Monday Morning Confessional

Monday Morning Confessional September 1, 2014

shrink origami 03.jpg.001

I confess that Shrink is set to release tomorrow. So I’m probably going to talk a lot about ideas from the book in the coming months. But before I get to that, I have a few acknowledgments to make. In today’s confessional, I feel compelled to say:



To the pastors of small churches everywhere: I’ve been thinking about you guys every day for the past three years. I wrote this book for you (us).

Thank you to Paul Raushenbush, who lets me write at The Huffington Post and who is so ably carrying on the legacy of a truly great family. Thank you to Ryan Pazdur at Zondervan, for working to bring this project to fruition, and Verlyn Verbrugge for leaning key concepts until I shored them up or they fell over. Thanks to David Conn for the interior, FaceOut Studio for the cover, Nathan Kroese & Karen Campbell for helping promote the ideas in this book, and everyone else at Zondervan for supporting this project. I’m really grateful, you guys. Thank you so much.

Thank you to Scot McKnight for writing the foreword, and to Stanley Hauerwas, Walter Brueggemann, Christopher Smith, David Fitch, and Erin Wathen for contributing blurbs.

There are many other folks I need to thank–my church, family, and friends–so please read the full acknowledgements in the book for all that. Mostly I want to thank Kristin and the boys. So I’m reposting the acknowledgements I wrote for them:

I save my final thanks for Kristin, Nicholas, and Lewis Suttle. You guys have my heart. They need to make up a better word, because love just doesn’t seem like enough. Nicholas and Lewis, it is a such a dream to be your dad. You are constantly making life beautiful. I pray that you know how much your parents love you; that you will be blessed for the time you let me take away from you in order to write; that you will always be good friends; that you will learn how to listen to your own life; that you will never know a single moment that you don’t feel a part of the people of God; and that you will always have the courage to run “further up and further in!”

Kristin, you still take my breath away. You keep this family together with your ceaseless grace and love. I might be the voice, but you are the beating heart of this family. The life we’ve built together — you, me, the boys, this church, these friendships — it feels so rich and substantial, like ballast for the ship, the weight of which allows us to hang the sails out there and chase the horizon. I cannot see the future, but I dream about it. And when I do, I dream that our days will stretch out like the ocean just as far as the eye can see. They roll and tumble and flow—filled with love and music, laughter and art, pain and grit, sons and daughters, life and death—then they soften into each other, and then into eternity. And when forever comes to swallow up time, when the earth and sky coming crashing into the sea, and you and I and everyone we love washes up on the other side, I know this for sure: You will have been my favorite part of this life; the truest gift I have been given … for which I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

One more day. I’m so excited.

Okay friends, that’s my confession. Now for yours…

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  • Mark Stevens

    I confess to looking forward to reading your book but also a little hesitant because I’ve read so many books supposedly aimed at small churches and their pastors and yet all too often they are just big church ideas aimed at small church pastors. What constitutes a small church? We have about 100 in our church and I am the only pastor. We have a group of elders and an admin person 2 days. What do you say constitutes a small church?

    Not trying to be negative I’ll be sure to buy the book and read it. all the best! 🙂