christianity July 99

Pamela Evans is a doctor and counsellor in things known as 'process addictions'. These, she says, are what a number of people in the church are victims of... Firmly rooted in the Bible and sound doctrine, this book is a perfect antidote for those who are tired of giving their lives, and an excellent study resource for those wanting to study the biblical model for the church...The book ends with eight excellent studies in the major themes of the book such as Compassion, Praise and Peace.

Hennie Johnston, Church of England Newspaper 21/10/00

Pamela Evans has dared to write where few writers have dared to go on issues such as conflict, confrontation, anger, ungodly leadership, co-dependency, the misuse of worship, compassion and the need for people to need us. Topics that are often pushed under the carpet or run away from by those in leadership...Pamela Evans includes many real and moving testimonies of people whom she has known throughout her Christian ministry enabling the reader to empathise with them and finding a sense of relief that others feel as we so often do. As a member of a relatively large church staff team I also think that the book and exercises would be extremely helpful tools to use within such a team.

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841010540
  • Published: 19 March 1999
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
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