Monday, July 17, 2017


“Four out of five ministers surveyed”…  OK, the correct number is more like “110 of 110 spiritual leaders interviewed,” but ever since the series of classic commercials aired featuring the ubiquitous “four out of five dentists,” I’ve had the image stuck in my head. The phrase “four out of five surveyed” has assumed a cache of gravitas I simply can’t pass up.

I may not know a lot of dentists, but over the past three years I have interviewed well over one hundred Christian ministers and published almost as many news stories about their work. Without exception these spiritual leaders have always defined the process of spiritual formation directly in terms of our relationship with Christ.

One United Methodist leader said it well: “My growth as a Christian happens in direct proportion to my willingness to place myself in proximity to Jesus.”

Yet at the same time the clerics were unequivocal regarding our need to be saturated with the Word of God. “Actually, that’s one of the primary ways I get to know God,” one Lutheran pastor told me. “God reveals His character specifically through the inspired words of the Bible. Sometimes when I read the Gospels it’s like having Jesus Himself sitting in an easy chair and sharing His heart with me one-on-one.”

-- Derek Maul in “Get Real: A Spiritual Journey for Men”


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