Monday, August 19, 2013

Stepping Down Book Review and Blog Tour

I read Stepping Down in exchange for honest review from Write Now Virtual Tours. The book was written by Michelle Stimpson. 

About the book:

The book is about Mark Carter, who founded New Vision Community Church, six years ago. His wife feels abandoned and his son needs him around. Mark needs to step down from his pastoral position to take care of his family and get his family back in order. Will the church survive during his absence?

About the Author:

  • Michelle Stimpson is an author, speaker, and educator. 
  • Bachelors of science degree from Jarvis Christian College in 1994
  • Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Texas at Arlington in 2002. 
  • Her books include Boaz Brown, Falling into Grace, and Divas of Damascus Road. Divas of Damascus Road is a National best seller, in addition Falling into Grace has been optioned for a movie from Paulist Productions. 
  • Stimpson has published short stories for high school students through her company, Right Track Academic Support Services. 
  • Stimpson serves in the women's ministry at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. She also helps women through her blog, special events, and writing workshops. 
  • She is the parent of two young adults and one dog. 
Book cover.jpg

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Excerpt: (From media kit)

Pastor Mark Wayne Carter, III cast his drooping eyes on the clock ticking away on the wall directly across from his desk. Last year his wife, Sharla, had lowered the clock so that it stared at him while he was sitting in his gold-studded leather executive chair. “I know you’re busy doing the Lord’s work, but it would be nice to see you home before the sun goes down sometimes,” she had nagged as she pounded a nail into the wall. She positioned the clock in its new location, then put both hands on her hips. “If you can see the clock, you might actually keep track of how much time you’re spending here in your office.” Mark didn’t like to fight with her about his devotion to New Vision Church. The church was his life’s purpose, the reason he’d walked away from his short, but well-paying career as an insurance salesman. This church had given him a sense of accomplishment he’d never experienced in all his months as top-producer at StateWay Insurance. More than anything, Mark hoped that New Vision Church would be the reason Jesus said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” to him one day. Late Saturday nights came with the territory, which was one reason he hired a very young man as his assistant and semi-mentee. At thirty-eight years old, Mark was no old goat, but he wasn’t bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, either. He needed an assistant to knock on the door every hour or so and make sure Mark hadn’t fallen asleep at the computer.

My Review:

I loved reading this book. This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. The book is about Pastor Mark. He is married to Sharla and has an adopted, teenager, named Amani. Amani is in that rebellious teenager stage. Sharla feels abandoned because Mark spends more time at church, than at home. She feels he needs to work on his marriage and his relationship with his son. Sharla also wants a child, but feels God is punishing her. Toss in a temptress, who keeps stopping by the church trying to get alone time with Pastor Mark. You also have the church elders trying to change the direction of the church, with or without the Pastor on board. You also have Mark's assistant and mentee, Johnathan, who is fresh out of seminary school. The church is moving far from God. God definitely needed to be the center of Mark's church. Reverend Kit is definitely a problem. For example, when Mark was lead by God during a sermon, Kit interrupted the move of God to send people back to their seats. Reverend Jackson is also another problem. The elders want the church to have similar programs and services like other semi mega and mega churches, in addition to what market research says,  but Mark wants the church to center on God. The elders want the church to experience growth, similar to T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen.  Mark knows he let other things get in the way of God. One passage, which stood out, was how one of the elders said the church experienced growth by works, instead of God. That one statement let me know the church was off-centered and not focused on God.

Then tragedy occurred. Pastor Mark was in a car accident, with a female member of the church. Nothing incident was going on. The female member wanted to talk to Pastor about an issue, Mark and Sharla was directly involved in. The conversation started in the parking lot, but then someone shot a bullet, and the two tried to escape. Anyway, the elders feel Pastor Mark needs to step down until the accident investigation concludes. After all, the church needs to protect it's image (insert sarcasm here lol) since Mark had an unidentified woman in the car.

Once again, I loved reading the book. One of the best fictions, I read in a long time.

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