Review: Facing Snarls and Scowls: Preaching through Hostility, Apathy and Adversity

Brian Croft and James B. Carroll
(Christian Focus Publications, 2019)

Preaching in any context can be a tough ministry assignment. In a struggling church that is trying to find new life after years of languishing, it can be particularly daunting. Brian Croft and James B. Carrol wrote Facing Snarls and Scowls as a way to help.

“There are many strong books on preaching, but there are very few books in regard to preaching in a church revitalization context,” Croft and Carrol write. “In fact, I’m convinced there’s nothing like the book you hold in your hands. Let’s face it. The hard work of church revitalization is a unique experience and battle ground.”

Realizing the difficulties faced by preachers in a revitalization context, the authors focus the book on the need of pastors to persevere. Specifically, they urge pastors to stay and preach, to boldly proclaim the whole counsel of God and endure the difficulties they will encounter.

Croft and Carrol divide the 120-page book into three parts: the biblical and historical case for perseverance in preaching, elements of good preaching, and practical insights into preaching through humility, apathy, and adversity.

The authors conclude with an admonition for preachers to see their adversity as an advantage. “Adversity is a gift to remind us that we are insufficient for this work,” they write. “God never intended for the containers to rival the beauty of what they hold.”

If you’re pastoring a church in the middle of revitalization, you need to dive into this book. Its fresh insights into the significance, struggles, and opportunities of preaching in this context will feed your soul and strengthen your resolve. Read it, mark it up and let the biblical truth it uncovers refresh, correct and encourage you in your ministry.