All pastors know what it means to struggle with difficult people in their churches, and almost all would welcome guidance regarding how to deal with and counsel those types of persons. In “Toughest People to Love: how to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in your Life,” Chuck DeGroat, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Western Theological Seminary, attempts to provide such help.
The book is divided neatly into three parts. In Part 1 (Understanding People), DeGroat urges his readers to seek to understand and love members of their communities who engage in maddening and sometimes self-destructive behaviors. In emphases that he maintains throughout the book, he argues that this requires both 1) an understanding of the basis of these behaviors and attitudes in others and 2) a better apprehension of one’s own brokenness as a leader. In arguing for a vision of brokenness as leaders, he makes frequent reference to current books on leadership written primarily for business leaders, arguing that they have captured an emphasis on transparent leadership that church leaders need.
Part 2 (Leading and Loving Difficult People) focuses on specified psychological…Continue Reading