Mea Culpa

| March 20, 2015

Kyle McClellan. Mea Culpa: Learning from Mistakes in the Ministry. Fearn, Tain, Ross-Shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus, 2015. 116 pp. $8.99.

Coming out of seminary, Kyle McClellan was considered a “five-talent minister.” In comprehending that term, think of a five-tool baseball star who hits for a high average, flashes plenty of home run power, runs fast on the bases, plays great defense, and throws with a cannon arm. If you’re old school, think Willie Mays. If you’re new school, think Mike Trout. When these players are young, observers often say they “can’t miss” becoming a hall-of-famer.

In a similar way, men like McClellan are supposed to lead their churches to ministerial greatness. But as he relates in his transparent and provocative new book, Mea Culpa: Learning from Mistakes in the Ministry, McClellan crashed and burned. As the title—Latin for “my fault”—suggests, he largely sees his own sin as the culprit. He admits in one of the earliest paragraphs, “I plowed quite a bit of ministerial ground with my chin.” Indeed. Between 1996 and 2006 he pastored four churches, beginning with a three-year stint while in seminary. He remained at one church for two years and two others for three each. “Only one of those congregations was sad to see…

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