Pastor’s Perspective

The Circle Maker

April 9, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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I’ve read a lot of books on prayer over the years, but few have both encouraged and challenged me the way Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker has. While not a book on leadership, this is a book that every leader should read.

Obviously a book written by a practitioner, not a theorist, The Circle Maker is filled with insights that come from practice, as well as from pastoring people who are dealing with the real stuff of life as they are learning to pray. I’ve seen so many of these played out in the people I pastor! Here are just a few of the ones that struck me: (more…)

Captivology

March 27, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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Captivology was a challenging book for me. On the one hand, I totally agree with the premise of the book—that we should be aware of the things that capture people’s attention, and use those things to get our message across. I think that’s what good speakers, and good leaders, naturally do.

On the other hand, I am also very aware of how those things can be used to manipulate people. Honestly, there is nothing that can be done about that; I can’t control what other people do. But I can seek to be wise, and act with integrity, in my own use.

It was interesting to me that there are different things that capture people’s short or long-range attention. (more…)

The Ideal Team Player

March 13, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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I can’t remember ever having a conversation with a pastor on the topic of building teams. I’ve had lots of conversations about hiring staff, and recruiting volunteers, but not any about putting together a great team, and what is needed for that to happen.

The Ideal Team Player touches on some helpful aspects of that topic. Lencioni really focuses in on character qualities, as opposed to focusing on skills or talents. Not the traditional ones you will find churches talking about, like the character qualities needed to be an elder, but the ones that make someone a good team player. They are different. You can be a person of good character—honest, devout, faithful to your spouse, etc.—and not be a good team player. (more…)

The Most Excellent Way to Lead

February 27, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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I really enjoyed The Most Excellent Way to Lead, mostly because it brings a fresh approach to looking at leadership. That’s ironic, because talking about love shouldn’t be unusual. But in terms of leadership, it’s seldom a focus. I can remember maybe 2-3 books that touch on this in some way, but that’s about it.

Noble really gets at the heart of leadership, or maybe better to say, the heart of the leader. Especially in the church, a leader’s motivation above all should be love for his/her people. Unfortunately, even in the church our motivations can be for lesser reasons—ego, desire for power or attention, competition, etc. (more…)

Essentialism

February 16, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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I loved Essentialism! I think the concepts outlined in this book could be life-changing for many people I know. As I read it, I realized I have been on a journey in that direction for a while, but had never identified it so clearly.

I think identifying that thing, or those few things, that are truly essential is one of the most powerful steps any person can take to improve their life. There is a peace that comes with that kind of focus that doesn’t really come any other way. And it provides an antidote for the crazy-busy lifestyle that many of us have bought into.

It’s actually hard to limit myself to only one or two things—this is a book (more…)

The One-Life Solution

January 30, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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Henry Cloud’s The One-Life Solution could just as easily be titled How to Win at Life. He basically covers the key issues that can sabotage us in our pursuit of a life worth living, and gives next steps in how to address them.

The fundamental issue is learning how to set boundaries. Either we will set them for our lives, or other people will control what we do and how we live. Given that alternative, it’s worth whatever it takes to learn how to set boundaries—decide for ourselves what we will and won’t do, and how we will use our time and energy.

“Most people try to control things they can’t control. All we can really control is ourselves.” That is one of the most important truths any pastor can learn. I know many pastors who feel responsible for how their people live—and I’ve seen how destructive it can be. I remember as a young pastor realizing that I was working harder to help some people change than they were working at their own change. It was a relief, and very healthy, to commit to not working harder for someone than they would work for themselves. (more…)

Talk Like TED

January 19, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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Anyone who speaks regularly can benefit from Talk Like TED. TED speakers have become well-known and well-respected for bringing great talks on a wide variety of topics. Learning some of the elements that make them so effective will help any communicator up his or her game. As someone who speaks regularly, I read whatever I can on the topic of communication, so I can keep growing. I found some real gems in Talk Like TED.

The power of story-telling is not a new idea, but I found it a helpful reminder. In particular, I grabbed hold of the fact that stories help the speaker and his audience connect emotionally, in a way that simply giving information or data can never do. And as someone who wants to move people when I speak, it was a great reminder to invest as much time in finding great stories as in finding great content. (more…)

Step Up: Lead In Six Moments That Matter

December 30, 2016 in Pastor's Perspective
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Step Up: Lead In Six Moments That Matter does a great job of identifying six common times that leadership makes a difference. Indeed, leaders are often born in those moments. Being able to recognize them, and then navigate them effectively, will help anyone become a more effective leader.

I’ve seen all of those times in church life; I suspect they are common to every organization, and are moments every leader will experience. But there were two items in particular that stuck out to me.

The first related to leveraging pessimism. Dealing with pessimists is one of the most (more…)