Necessary Endings is a “necessary” read for every church leader, regardless of denominational stripe. While the author and internationally renowned Dr. Henry Cloud intended this volume to promote personal and professional growth, it could have been addressed to the American Church. This book provides convincing proof of the need for endings in our individual and church lives, then spotlights the way to new beginnings.
For anyone who has benefited from Dr. Cloud’s historic book, Boundaries, they should not hesitate to utilize their budgeted funds and obtain this volume. The author is truly gifted when it comes to applying biblical principles into the sticky and difficult challenges in which leaders find themselves. He is also adept at gleaning these same principles out of the crises experienced, then articulating them for others to learn. Ecc. 3:1 (NIV) serves as the underpinning: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
One can expect to become familiar with several interesting terms, such as the pruning moment, good pain, codependent mapping, medicating thoughts and misunderstood loyalty. A phrase that will resound throughout is, “the good cannot begin until the bad ends.” I identified so strongly on numerous occasions with the reading that I found myself writing “Amen!” frequently in the margins.
Numerous instructions are also given that sound paradoxical at first. These include: don’t be squishy, begin with the end in mind, embrace the grief and realize hopelessness can be a good thing. After each time I raised my eyebrow in doubt, I was nodding in agreement by the end of the page.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly to pastors and fellow Executive Pastors, especially those that thrive on equipping others to enjoy the success of healthy Christian living. The only requirement is a teachable spirit. However, may the reader beware; Necessary Endings will be easier to read than to implement, and as convicting as it is refreshing.