Notes from the leadership journey!

Category Archives: Books

Protecting Your Church

On Sunday, I challenged our church family to protect the church. I read several statements from The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

Warren begins, “It is your job to protect the unity of your church.” He notes …

Unity is the soul of fellowship. Destroy it, and you rip the heart out of Christ’s Body. It is the essence, the core, of how God intends for us to experience life together in his church. (161)

Unity in the Body of Christ matters. Warren contends …

Nothing on earth is more valuable to God than his church. He paid the highest price for it, and he wants it protected, especially from the devastating damage that is caused by division, conflict, and disharmony. If you are part of God’s family, it is your responsibility to protect the unity where you fellowship. (162)

Warren offers six pieces of practical advice

  1. Focus on what we have in common, not our differences.
  2. Be realistic in your expectations.
  3. Choose to encourage rather than criticize.
  4. Refuse to listen to gossip.
  5. Practice God’s method for conflict resolution. (Matthew 18.15-17)
  6. Support your pastor and leaders.

On criticism, Warren suggests, “It is always easier to stand on the sidelines and take shots at those who are serving than it is to get involved and make a contribution” (164). He writes …

The Bible calls Satan “the accuser of our brothers.” It’s the Devil’s job to blame, complain, and criticize members of God’s family. Anytime we do the same, we’re being duped into doing Satan’s work for him. (165)

Warren defines gossip as “passing on information when you are neither part of the problem nor part of the solution.” He warns, “Listening to gossip is like accepting stolen property, and it make you just as guilty of the crime” (165).

Warren concludes the chapter with the challenge, “What are you doing personally to make your church family more warm and loving?” He states …

There are many people in your community who are looking for love and a place to belong. The truth is, everyone needs and wants to be loved, and when people find a church where members genuinely love and care for one another, you would have to lock the doors to keep them away. (168)

How strong would the church be if we all took our responsibility of protecting it seriously?

“Essentialism”

Ever since I heard about Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, I was interested in reading it. I finally got around to it, and I was not disappointed! There’s so much in the book, it’s impossible to review it all here. But here are some of my favorite thoughts. McKeown describes the… Continue →

“Breaking the Missional Code”

I recently read Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer and David Putman. The book aims to help churches become missionaries in their communities. According to the authors, “breaking the code … means discovering the principles that work in every context, selecting the tools most relevant for your context … and then learning to apply… Continue →

“Finding Our Way”

Earlier this year, United Methodist leaders published Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church, edited by Bishop Rueben P. Job and Neil M. Alexander. Several bishops each contributed a chapter, including … Enforce (Gregory V. Palmer) Emend (Hope Morgan Ward) Disobey (Melvin G. Talbert) Disarm (Kenneth H. Carter, Jr.) Order (J.… Continue →

“Replenish”

Two years ago, I started reading Replenish by Lance Witt. I chose the book because of my experiences with stress (see Hitting the Wall, which includes links to other parts of the story). The Leadership Team at Centre Grove also spent several months reading and discussing the book. There’s a lot of helpful content in… Continue →

Character, Competence, & Chemistry

I’ve been familiar with these terms for a while. These three Cs—Character, Competence, and Chemistry—are critically important for teams, including church ministry teams! I was reminded of this again lately as I’m reading slowly through Leadership Axioms: Powerful Leadership Proverbs by Bill Hybels. The book includes brief sections on 76 different concepts, including a chapter… Continue →

“Shaped By God’s Heart”

I recently read Shaped By God’s Heart: The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches by Milfred Minatrea. I should have included this book in my doctoral dissertation (how leaders shape missional culture), but I missed it! Minatrea’s definition of a missional church is … a reproducing community of authentic disciples, being equipped as missionaries sent… Continue →

“The Externally Focused Church”

I just read The Externally Focused Church by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson (2004). It’s a good book about the church in action through service. Rusaw and Swanson suggest, “Externally focused churches are internally strong, but they are oriented externally” (17). They are “convinced that good deeds and good news can’t and shouldn’t be separated”… Continue →

Moving From ASAP to ALAT!

One of my favorite books is The Circle Maker. That should come as no surprise. I’ve written seven posts about the book (last one here, with links to the previous ones). In the book, Batterson writes … Maybe one of the reasons we get frustrated in prayer is our ASAP approach. When our prayers aren’t… Continue →