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Entries in Church Leaders (1287)

Friday
Nov092012

Sobel and Panas, Power Questions

Sobel-Power-Questions Amazon.com

Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas, Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others. Wiley, 2012.

Referenced in: Leading With Questions

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

For all leaders, but especially for church leaders who depend on the soft currencies of influence over the hard currencies of leverage, the skill of well-placed questions is indispensable. This is also helpful for coaching. This book does more than discuss questioning as a skill, but actually suggests 33 main questions, along with related questions for a total of 337, plus another 295 questions at the end to help with hosting effective meetings, discussing a proposal, connecting personally, understanding another person’s agenda, getting feedback, engaging leadership, engaging employees, evaluating a new idea or proposal, etc. It is exactly what the publisher’s description says, “An arsenal of powerful questions that will transform every conversation.”

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, click herek.

Publisher’s Description

An arsenal of powerful questions that will transform every conversation

Skillfully redefine problems. Make an immediate connection with anyone. Rapidly determine if a client is ready to buy. Access the deepest dreams of others. Power Questions sets out a series of strategic questions that will help you win new business and dramatically deepen your professional and personal relationships. The book showcases thirty-five riveting, real conversations with CEOs, billionaires, clients, colleagues, and friends. Each story illustrates the extraordinary power and impact of a thought-provoking, incisive power question. To help readers navigate a variety of professional challenges, over 200 additional, thought-provoking questions are also summarized at the end of the book.

In Power Questions you’ll discover:

  • The question that stopped an angry executive in his tracks
  • The sales question CEOs expect you to ask versus the questions they want you to ask
  • The question that will radically refocus any meeting
  • The penetrating question that can transform a friend or colleague’s life
  • A simple question that helped restore a marriage

When you use power questions, you magnify your professional and personal influence, create intimate connections with others, and drive to the true heart of the issue every time.

About the Author

Andrew Sobel (www.andrewsobel.com) helps companies and individuals build clients for life. He is the most widely published author in the world on the topic of business relationships, and his bestselling books include Power Questions, All for One, Making Rain, and Clients for Life. All for One was recently voted one of the top 10 sales and marketing books of the decade by a major marketing publication. His clients include many of the world’s leading companies such as Citigroup, Hess, Cognizant, Ernst & Young, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, Experian, Lloyds Banking Group, and many others. Andrew’s articles and work have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, USA Today, strategy+business, and the Harvard Business Review. He spent 15 years at Gemini Consulting where he was a Senior Vice President and country Chief Executive Officer, and for the last 15 years he has led his own consulting firm, Andrew Sobel Advisors. Andrew has been married for 30 years and has three children. He can be reached at www.andrewsobel.com.

Jerold Panas is executive partner of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners, one of the nation’s largest firms specializing in campaign services and financial resource development. A popular lecturer, he is co-founder and chairman of the Institute for Charitable Giving, which specializes in training and coaching professionals in the field.


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***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

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Friday
Nov092012

Cloud and Townsend, How People Grow, Bible On Personal Growth

Cloud-How-People-Grow Amazon.com

Henry Cloud and John Townsend, How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth. Zondervan, 2004.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Cloud and Townsend are best known for their best-selling Boundaries series. This book forms the theological basis for that series. Here, the authors distinguish between four popular ways of thinking about personal growth:

  1. The sin model - All problems are a result of one’s sin, and one must confess, repent, and sin no more.
  2. The truth model - Problems result from a lack of “truth,” and one must Scripture and doctrine to be “set free.”
  3. The experiential model - Problems result from unresolved pain, and one must do spiritual archaeology to “dig up” and heal the pain.
  4. The supernatural model - Problems are solved by direct action from the Holy Spirit, or through opening oneself up to Christ reproducing his life in us.

Each of these has value. But as the authors point out, none of these really cures problems. They may help people cope better, but still do not bring the kind of transformation people desire and seek. This can and does lead many to disillusionment.

Through their experience and research regarding people who have actually grown, i.e. depressed people becoming undepressed, people with eating disorders getting over them altogether, they gained insight into three questions:

  1. What helps people grow?
  2. How do these processes fit into our orthodox understanding of spiritual growth and theology?
  3. What are the responsibilities of the one helping others grow (pastor, counselor, group leader) and what are the responsibilities of the one growing?

The architecture they used for their exploration was the classic theological doctrines, disciplines and themes (e.g. Bible, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, truth, grace, sin, church, confession, discipline, suffering), with a special focus on how each doctrine applies to personal growth.

This is an excellent book, reaching far beyond pop psychology and simplistic spirituality, into a substantive and comprehensive guide to how people grow.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, click herek.

Publisher’s Description

All growth is spiritual growth. Authors Drs. Cloud and Townsend unlock age-old keys to growth from Scripture to help people resolve issues of relationships, maturity, emotional problems, and overall spiritual growth. They shatter popular misconceptions about how God operates and show that growth is not about self-actualization, but about God’s sanctification. In this theological foundation to their best-selling book Boundaries, they discuss:

  • What the essential processes are that make people grow
  • How those processes fit into a biblical understanding of spiritual growth and theology
  • How spiritual growth and real-life issues are one and the same
  • What the responsibilities are of pastors, counselors, and others who assist people in growing—-and what your own responsibilities are in your personal growth

About the Author

Dr. Cloud is a leadership consultant, best-selling author, and speaker whose books have sold well over 5 million copies. He consults and speaks for companies and organizations in the area of leadership and performance, and is highly regarded for his ability to connect personal and interpersonal development with the needs of business.

He is a clinical psychologist and leadership consultant with a unique ability to connect with audiences. Drawing upon his broad range of experiences in private practice, leadership consulting, and media, he simplifies life’s issues and gives easy to understand, practical advice. It’s Dr. Cloud’s humor, compassion and “in the moment” confrontation that make his approach to psychology, business and spirituality such a success.

Dr. Cloud has written, or co-written, more than twenty books, including the two-million-seller Boundaries and his most recent books, Necessary Endings, Integrity, The One Life Solution, The Law of Happiness and 9 Things You Simply Must Do. His books have sold over five million copies. His works have been reviewed and featured by such publications as The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times and many others. Dr. Cloud co-hosts the nationally syndicated radio program New Life Live, which is heard in over 180 markets.

As a speaker, he is a favorite at corporate events, conventions, and public arena events on a variety of topics, speaking regularly through the U.S. and internationally.

In his consulting practice, he works with leaders in a wide range of organizations and corporations, from family help firms to Fortune 25 and Fortune 500 companies. He has an extensive executive coaching background and experience as an organizational and leadership consultant, spending the majority of his hands-on time with CEOs and executive teams. Dr. Cloud founded and built a health care company which operated treatment centers in forty markets in the Western U.S. for which he served as Clinical Director for ten years. In that context of hands-on clinical experience, he developed and researched many of the treatment principles and methods that he communicates to audiences now. After selling the company, he devoted his time to consulting and coaching, spreading principles of hope and life-change through speaking, writing and media.

He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, earning a B.S. in psychology with honors. He completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Biola University, and his clinical internship at Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. His philanthropic interests lie in the area of homelessness and the inner city, as well as missions in the developing world. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Tori, and their two daughters, Olivia and Lucy.


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Friday
Nov022012

Barton, Pursuing God's Will Together

Barton-Pursuing-Gods-Will-Together Amazon.com

Ruth Haley Barton, Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups (Transforming Center Set). IVP Books, 2012.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

In the introduction, Barton provides some important definitions. First, she says of discernment,

Discernment literally means to separate, to discriminate, to determine, to decide or to distinguish between two things. Spiritual discernment is the ability to distinguish or discriminate between good (that which is of God and draws and closer to God) and evil (that which is not of God and draws us away from God). (10)

Second, of leadership:

There are many qualities that contribute to good leadership, but it is our commitment to discerning and doing the will of God through the help of the Holy Spirit that distinguishes spiritual leadership from other kinds of leadership. (10)

Third, of corporate leadership discernment:

Corporate or leadership discernment is the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and activity of God as a leadership group relative to the issues we are facing, and to make decision in response to that Presence. Spiritual leaders are distinguished by their commitment to discern important matters together so they can affirm a shared sense of God’s desire for them adn move forward on that basis. (11)

Then she adds:

It is hard to imagine that spiritual leadership could be about anything but seeking to know and do the will of God, and yet many leadership groups do nto have this as their clear mandate and reason for existence. (11)

To help with this, Barton designed this book to be a “one-stop-shop for leadership groups who wish to become a community for discernment.” (13) She divides the book into two main sections, though section one comprises two-thirds of the book. Section One is on Preparation, because she believes “preparation is more important than the process.” She says,

“If leaders and communities of leaders are prepared at the levels put forth in this book, discernment will happen even without a process. Conversely, if leaders are not prepared on the levels described here, there is a good chance discernment won’t happen even when they engage the process; there are too many human dynamics that will get in the way.” (14)

The chapters break down this way:

  • Chapters 1-3 focus on the spiritual preparation of each individual leader, addressing the inner obstacles to spiritual discernment, helping leaders to commit to discernment as the group norm.
  • Chapters 4-8 address the preparation of the leadership group as a community for discernment.
  • Chapters 9-12 describe the process of leadership discernment, giving groups a chance to begin exploring it together.

One helpful piece is in chapter 3, where she says, “five foundational beliefs are the building blocks of a sound discernment practice.”

  1. Spiritual discernment, by definition, is a process that takes place in and through the Trinity. It is the Spirit that interprets the deep things of God to us. (1 Cor. 12:12) Corporate discernment presupposes commitment to Christ, who leads the church at its Head, and the real presence of the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us into all truth. (53-54)
  2. The impulse to discern - to want to respond to Christ in this fashion - is in itself a “good spirit” that needs to be cultivated. A desire to move beyond intellectual prowess and self-effort is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work. (54)
  3. Deep belief in the goodness of God moves us to trust him with the things that that are most important to us. This goes beyond believing in God’s goodness as a general attribute, but very specifically believing that God’s will is the best thing that can happen to us under any circumstances. (54-55)
  4. Love is our ultimate calling - love for God, love of self, love for others and love for the world (cf. Matthew 22:37-40; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 4:7-12). She says, “this is easily lost in the press of church and organizational life.” She calls for leaders to ask what love might be calling them to do in their situations. The Holy Spirit can help us discern what love requires. (55-56)
  5. We are committed to doing the will of God that is revealed to us. She quotes Chuck Olsen and Danny Morris that “the question of willingness must be answered before the process of discernment begins: Are we willing to do God’s will before we even know it?” (See Discerning God’s Will Together) (56)

This text is written in a thoughtful, hopeful, pastoral tone, and helps leaders desire, envision, and practice the kind of oneness with God’s mission that spiritual discernement affords. Each chapter ends with a series of reflections and exercises for groups to do together.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Meetings can sap our energy, rupture community and thoroughly demoralize us. They can go on forever with no resolution. Or they can rush along without consensus just to “get through the agenda.” What if there was another way?

Church boards and other Christian leadership teams have long relied on models adapted from the business world. Ruth Haley Barton, president of the Transforming Center, helps teams transition to a much more suitable model—the spiritual community that discerns God’s will together.

In these pages you will discover personal and group practices that will lead you into a new way of experiencing community and listening to God together.

About the Author

Ruth Haley Barton (Doctor of Divinity, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary) is founder of the Transforming Center, a ministry dedicated to strengthening the souls of pastors, Christian leaders and the congregations and organizations they serve. [www.thetransformingcenter.org] A sought-after teacher, retreat leader and trained spiritual director, Ruth is the author of numerous books and articles on the spiritual life.

Educated at Northern Seminary, the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and Loyola University Chicago Institute for Pastoral Studies, she has served on the pastoral staff of several churches including Willow Creek Community Church and is Professor of Spiritual Transformation at Northern Seminary.


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Friday
Nov022012

McIntosh, There's Hope for your Church

Mcintosh-Hope-for-your-Church Amazon.com

Gary L. McIntosh, There’s Hope for Your Church: First Steps to Restoring Health and Growth. Baker Books, 2012.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a distillation of McIntosh’s four decades of consultations with over 1,000 churches and his experience as a professor of ministry. He presents a step-by-step approach to church revitalization, though he acknowledges it is never this clean and easy. He writes with the hope that leaders of all orientations - church growth, spiritual formation, missional - will see value in his process. It is a great collection of practical wisdom that leaders of all stripes could benefit from.

1. See the Potential

2. Commit to Lead - Distinction between revitalization pastor and revitalization leader. Emphasis is on leader of a D or I style on the DISC Profile who is willing to engage at least a seven year process through five levels of leadership.

3. Assess the Situation - Eight signs of trouble that may signal a need for revitalization in your church

4. Learn the Principles - Universal revitalization principles that work in all churches

5. Discern God’s Vision - Defines vision as the intersection of the pastor’s leadership passion, the passion and gifts of the congregation, and the community needs.

6. Build a Coalition - A team of commited influencers who help the leader conceive, plan, and execute the change, and whose “early adopter” status helps disseminate the change throughout the congregation.

7. Lift the Morale - Instill hope so that people see their best days ahead

8. Make Hard Decisions - Become and remain decisive about what is necessary for the church to move to the next level.

9. Refocus the Ministry - Focus inward rather than outward

10. Equip for Change - Discusses change dynamics generally, with some insights into church identity, congregational history, and generational issues.

11. Deal With Resistance - Explains resistance as coming from those who lose their sense of identity, control, meaning, belonging, and future. See Bridges Managing Transitions for expansion on this.

12. Stay the Course - Keeping with the vision and plan, while remaining open to feedback, brings better results than anxious reversals.

13. Breaking Through - Experience the victories and fresh new opportunties revitalization brings.

One very interesting section is the Appendix, Rebirthing A Church. This is different than church planting. In a sense, it is a church re-planting. He describes the most common approach to rebirthing:

  1. An established ministry recognizes its ministry is not working.
  2. A small core of people envision a new future for the church
  3. Through a series of events and meetings, the church agrees to close its public ministry and release current members to join other churches of to commit to becoming part of a new direction for the church.
  4. Appropriate legal changes are made, such as a new church name.
  5. Following a six- to twelve month cocooning, during which prayer and plans for a new church take place, the church rebirths itself and opens as a new church.

McIntosh mentions that this works best under certain conditions, e.g the church is small, ineffective, and has a core group with a vision for a new style of ministry.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

A startling 85% of churches in the US are plateaued or declining, a trend that has been building for the past fifty years. In the face of shrinking attendance and lagging spiritual growth, pastors and church leaders are understandably discouraged and demoralized. But the first step to turning things around is hope. Church health expert Gary McIntosh offers this hope by showing church leaders the first things they need to do to make a new start for their church.

God can and does restore churches to new life, even as he restores individuals. The street-smart ideas and step-by-step instructions found in this book are ones that pastors and church leaders can put to use immediately in their churches to bring about solid growth and renewed hope for the future.

About the Author

Gary L. McIntosh is president of the Church Growth Network and professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Talbot School of Theology. He leads seminars and has written eighteen books, including Biblical Church Growth, Beyond the First Visit, and Taking Your Church to the Next Level.


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Tuesday
Oct232012

Woolever and Bruce, Leadership That Fits Your Church

Woolever-Cynthia-Leadership-That-Fits-Your-Church200.jpg Amazon.com

Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, Leadership That Fits Your Church: What Kind of Pastor for What Kind of Congregation. Chalice Press, 2012.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

As I have said before, anything in The Columbia Partnership (TCP) Leadership Series is worth reading. This text is no different. It shares part of the results of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, in which 500,000 worshipers in about 5,000 congregations across America have participated. This piece of the research discusses findings on 692 leader surveys where leaders and churches reflected on their relationship and how it affects congregational life. It is probably the largest, most definitive study ever conducted on what ministers and churches do to work together effectively. Although conducted among mainline Protestant, convervative Protestant, and Catholic churches, most of the leader-church dynamics it discusses are characteristic of all worshipping communities.

Admittedly, the book reads like “research,” and at times seems redundant. On the other hand, it is worth a careful read to extract the greatest learnings and implications for one’s environment. As stated in the introduction, it helps in the following ways:

1. It helps ministers and other leadership staff to assess their strengths for ministry and understand the church contexts where those talents might best fit.

2. It helps churches understand what kind of minister might best fit the congregation.

3. It helps leaders and members know more about what ministers experience, allowing better ministerial support, and greater collaboration with the minister to enhance congregational effectiveness.

4. It helps professionals who help congregations develop an eye for leadership that is the “best fit” for a specific congregational context.

Below is a breakdown of topics:

  • What kind of pastor for what kind of church?
  • What gives a pastor satisfaction in ministry?
  • What supports a pastor’s well-being?
  • What difference do satisfaction and well-being make?
  • What part do pastors play in growing congregations?
  • What leadership approaches do pastors use?
  • What makes for the best pastor-congregation match?
**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Matching the right pastor with the right congregation is one of the most important — and daunting — decisions either party can make. While there are many pastors and congregations that merely fit OK, there are other matches that fit perfectly.

Leadership that Fits Your Church explores how to find what really works for pastors and congregations. Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, known for their work with congregational life research, lead you on an enlightening adventure in finding that perfect match. Follow the pastoral transition experiences of three churches: a mainline, Protestant congregation; a conservative church; and a Catholic parish. Each example starts with basic descriptions of pastors and church types, then digs into illustrations of deeper dynamics that yield a good match between congregation and pastoral leadership.

About the Authors

CYNTHIA WOOLEVER is research director of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, coeditor of The Parish Paper with Herb Miller and Lyle Schaller, and formerly a professor of sociology of religious organizations at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Hartford Seminary. As a sociologist and consultant, she has focused on applied organizational research, working with congregations, judicatories, and seminaries throughout her twenty-five–year career.

DEBORAH BRUCE (1955-2012) was associate research manager in the research services office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and project manager of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. She worked in a variety of applied research settings before coming to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She served as an officer for the Religious Research Association and was a member of that organization and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.


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***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

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Tuesday
Oct232012

McClintock, Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations

McClintock-Karen-Shame-less-Lives200.jpg Amazon.com

Karen A. McClintock, Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations. The Alban Institute, 2011.

Referenced in:

I’ve read a lot of books on shame, both to help myself and others. Most are written from the perspective of helping individuals address the shame-based stories they live out from the script implanted during their early socialization. These are good. This text does some of the same, but its special contribution is addressing congregations and their leaders. The author writes out of a strong conviction:

“I believe congregations are in decline because they have become shame-bound. Shame is so debilitating that many of our congregations are now critically ill. Shame blocks our ability to evangelize effectively, embrace diversity, and heal individual members. Pervasive shame limits congregational healing after experiences of ineffective and abusive leadership.”

Congregations and their leaders are especially vulnerable. She says:

“Clergy and leaders in congregations are often the most shame-bound people I have encountered. People with a good deal of inner pain and a deep sense of unworthiness frequently find their way to faith communities. Many of those enter congregational leadership in an unconscious search for personal and relational healing. A congregation can seem like a safe place in which to hide feelings of shame. But hiding isn’t healing, and hidden shame is dangerously correlated with secrets that harm congregations.”

Members of churches often perpetuate shame as well: “People with shame find shame-based congregations, because they are accustomed to being preached to, having fingers pointed in their direction, and the judgment of not measuring up.”

With skill, wit, and sensitivity, she suggests ways for congregations to address shame.

“You are hereby invited to become a shame­less leader in order to assist others in your congregational system to find a life of grace. You can heal the shame you have likely been carrying around for far too long. This shame may be rooted in childhood when you experienced parental disapproval or abuse. It may have come into your life as a result of sexual experimentation in your teens or young adulthood. It may have followed a marriage that ended or a relationship in which you carried secrets. It may be that you have taken responsibility for someone else’s shame and made it your own.”

The faith community you participate in needs your help in creating a place of joy and grace. To do this, you must learn to recognize and heal the shame of your own upbringing, to recognize shame in the behavior of other leaders and clergy around you, to reduce shame-reinforcing theology, and to provide alternative messages of hope and healing.”

Ten well-written chapters address the subject:

  1. Where Shame Begins
  2. Yours, Mine, and Ours: Overlapping Dynamics of Shame
  3. We’re All Different: Creating Shame-less Congregational Cultures
  4. The Shame-Blame Game: Recognizing Shame’s Opposite
  5. Comparison Shame: Closing the Gaps with Acceptance and Respect
  6. Perfection Shame: Quieting Our Inner Critic
  7. Chronic Illness Shame: Community Is the Cure
  8. Naked and Ashamed: Reducing Individual Sexual Shame
  9. Sexual Shame in Congregations: Old Habits and New Opportunities
  10. Grace Yourself: Practical Ways to Overcome Shame
**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

In Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations, author Karen McClintock invites readers to become shame-less, so they can assist others in a congregational system to find a life of joy and grace.

McClintock explores shame as a theological and psychological emotion, defining it as “a feeling of unworthiness in the sight of God or significant others.” While guilt says, “I made a mistake,” shame says,“I am a mistake,” she explains.

With skilled storytelling and gentle humor, McClintock takes readers on a journey in which we learn to recognize the many forms shame takes and explore and heal the shame of our own upbringing, particularly the shame-laden messages within our own religious teachings and practices. She illustrates the ways shame-laden leaders interact with congregations and ways congregational shame influences clergy and laity within the system. She shows us how to recognize shame in the behavior of other leaders and clergy around us, to reduce shame-reinforcing theology, and to provide alternative messages of hope and healing. She also guides us in liberating others from their shame, be they friends, colleagues, or people in a congregation where we worship and serve.

McClintock advises readers that eradicating shame may take a few weeks, months, years, or a lifetime. This book is not written so that we can be free of all shame. It is written so we can become shame-less by acknowledging old patterns and consciously changing them, because shame-less leaders create shame-less congregations.

About the Author

Karen A. McClintock is a clergy consultant and psychologist specializing in shame recovery. She is a national lecturer and workshop leader on sexuality issues in the church and teaches in the psychology department at Southern Oregon University. Her previous books include Preventing Sexual Abuse in Congregations, and Sexual Shame: An Urgent Call to Healing. She co-authored Healthy Disclosure along with Dr. Kibbie Ruth. More information is available at: healthycongregation.com


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Tuesday
Oct232012

Morris and Olsen, Discerning God's Will Together

Morris-Danny-Discerning-Gods-Will-Together200.jpg Amazon.com

Danny E. Morris and Charles M. Olsen, Discerning God’s Will Together: A Spiritual Practice for the Church. Revised and Updated. Alban Institute, 2012.

Related volumes:

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a revision of the 1995 work, Transforming Church Boards Into Communities of Spiritual Leaders. The spirit of the original volume is maintained, but several of its unique pieces deserve mention here.

First is Four Practices of Worshipful-Work, now called Discernment-Work.

1. History giving and story telling - Each congregation has a “thick history” and present reality of stories of God’s leading, provision, and grace, and boards need to rehearse these stories. They establish a kind of “sacred space” from which boards engage their responsibilities. Sharing stories helps to clarify and generate vision and enables discernment. Some stories should emerge “from the edge” to challenge complacency or misunderstanding.

2. Biblical-theological reflection - Olsen calls this “distilling wisdom” by understanding and employing biblical, theological and church traditions or values in order to inform current ministry.

3. Prayerful discernment - This is to perceive what God has already decided and have the courage to pursue it. The spiritual ethos of a church board requires a process that integrates elements of rationale decision-making, with the prayer-filled activity of biblically-informed reflection. It requires the church board to relinquish personal and corporate ego and be willing to take hold of the direction God is giving. This involves being selective in the number of issues to be discerned, beginning with corporate and private self-surrender (indifference such that each person only desires God’s direction), gathering information from many sources, including scripture, agree on what the corporate prayer is in relation to the matter, and seeking consensus by clarifying what is good about each option until board members perceive what is “the weightier good.” He describes five stages in the discernment process: rational stage (data gathering); communication stage (enabling all to understand); guiding principle stage (what is the issue); analytical stage (focus on options that only relate to the guiding principle); intuitive stage (coming to consensus). (95-96)

4. Futuristic visioning - Olsen insists “vision is connected to history and stories” (biblical and otherwise), “vision is connected to biblical-theological reflection” (a prophetic sense of what God is about), and “vision is connected to discernment” (discernment sees things as they are in the present; vision has eyes for the future). (104-106) He says it is critical that vision is only implemented when it “is worn or embodied by the vision holder.” (107)

One of the most enduring features of the first edition was Olsen’s “Ways to Pray in a Board Meeting,” which is excerpted in an article on the Alban Institute website, and adapted here:

Frame the agenda with prayer - Focus on the image of God and openness to the Spirit’s leading.

Glean for Prayer - Assign individuals to identify items throughout the meeting as the subject of prayer in four areas: thanksgiving, intercession, petitions and praise.

Offer Prayers of Confession - Confession includes weariness, frustration, confusion, elation, boredom and fulfillment as well as sins and errors. Naming “how things really are” and “what is left undone” is healthy for leaders, but be certain there is a safe place to work through the issues.

Sing Prayers - Assign each member to bring one verse of a hymn that captures the most appropriate prayer for the congregation at this time. Sing the hymns throughout the meeting.

“Time Out” for Prayer - After 20 minutes of divisive discussion, the egos take over. Take three to five minutes of silence for personal refocusing and prayer. Ask members to consider how they may be closing themselves off from information, what image of God is needed then, and how they can be present and act as servant leaders.

Rotate Prayer - Assign each person a 15-minute segment of the meeting during which they should pray silently for each person present and for the group’s work.

Draw upon Model Prayers in Scripture - Use the Psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus’ prayer for his friends in John 17, Paul’s prayer of thanksgiving (Philippians 1:3-11) or his prayer for the church (Ephesians 3:14-21) or Jesus’ invitation to agree on what to pray for (Matthew 18:19-20).

Acknowledge Subliminal Prayer - Prayer may be ceaseless and just below the conscious level, even during active work or deliberation.

Remember: Meetings Are Worship - Resistance to infusing meetings with prayer comes from the idea that worship belongs in the sanctuary and prayer belongs to worship. An inspirational moment in a meeting does wonders in loosening the strings of resistance.

It also offered Ten Spiritual Discernment Movements intended to provide a better way to make decisions and do church business.

  1. Framing the question to which we seek God’s answer.
  2. Grounding the search by listing the key values or principles which will guide our search.
  3. Rooting the search in the Biblical story.
  4. Shedding our personal desires and prejudices toward or against a particular outcome.
  5. Listening to the voices of all those who may be affected.
  6. Exploring all the available possibilities.
  7. Improving three possibilities that seem to have the most merit.
  8. Weighing those after they have been improved.
  9. Closing on the option that seems to be the one toward which God is pointing us.
  10. Resting with that choice to see whether it brings feelings of consolation or desolation.

The first edition is credited with introducing discernment among mainline Protestant denominations, even in establishing a new vocabulary with words like indifference, self-death, listening hearts, exploring, improving, weighing, resting, consolation, desolation, etc.

This revised edition integrates Olsen’s background in Roman Catholic Ignatian and Benedictine practices and Morris’s experience with Quakers, but through the filters of their own Presbyterian and Methodist traditions. Since the first volume, the authors have had experience both practiting and training others in discernment, and have discovered some of the more common difficulties leaders experience in this work. These include struggles in integrating discernment with parliamentary procedure, impatience with a prayerful process, “assurance” of God’s will that actually results in practical failures. This has led to a deeper humility about the discernment process, and a realization that the path toward indifference, “not my will but thine be done,” is often corrupted by personal preference, cultural conditioning, and logical consistency with the past. As the authors say in a promotional article.

Somehow God is not going to let us rest with the assurance that we have some kind of iron-clad formula for discerning decisions. That is not always the way the Spirit works. The mystery remains and infiltrates all of our best human efforts.

This leads to an acknowlegement that all dynamics inherent in the deliberating processes for churches and religious organizations, as well as all the pathways, are indeed limited. They survey several of these factors - reasoned discourse, attempting to obey God’s will, individual discerment, decision making, ascetic spiritual sight, procedures and rules, consensus gathering, any single way of leading meetings such as parliamentary procedure or Robert’s Rules, and definitely business-as-usual - and conclude that all are necessarily impaired. 

Add to these the hard-to-admit resistance we have to knowing and doing God’s will, which is borne out in the authors experience with churches.

They fear that if God’s will is done, it will result in hardship, that God’s will has cutting edges and unhappy results. They fear that God’s will may be the worst thing that could happen. Many people fear that God may require them to do almost impossible tasks. If a person asks God to reveal the divine will, he or she may have to quit his or her job, become a missionary, or sell the boat. An uneasy feeling lingers in the church.Don’t get too close to God. God will only make life difficult.

But they beckon us to consider:

  • How different would your life be in you had frequently and earnestly asked the question, “God, what is your will?”
  • What would your church be like if at every important juncture, you and other members of your faith community had consciously asked, “God, what is your will?”

The book is divided into five chapters:

  1. Discernment: What? - Defines discernment as that which gets to the essence of the matter, encouraging a larger perspective of problems in the context of God’s kingdom vision, and a commitment to work together and act decisively.
  2. Discernment: Why? - Upholds the importance of desiring to participate in God’s activity, seek God’s guidance, and listen for his call, especially in distinguish between God’s voice and the other voices that beckon us. “Likethe gold miner, we test for real gold.”
  3. Discernment: Who? - While discernment “engages the person in the depths of his or her soul and therefore in a profound relationship with the Spirit of God,” it also “involves the person in the community of faith and brings the community to decisions that order its life and ministry.”
  4. Discernment: How? - Given the ancient Christian traditions of discernment, we do not need to reinvent the wheel, but we must recognize our vulnerabilty to the way the world makes decisions, and refrain from mechanical “ten-step” processes that presume our capability of fathoming the mind of God such that we always achieve desired outcomes.
  5. Discernment: Where? - Discernment requires the interplay of personal solitude, small group, and large, deliberative assemblies.

Publisher’s Description

Bible study, research, and fieldwork merge in this book of practical principles for decision making by spiritual discernment. The step-by-step approach can be used to help any size group learn a new way to make decisions—a way that is interactive, spiritual, and rooted in faith practices and community. Small groups, committees, church boards, church leaders at all levels, and seminary professors will find this book valuable.

This is a revised and updated version of the book, originally published in 1997. This new version inclused revised and updated material, as well as a new introduction by Charles Olsen.

About the Author

Danny E. Morris was a pastor in Florida for 22 years, was the director of developing ministries for Upper Room Ministries for 25 years, and developed The Upper Room Academy for Spiritual Formation and the Five-Day Academy. He is the author of sixteen books, including Yearning to Know God’s Will.

Charles M. Olsen has 22 years of pastoral experience in the Presbyterian Church USA and was the founder of Worshipful-Work: Center for Transforming Religious Leadership. His book, Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders, was selected as one of the top ten religious books in 1997 by the Academy of Parish Clergy.


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Tuesday
Oct232012

Beaumont, Inside the Large Congregation

Beaumont-Susan-Inside-the-Large-Congregation Amazon.com

Susan Beaumont, Inside the Large Congregation, Alban Institute, 2011.

Referenced in: Church Size Dynamics

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is an insightful text based on the author’s research and consultations on the major systems at work in large congregations, and how each functions and changes for a church to be effective in its size, and to successfully navigate the transition zones in moving from one congregational orientiation to another.  Note that the first “large” church she discusses is the “Professional Church” or “emerging large church” that ranges from 400-800 in attendance, so it applies to more churches than a reader might suspect. It differs from other books of this genre (e.g. McIntosh, Next Level) in that while it “explores organizational and leadership dynamics that may prevent health and growth from happening…it does not advocate for numerical growth or predict when growth will happen.” She adds, “This book does not assume that large is better than mid-sized or small; it does assume that the large church functions dramatically differently from the megachurch, mid-sized, or small congregation.” It is a valuable tool in understanding the dynamics of large congregations.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

For five years, Alban Institute senior consultant Susan Beaumont has been giving voice to the organizational and leadership demands of large congregations. Through her work, she has identified five basic leadership systems that need to stay in alignment for the large church to function well for its size:

  1. Clergy leadership roles
  2. Staff team design and function
  3. Governance and board function
  4. Acculturation and the role of laity
  5. Forming and executing strategy

She has also learned that these five systems operate with some important but subtle distinctions in what Beaumont calls the professional church (400-800 in worship attendance), the strategic church (800-1,200), and the matrix church (1,200-2,000). Often, she has discovered, problems in a large congregation are related to the fact that one or more of the five systems is inappropriately structured for the size of the congregation. In other words, the church isn’t acting its size.

Beaumont is invested in helping large congregations “rightsize” their leadership systems to better serve their ministry context. This book articulates why size matters and how it matters in the world of large congregations. It is written for anyone who wants to better understand the leadership and organizational dynamics of the large church—anyone seeking to understand the challenges of leading from inside the large congregation.

About the Author

Susan Beaumont is a Senior Consultant with the Alban Institute. Susan’s practice specializes in the unique leadership dynamics of large congregations, particularly in the areas of staff team and board development, strategic planning, pastoral transition, and size transition. She is the coauthor of When Moses Meets Aaron: Staffing and Supervision in the Large Congregation. Her blog can be found at www.insidethelargecongregation.com. Susan is an ordained clergy leader in the American Baptist Churches, USA.


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Saturday
Oct202012

Covey, The 3rd Alternative, Solving Life's Most Difficult Problems

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Stephen R. Covey, The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems. Free Press, 2012.

Companion Volumes: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit

Referenced in: Conflict Resolution and Management

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is an excellent motivation and guide to two of the habits discussed in Covey’s best-seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People:

  • Habit 4: Think win/win – Approach relationships and other commitments with the belief that you can satisfy both yours and others legitimate interests. This way everyone wins.
  • Habit 6: Synergize – In the relational climate created by win/win and seek-first-to-understand, value and synthesize the unique contributions each person makes to achieve a whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

This volume focuses on conflict, and distinguishes between a 2-Alternative way of looking at conflicts (My Way vs. Your Way), and suggests disputants strive toward a 3rd Alternative. This means more than mere collaboration, where disputants find common ground toward achieving a win-win. It also bests compromise, which often leaves parties with unhappy concessions and half-hearted commitment to the solutions. The 3rd Alternative means clearly identifying both oneself and the other in more human, less stereotyped terms. From there, parties follow a four-step path to synergy, achieving a solution that is better than any could have conceived alone. Technically, this is collaboration, but with the plus of providing a way for conflicted people not only see the issues through each other’s eyes, but also to see each other in much more redemptive terms.

This is perhaps the best and most current guide to collaborative conflict resolution and problem-solving.

For a more complete summary, click here for the Kindle version and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

From the multimillion-copy bestselling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People—hailed as the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century—The 3rd Alternative turns Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s formidable insight to a powerful new way to resolve professional and personal difficulties and create solutions to great challenges in organizations and society.

There are many methods of “conflict resolution,” but most involve compromise, a low-level accommodation that stops the fight without breaking through to amazing new results. The 3rd Alternative introduces a breakthrough approach to conflict resolution and creative problem solving, transcending traditional solutions to conflict by forging a path toward a third option, a 3rd Alternative that moves beyond your way or my way to a higher and better way—one that allows both parties to emerge from debate or even heated conflict in a far better place than either had envisioned. With the 3rd Alternative, nobody has to give up anything, and everyone wins.

About the Author

Recognized as one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, Stephen R. Covey has dedicated his life to demonstrating how every person can truly control their destiny with profound, yet straightforward guidance. As an internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author, his advice has given insight to millions. He has sold over 20 million books sold (in 38 languages), and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century. His most recent major book, The 8th Habit , has sold nearly 400,000 copies. He holds an MBA from Harvard, and doctorate degree from Brigham Young University. He is the co-founder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, the leading global professional services firm with offices in 123 countries. He lives with his wife and family in Utah.


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Saturday
Oct202012

Covey and Link, Smart Trust

Covey-Stephen-Smart-Trust200.jpg Amazon.com

Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link, Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a Low-Trust World. Free Press, 2012.

Prequel: Covey, The Speed of Trust

Referenced in: Empowering Leadership

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This builds on Covey’s earlier work, The Speed of Trust, with narratives of many leaders who have used high-trust relationships toward significant achievement, along with five actionable strategies for trust-building:

  1. Smart Trust Action 1: Choose to Believe in Trust
  2. Smart Trust Action 2: Start with Self
  3. Smart Trust Action 3: Declar Your Intent…And Assume Positive Intent in Others
  4. Smart Trust Action 4: Do What You Say You’re Going to Do
  5. Smart Trust Action 5: Lead Out in Extending Trust to Others
**For a free summary, click here for the Kindle Version, and download the sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

After illustrating the global relevance of trust with his book The Speed of Trust by selling more than one million copies in twenty-two languages, Stephen M. R. Covey again illuminates the hidden power of trust to change lives and impact organizations in Smart Trust. In a compelling and readable style, he and long-time business partner Greg Link share enlightening principles and anecdotes of people and organizations that are not only achieving unprecedented prosperity from high-trust relationships and cultures but—even more inspiring—also attaining elevated levels of energy and joy.

The sustainable success these leaders and enterprises are exhibiting is paradoxically being produced in what has proved to be the lowest trust climate in years, if not decades. Smart Trust shows what they are doing and the five actions they are commonly taking to prosper, against the odds, in the same circumstances causing so many others to fail.

With penetrating insights illuminated by their unique access to many of the world’s most successful leaders and organizations, the authors lay out a breakthrough process and skill set in a practical and actionable formula that makes trust a performance multiplier for leaders, teams, organizations, and even countries. They show why trust is fast becoming the most consequential life and leadership skill of our time—a career-critical competency required to navigate and compete in this perilous twenty-first-century interdependent, global economy. Covey and Link teach how to cut through traditional either/or thinking to extend “Smart Trust,” enabling you to exercise sound judgment in a low-trust world by minimizing risk and maximizing possibilities.

Smart Trust has met the strict scrutiny of business leaders around the globe and is validated by research from multiple sources that confirms that high-trust organizations outperform low-trust organizations by nearly three times. Smart Trust shares findings that verify how enduring success, vitality, and happiness are directly related to the level of trust in our relationships—whether in our professional or personal lives.

Find out why trusted people are more likely to get hired or promoted, get the best projects and bigger budgets, and are last to be laid off. This sea-changing book will forever shift your perspective as it reveals and validates, once and for all, the transformational power of trust. Reading Smart Trust will increase your probability of thriving in this increasingly unpredictable marketplace. The more unpredictable it becomes, the more your (and your organization’s) sound judgment and ability to trust in this low-trust world will give you a tremendous competitive advantage—and the capacity to navigate the uncertainty low trust creates.

About the Author

Stephen M. R. Covey is cofounder and CEO of CoveyLink Worldwide. A sought-after and compelling keynote speaker, author, and advisor on trust, leadership, ethics, and high performance, Covey speaks to audiences around the world. A Harvard MBA, he is the former CEO of Covey Leadership Center, which under his stewardship became the largest leadership development company in the world. Covey resides with his wife and children in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains.

Greg Link is co-founder of CoveyLink, FranklinCovey’s Global Speed of Trust Practice, and the former Covey Leadership Center. A trusted executive confidant, advisor, and compelling speaker, Link is a recognized authority on trust, leadership, sales, marketing, and high performance. He led the strategy that propelled Covey’s father’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to one of the two most influential business books of the twentieth century.

Rebecca A. Merrill has served in numerous leadership positions in community, education, and women’s organizations. Coauthor of Connections: Quadrant II Time Management, she also assisted Stephen R. Covey on The 7 Habits Highly Effective People.


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Saturday
Oct202012

McKeown, The Synergist, Lead Your Team to Predictable Success

McKeown-Les-Synergist200.jpg Amazon.com

Les McKeown, The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success. Palgrave Macmillian, 2012.

Referenced in: Ministry Staff and Leadership Teams

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

McKeown shows how most teams lack a crucial ingredient that keeps them locked in perpetual gridlock among three common types - visionaries, operators, and processors. This gridlock can be reversed through the work of a synergist who knits them together into a powerful force. This is a hepful resource for enhancing Church Leader Teams.

The publisher’s summary below describes the book well. For a more complete summary, go to the Kindle edition and download the free sample.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Why do so many teams fail to perform - achieving compromise at best and gridlock at worst? And what does it take to end this gridlock? Wall Street Journal bestselling author and speaker Les McKeown shows how to take any team from gridlock to world class success. In his new book, McKeown argues that every successful team includes a critical player, the Synergist, who can take the three exisiting types:

  • The bold dreamers (Visionaries)
  • The pragmatic realists (Operators)
  • The systems designers (Processors)

- and knit them together into a dynamic, well-rounded team. Most importantly, according to McKeown, the Synergist is a role that anyone can learn.

While most attempts at teamwork improvement deal only with the symptoms of group dysfunction such as distrust, poor communication, and fear of change, McKeown address the root cause: the innately unstable Visionary-Operator-Processor triangle. Because each of the three styles’ motivations, views, and goals are incompatible, without a Synergist every team will eventually implode, stall, or underperform. Only the Synergist can put aside their own agenda and interpret the language of difficult personalities, capture the best from each person, and put the good of the enterprise ahead of their own ego.

McKeown- who has used techniques presented here in his consulting with Harvard University, American Express Financial Services, the US Army, Pella Corporation, Microsoft, United Technologies Corporation, and more- shows how any individual can fill this critical role, whether or not they’re the formal leader of the group. With thought-provoking self-assesments and an extensive Synergist Toolkit, he teaches how anyone can learn to be an effective Synergist by recognizing the vital signs of inneffective teamwork and making the right interventions at these pivotall moments.

About the Author

Les McKeown is the president and CEO of Predictable Success, a consulting firm with clients that include T-Mobile, Microsoft, The US Army, Harvard University, Bose, British Aerospace and many more. McKeown’s previous book, Predictable Success, hit the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-seller lists in 2010. McKeown is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and has appeared on CNN, ABC, BBC, Inc, Entrepreneur magazine, USA Today and The New York Times. Les speaks to businesses around the country helping management achieve a systematic approach to success.


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Tuesday
Oct162012

Pier, Consequential Leadership

Consequential-Leadership Amazon.com

Mac Pier, Consequential Leadership: 15 Leaders Fighting for Our Cities, Our Poor, Our Youth and Our Culture. IVP Books, 2012.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

Mac Pier laments the fact that we are “in the worst fix since the Depression and the two World Wars.” And the issue is not fundamentally economic, but moral. He says,

This crisis of legitimacy is unlikely to be solved by business or politics-as-usual. It is not a problem that is amenable to money or power. What we need is a moral renaissance rooted in the intersection of faith and action-action that grows out of character, commitment and values.

He finds hope in the lives and ministries of 15 contemporary leaders whose lives are “consequential.” These people believed they could make a difference, and set out to do so. He describes each in a biography, and extracts a key principle embodied by each.

Tim Keller
Key idea: Grace
Key learning and how this translated into his life: Do with your life what will have the most impact. Founding a grace-centered, gospel-centric church-planting movement in New York City was a world-changing choice.
Personal success principle: Understand the compelling message of God’s grace and how it can attract anyone, even in the hardest places.

Luis Palau
Key idea: Festival!
Key learning and how this translated into his life: Bold faith challenges not only individuals and churches but also nations and continents.
Personal success principle: Be an evangelist who proclaims the gospel fearlessly and creatively.

A. R. Barnard
Key idea: Culture
Key learning and how this translated into his life: Understand how Christianity transcends and influences culture.
Personal success principle: Encourage people to live out their God-given calling in the context of culture.

Glenn Smith
Key idea: Shalom
Key learning and how this translated into his life: God desires to bring shalom (peace) to our cities through well-trained and networked urban leaders.
Personal success principle: Strong personal foundations - healthy families, enduring friendships, deep spirituality - are essential for peaceful communities.

Richard Stearns
Key idea: Rescue
Key learning and how this translated into his life: Surrender your skills and training to rescue those closest to God’s heart - the widow and the orphan.
Personal success principle: Be willing to “bet the farm” on God.

Ajith Fernando
Key idea: Suffering
Key learning and how this translated into his life: To identify with the poor through suffering is a way of incarnating the gospel.
Personal success principle: Be willing to cross religious, ethnic, racial and socioeconomic boundaries to reach people.

Frances Hesselbein
Key idea: Sacrifice
Key learning and how this translated into her life: To serve is to live.
Personal success principle: Open doors for emerging leaders and provide new opportunities.

W. Wilson Goode, Sr.
Key idea: Equality
Key learning and how this translated into his life: Understand the grim reality of imprisonment in America and its consequences. Discover that one courageous leader can achieve greater results than anyone predicts.
Personal success principle: Have a vision that is informed by faith. Be determined. Work hard. Be available. Demonstrate humility.

George Gallup, Jr.
Key idea: Belonging
Key learning and how this translated into his life: Belonging comes before believing. Good research serves as a “siren” to society.
Personal success principle: Use good research as the basis for important personal and policy decisions.

Brenda Salter McNeil
Key idea: Reconciliation
Key learning and how this translated into her life: Nothing this side of heaven is like being radically loved by someone racially different. Globalization is happening at a breathtaking pace. We need leaders with the agility to foster reconciliation between diverse communities.
Personal success principle: Be a bridge by building contemporary partnerships with people from diverse cultures.

Alan and Katherine Barnhart
Key idea: Obedience
Key learning and how this translated into their lives: Surrender your resources to God while you are young. Make lifestyle decisions that allow you to be generous.
Personal success principle: Live simply. Be generous. Invest your resources in places where God is at work.

Bob Doll
Key idea: Strategy
Key learning and how this translated into his life: Becoming a credible witness by being the best in your industry.
Personal success principle: Leverage your influence through strategic partnerships and strategic philanthropy.

Jim Mellado and Steve Bell
Key idea: Team
Key learning and how this translated into their lives: The mutual submission of a team can unleash power capable of changing the world.
Personal success principle: Gather smart leaders who have mutual respect for one another and work for a larger global good.

Pier hopes the lives of these 15 will inspire others to make a difference in their own circles of influence.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Are we living in challenging times? Yes. But people can and do make a difference.

Here are the stories of fifteen entrepreneurial leaders doing just that. Drawn from church, business, government and non-profit sectors, these world-class visionaries and activists offer examples that motivate and principles to imitate.

Their stories show that mature networks of leaders and organizations can offer opportunities to a new generation of young people, change communities ravaged by HIV/AIDS, reach new groups of people with the message of hope—and more.

If you see a need and want to contribute your own consequential leadership, this book is for you.

About the Author

Mac Pier is president and founder of the New York City Leadership Center and has hosted a half dozen urban consultations for 10,000 leaders since 1995. He is the author of The Power of a City at Prayer.


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Tuesday
Oct162012

Allen and Ross, Intergenerational Christian Formation

Intergenerational-Christian-Formation Amazon.com

Holly Catterton Allen and Christine Lawton Ross, Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship. IVP Academic, 2012.

Referenced in: Generational Issues in Churches

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

I have always respected Holly Allen’s ministry. Here, she teams with Christine Lawton Ross to produce a  comprehensive defense of and guide to intergenerational ministry. The book opens with a quote from James Frazier:

The best way to be formed in Christ is to sit among the elders, listen to their stories, break bread with them, and drink from the same cup, observing how these ealier generations of saints ran the race, fought the fight, and survived in grace. (Across the Generations: Incorporating All Ages in Ministry)

This is truly intergenerational, which was the norm for much of Christian history, but now is increasingly rare except in the smallest of congregations. It can occur, however, in larger congregations, as in the case of one that began in 1980 as a mission plant in a retirement community, and has grown to more than 1,000 worshippers of all ages who work closely together in every aspect of ministry.

This congregation exemplifies intergenerationality, which is different from the popular multigenerational emphasis, which may not include intentional cross-age experiences, but uses generation theory to understand how to serve each generation within one congregation through ministry with each age group. This is helpful, but with a negative effect that the generations may “act like ships in the night that pass by one another but rarely have meaningful contact and interaction.” (19, from Menconi, Intergenerational Church) The same problem is reflected in many churches that describe themselves as transgenerational.

Intentional intergenerational ministry is different, as revealed in these definitions:

Intergenerational ministry occurs when a congregaton intentionally brings the generations together in mutual serving, sharing or learning within the core activities of the church in order to live out being the body of Christ to each other and the greater community. (17)

Intergenerational religious experience is when “two or more different age groups of peple in a religious community together learning/growing/living in faith through in-common experiences, parallel learning, contributivve-occasions, and interactive sharing.” (20, from White and Harkness)

Intentional intergenerational strategies are those in which an integral part of the process of faith communities encourages interpersonal interactions across generational boundaries, and in which a sense of mutuality and equality is encouraged between participants. (20, from Harkness)

To advocate and equip for this ministry, the authors divide the book into four parts:

Part One: Generational Realities - This states the main premise. It describes the current tendency to separate generations and argues for intergenerationality in terms of “intergenerational faith formation.”

Part Two: Biblical, Theological and Theoretical Foundations - This is the heart of the book. It shows how scripture, developmental theory, social learning theory, and ecological systems theory converge to uphold intergenerationality as a means for Christian formation in community.

Part Three: Social Science Foundations - Summarizes research from sociology of religion (e.g. Christian Smith), gerontology, and generational theory supporting intergenerational approaches to learning and growing.

Part Four: Ingenerational Christian Formation Practices - Gives practical insight on how to initiate and sustain an intergenerational congregational culture. Describes “dozens of ways to bring the generations together.”

The practical appendices include “Forty Intergenerational Ideas,” “Intergenerational Ministry Resources,”and “Biblical Passages that Reflect an Intergenerational Outlook.”

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

“One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4

Most churches and faith communities segment their ministries by age and generation. The kids go to children’s church, the teens go to youth group. Worship services are geared toward different generational preferences, and small groups gather people at the same life stage, whether singles, young marrieds, parents or empty nesters. In some congregations, people may never interact with those of other ages.

But it was not always so. Throughout biblical tradition and the majority of history, communities of faith included people of all ages together in corporate worship, education and ministry. The church was not just multigenerational; it was intergenerational, with the whole church together as one family and people of all ages learning from one another in common life.

In this comprehensive text, Holly Allen and Christine Ross offer a complete framework for intentional intergenerational Christian formation. They provide the theoretical foundations for intergenerationality, showing how learning and spiritual formation are better accomplished through intergenerational contexts. It is not just elders teaching youth; learning also takes place when adults discover fresh insights from children. Then the authors give concrete guidance for intergenerational praxis on how worship, learning, community and service can all be achieved intergenerationally. Case studies of intergenerational congregations provide models for how a culture of intergenerationality can be created in local churches.

This volume serves as an essential guide for all preparing for and involved in congregational ministry and formation. Discover the riches of intergenerational ministry, and let all generations commend the works of God to one another.

About the Author

Holly Catterton Allen (Ph.D., Talbot School of Theology) is professor of Christian ministries and director of the child and family studies program at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. She currently holds the J. Vernon McGee endowed Chair at JBU. She teaches undergraduate courses such as critical concerns with children, nurturing spiritual development in children, and ministry with families across the lifespan. She received the faculty of the year award at JBU in Spring 2009.

Dr. Allen’s areas of scholarly interest are children’s spirituality and intergenerational issues. Her most recent book (with Christine Ross) is Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship (InterVarsity Press, 2012). Her first book, Nurturing Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives and Best Practices (Cascade), an edited volume, was released in 2008. She is member of the Society for Children’s Spirituality that convenes the triennial Children’s Spirituality Conference: Christian Perspectives at Concordia University near Chicago. She is also a recent board member of the North American Professors of Christian Education (NAPCE). She has published articles in Christian Education Journal, Lutheran Education, and Lifelong Faith, along with chapters in several books.

Dr. Allen is married to Dr. Leonard Allen and they have three adult children as well as four grandchildren.

Christine Lawton Ross (Ph.D., St. Louis University) is professor of Christian education and director of the Christian education program at Concordia University in Irvine, California. She has worked in congregational ministry and has taught in intergenerational, multicultural and overseas contexts. She is also the author of several Bible studies and Sunday school curriculum resources.


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Tuesday
Oct162012

Schaller and Bird, Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller

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Lyle E. Schaller and Warren Bird, Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller: The Elder Statesman of Church Leadership. Abingdon Press, 2012.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a distillation of best insights from a man known as the “Dean of Church Consultants,” who is believed to have consulted with over 6,000 churches. I often tell my students that if they ignore Lyle Schaller, they do so to their peril. Here, Warren Bird surveys 60 of Schaller’s 96 books and gleans from scores of contemporary church leaders who share what they have learned from him. If you have ever wanted a compendium of what Schaller says on a given topic, this book presents it, and points you where to go in his writings for more information.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One discusses the life of Lyle Schaller, including what influenced him, what he has written, and what Schaller believes are the biggest issues that will shape the future of the church in America.  Part two takes a long list of topics, offering quotes from Schaller on each subject, along with stories from leaders who were impacted by his insight in that area. Subjects include:

First year of pastorate

Following a long-term pastor

Most important staffing mistakes to avoid

Best way to introduce change in a church

Most important thing a church planter can do

Building on the strengths of a small-attendance church, medium-sized church, large church, or very large church

Expanding the teaching ministry of the church

Developing new funding sources for mission

Land mines to avoid in a merger

How churches learn to see themselves more accurately

Why innovation is important in a church

Most important strategies for change

The challenges of turning a church’s plateau in attendance

Creating dissatisfaction with the status quo

The importance of developing allies and how

How leaders can improve their decision-making process

The biggest issue when a church thinks about relocating

Whether a church should become multisite

The leadership style that is best for a congregation

Why small groups are so vital for a congregation

How to get more people to volunteer

When it’s time to resign

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

One poll declared him the most influential American church leader of the last 100 years. Lyle E. Schaller has written literally millions of words of insight and advice for church leaders. His books alone number nearly 60 titles and span 40 years of publication, beginning in 1964.

Now, this single volume makes available his best insights, organized by topic and framed with fascinating background perspective of Schaller himself. This volume both introduces Schaller to a new generation of church leaders and is a handy resource for those who grew up on Schaller’s writing and count him as a major ministry influence.

About the Author

Lyle E. Schaller is the country’s leading interpreter of congregational systems and their vitality. He is the author of dozens of books, including From Geography to Affinity, also published by Abingdon Press. He lives in Naperville, Illinois.

Warren Bird (www.warrenbird.com) credits Lyle Schaller’s speaking and books as a major influence in his development. Warren is one of the nation’s leading researchers of church leaders, focusing on high-impact congregations recognized for their health, evangelism and leadership development. He is the director of research for Leadership Network, a non-profit that provides peer groups and resources for innovative church leaders. An award-winning writer, Warren has collaboratively authored 24 books and more than 200 magazine articles or online reports, all on subjects related to church health. An ordained minister, he has been a church planter and staff pastor. He graduated from Wheaton College and Graduate School (B.A., M.A.), Alliance Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Fordham University (Ph.D.) in sociology of religion, and has served as an adjunct professor at Alliance Theological Seminary since 1995. He and his wife Michelle live in metro New York City. They have two grown children.


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Tuesday
Sep182012

Heath, Switch, How to Change When Change is Hard

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Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Crown Business, 2010.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This book is gold for troubleshooting why change is not working and how to get change efforts on track. It is designed for those who want to create change but have very little leverage (e.g. positional authority) to accomplish it, e.g. church leaders. Tons of examples describe 1) The situation, 2) What’s the switch and what’s holding it back? 3) How do we make the switch? This process is expressed in a simple three-part rubric. The summary below lays out the three parts and the steps under each, using quotes directly from the text.

1. Direct the Rider

Reality: What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.
Prescription: Provide crystal-clear direction. This usually involves the following.

  • Find the Bright Spots - Investigate what’s working and clone it. To pursue bright spots is to ask the question “What’s working, and how can we do more of it?” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, in the real world, this obvious question is almost never asked. Instead, the question we ask is more problem focused: “What’s broken, and how do we fix it?”
  • Script the Critical Moves - Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviors. Bottom line: Decision paralysis disrupts medical decisions and retail decisions and investment decisions and dating decisions. Let’s go out on a limb and suggest that it might affect decisions in your job and life, too.  We all hear a lot of “common sense” wisdom about change: People don’t like to change; people resist change; people are set in their ways; people are stubborn. But here we’ve seen something else entirely: railroads made profitable, towns reborn, diets changed, and child abusers reformed. Clarity dissolves resistance.  Prescribe specific behavior that is within their control.
  • Point to the Destination - Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it. Spell out specifically how life will be different and better.

2. Motivate the Elephant.

Reality: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion. The Rider can’t get his way by force for very long.
Prescription: Engage people’s emotional side — get their Elephants on the path and cooperative. This usually involves the following.

  1. Find the Feeling - Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something. Focus on positive emotions that will instill hope, optimism, and excitement.
  2. Shrink the Change - Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant. Make people feel as though they’re already closer to the finish line than they might have thought. Think of small wins along the way, milestones that are within reach.
  3. Grow Your People - Cultivate a sense of identity and instill the growth mindset. In the identity model of decision making, we ask ourselves three questions when we have a decision to make: Who am I? What kind of situation is this? What would someone like me do in this situation? Because identities are central to the way people make decisions, any change effort that violates someone’s identity is likely doomed to failure. So the question is this: How can you make your change a matter of identity rather than a matter of consequences?

3. Shape the Path.

Reality: What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.
Prescription: Change the Situation. Heath calls the situation (including the surrounding environment) the “Path.” When you shape the Path, you make change more likely, no matter what’s happening with the Rider and Elephant. This usually involves the following.

  1. Tweak the Envionment - When the situation changes, the behavior changes. So change the situation. Simply make the journey easier. Create a steep downhill slope and give them a push. Remove some friction from the trail. Scatter around lots of signs to tell them they’re getting close.
  2. Build the Habits - When behavior is habitual, it’s “free”— it doesn’t tax the Rider. Look for ways to encourage habits.
  3. Rally the Herd - Behavior is contagious. Help it spread.

There is also a Book Website that provides a one-page overview of the book and a series of podcasts that apply Switch to business, marketing, social sector, and personal change.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

  • The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.
  • The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.
  • The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

About the Author

CHIP HEATH is the Thrive Foundation for Youth Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. DAN HEATH is a consultant to the Aspen Institute. Together, they are the authors of the national bestseller Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. They write a regular column in Fast Company magazine, and have appeared on Today, NPR’s Morning Edition, MSNBC, CNBC, and have been featured in Time, People and US News and World Report.


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Tuesday
Sep182012

Pegues, Confronting Without Offending

Pegues-Confronting-Without-Offending073692149M4 Amazon.com

Deborah Smith Pegues, Confronting Without Offending: Positive and Practical Steps to Resolving Conflict. Harvest House Publishers, 2009.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a practical guide to confrontation, laced with biblical principle. The book is divided into four parts.

Part 1, Confrontation: The Bridge to Harmony, discusses the goal of confrontation and the biblical teaching on dealing with issues before they get out of hand. The author says, “Every offense has the potential to cause a permanent breach in a relationship.” That’s why there is confrontation, which she defines as simply “the act of coming together face-to-face to resolve an issue.” She shows “how to use face-to-face confrontation to build a bridge between conflict and cooperation, between disharmony and harmony.”

Part 2, Biblical Confrontation and Conflict Management, is a great application conflict styles, each of them described in the author’s way, but certainly in keeping with standard conflict styles theory. Each of the conflict styles has a separate chapter:

  • The Dictator: “Do It My Way” (Same as Competing and/or Compelling style)
  • The Accommodator: “Have It Your Way”
  • The Abdicator: “I’ll Run Away” (Same as Avoiding style)
  • The Collaborator: “Let’s Find a Way”

She discusses how each is appropriate, depending on the situation, and offers hhelpful biblical insight into when and how to activate each style for the best outcome.

Part 3, Strategies for an Effective Confrontation, provides a six-step confrontation process, with a chapter devoted to each step.

Step 1: Preparing for the Encounter
Step 2: Owning the Problem
Step 3: Speaking the Right Words
Step 4: Listening
Step 5: Negotiating Future Behavior
Step 6: Releasing the Offender

Part 4, Confrontation and Personality Temperament, shows how the P.A.C.E. Personality Profile (similar to DISC Personality Test) helps one understand the strengths and weaknesses of their natural behavioral orientation in the work of confrontation.

  • Passenger (Equivalent to “S” in DISC)
  • Attendant (Equivalent to “I” in DISC)
  • Captain (Equivalent to “D” in DISC)
  • Engineer (Equivalent to “C” in DISC)

While there are more technical volumes on this subject, Pegues is excellent for those needing a quick, popularly-written guide to this important aspect of the ministry of reconcilation.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Where there are people, there are disagreements and misunderstandings. The author of 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue (more than 500,000 copies sold), a popular speaker, and a relationship strategist, Deborah Smith Pegues draws on biblical principles, personal experience, and research to show how to approach difficult situations so relationships are strengthened rather than broken.

Meeting face-to-face to resolve an issue is difficult, but Pegues makes it easier by revealing how to avoid complications, sharing examples of good communication, and offering specific steps for dealing with conflicts. Readers will discover:

  • effective and compassionate techniques for handling conflict
  • practical strategies for resolving conflict
  • how personality types influence discussions
  • suggestions for minimizing defensiveness
  • ideas for developing and promoting cooperation

Confronting Without Offending gives readers the tools to successfully talk over and resolve issues and misunderstandings at home, at work, and in social situations.

About the Author

Deborah Smith Pegues is an astute businesswoman, certified public accountant, Bible teacher, Certified Behavioral Consultant, and international speaker. Her inspiring teaching on walking in “Supreme” confidence financially, relationally, and emotionally has brought healing to people around the world. She has authored 14 books, including the bestselling 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue (over 600,000 sold) and Emergency Prayers. She and her husband, Darnell, have been married more than 33 years.


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Monday
Sep172012

Brinton, The Welcoming Congregation

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Henry G. Brinton, The Welcoming Congregation: Roots and Fruits of Christian Hospitality. Westminster John Knox Press, 2012.

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This volume shares the results of the author’s study of churches that are reputably hospitable, both in the U.S. and abroad: Iona Community in Scotland, Saddleback Church in California, Reconciliation Parish in Germany (built in the old “death strip” that divided East and West Germany), and the Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC. The book is structured so that ministry or leadership teams considering how to make their churches more welcoming may follow the content, discussion questions, action plans, and preaching suggestions.

Brinton’s orientation is mainline Proteestant, identifying theologically and practically with what he calls the “moderate religious middle.” Some, like me, will not agree with the integration of hospitality with “inclusion,” which is more sociologically based. For example, he praises Saddleback Church for their successes on hospitality, but also criticizes their conservative stance on LGBT issues. However, the book is full of creative, practical suggestions for anyone interested in the subject, all from a very warm, pastoral spirit.

Brinton’s biblical basis is Isaiah 56:7, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” He uses these and other passages, as well as lessons from church history, to make a case for becoming non-homogenous communities that witness Christ’s hospitality to a divided culture. He shows how the Mosaic teachings are designed to help Israel welcome strangers, drawing on their solidarity with the marginalized from their experience in Egypt. Jesus continues this hosptitable spirit in his embrace of the downtrodden. While these passages uphold God’s vision and the call to follow Jesus in radical discipleship, he realizes, on a practical level, breaking these boundaries is easier said than done.

“Most of us have a natural fear of strangers, and we are reminded every day of the political, racial, cultural, sexual, and economic distinctions that so often divide us. We know that we are most comfortable with people who look and act like ourselves, and that it is easiest to build community among groups of like minded-individuals.”

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

This practical book by pastor and writer Henry G. Brinton studies the biblical basis for Christian hospitality and how it is practiced in congregations today. While recognizing the challenges for embracing all people in the life of the church, Brinton offers a helpful guide for creating a hospitable congregation and welcoming others through spiritual formation, reconciliation, and outreach. He includes discussion questions and an action plan in each chapter.

Because church members often have the aspiration to receive strangers but not the skills or techniques, I offer this book as a user-friendly and useful guide to Christian hospitality. It tells stories of inclusion, contains examples of the best practices of truly welcoming congregations from across the country and overseas, and offers suggestions about hospitable practices that can be used by churches across the social and theological spectrum. I offer this guide to laypersons, clergy, and other religious professionals because I am a parish pastor who believes that hospitality is the key to becoming an uncommon Christian community-one that embraces all people with God’s love and grace.” - From the introduction

About the Author

Henry G. Brinton is Senior Pastor of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia. He is a regular contributor to USA Today and the Washington Post, as well as the author of several books, including Balancing Acts: Obligation, Liberation, and Contemporary Christian Conflicts.


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Friday
Sep072012

Sider, Just Politics: A Guide to Christian Engagement

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Ronald J. Sider, Just Politics: A Guide to Christian Engagement. Brazos Press, 2012.

Prequel: Sider, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience

Referenced in:

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a revised version of The Scandal of Evangelical Politics, which was published in 2008 with the hope of equipping socially sensitive Christians for better decisions in the 2008 election. Here, Sider attempts the same for the 2012 election. I have categorized it under Social Ministry Foundations, since that is Sider’s main concern, rather than in Politics and Church-State.

Sider speaks directly to Christians regarding the opportunity to influence public policy toward social justice and moral renewal. He offers a philosophy of political policy-making, ethical discernment, and ministry intervention on a variety of issues:

  • The State: Its Nature, Purpose, and Limits
  • Justice
  • Human Rights, Democracy, and Capitalism
  • The Sanctity of Human Life
  • Marriage and Family
  • Religious Freedom, Church, and State
  • Peacemaking, Just War, and Nonviolence
  • Creation Care
  • Nation-States and International Affairs

He strongly supports democracy and capitalism, but warns against the tendency of materialism to blind Christians to their own greed and desensitize their concern for the “least of these.” It is clear from both the level of scholarship and the reasonable tone of the book that Sider intends to be as balanced and nonpartisan as his convictions will allow.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Evangelicals today probably have more political influence in the United States than at any time in the last century—but they might not be certain what to do with it. It has been difficult to develop a unified voice on pressing issues such as social justice and moral renewal.

Bestselling author and theologian Ron Sider offers a biblically grounded, factually rooted, Christian approach to politics that cuts across ideological divides. Shaped by a careful study of society, this book will guide readers into more thoughtful and effective political activity.

Practical, balanced, and nonpartisan, this book will be a welcome resource during the 2012 presidential race. It is a revised version of what was previously published as The Scandal of Evangelical Politics and includes a new introduction and revisions throughout.

Endorsements

“Ron Sider once again proves that he is one of our country’s most important public theologians. Tackling the most pertinent debates of the day, Just Politics offers a blueprint for how evangelicals can be politically active in a biblically coherent, spiritually mature, and publicly reflective way. Any Christian who is looking to be challenged in what it means to be faithful and politically engaged should read this book!”—Jim Wallis, president and CEO, Sojourners; author, On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good

“Ron Sider, the founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, sets forth in this book ways in which Christians can work for justice with the political systems of our day. Drawing on his extensive scholarly research and his lifetime of activism, he provides a scenario that can assist Christians who want to responsibly implement biblical principles in the decisions of government. Those who want to know how to make informed statements in response to the crucial issues of these perilous times will find this book an invaluable guide. Ron Sider writes with clarity and conviction. This book deserves praise!”—Tony Campolo, Eastern University

“Ron Sider builds on years of experience and conversations with Christians across a very wide spectrum. His balance is better than that of most who want to influence politics for the better. And biblical faith is the solid platform on which he builds and balances. Listen to Ron carefully before taking your next step. Just Politics: that’s what we need.”—James W. Skillen, former president, Center for Public Justice

About the Author

Ronald J. Sider (PhD, Yale University) is president of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.


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Thursday
Sep062012

Easum and Tenny-Brittian, Effective Staffing for Vital Churches

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Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian, Effective Staffing for Vital Churches: The Essential Guide to Keeping the Right People. Baker Academic, 2012.

Referenced in: Ministry Staff and Leadership Teams

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a very prescriptive process for staff development designed for missional effectiveness. The authors’ starting point is that more than anything else, how a church staffs determines how many people a church can reach for Christ.  Although money is tight, having the right staff is critical for churches to address the changing mission field. This is in spite of the fact that there is a shortage of leaders.

Easum and Tenny-Brittian say that “today, the primary focus of an effective staff is the mobilization and empowerment of the entire congregation for the purpose of transforming the surrounding community and the world.” Staff, therefore, must be built for missional expansion, with each staff person overseeing a piece of that mission. This involves a shift from “paid staff who direct volunteers in carrying out programs to paid servants who equip unpaid servants to carry out most of the pastoral responsibilities.” (22)

The authors offer a standardized four-fold process for staff building. It is not based on programming, but on functions, and is thus adaptable to churches of varioius sizes. They outline four core mission processes, and four key staff functions to facilitate mission.

Core Mission Process: Bring people to Christ and into the kingdom
Staff Key Leader Function: Invite through networking, servant evangelism, cultural liaison, and marketing

Core Mission Process: Retain them
Staff Key Leader Function: Connect through worship, follow-up, hospitality, friend-making, and follow-up

Core Mission Process: Disciple them
Staff Key Leader Function: Apprentice through mentoring, small groups, encouragement, and leadership development

Core Mission Process: Send them back out into society
Staff Key Leader Function: Send through gifts and passion, connection, training, and congregation outreach

The authors lay out very specific and practical role descriptions, best practices, and action plans for each Core Mission Process and each Staff Key Leader. They provide tailored instructions for traditional, indigenous, and multi-site churches, with insight on how to do this in any size church.

The Lead Pastor’s function is to lead each of the staff members as they fulfill each core mission process. To help the Lead Pastor, they describe the fundamental shifts necessary overall and Four Transition Points based primarily on size: up to 150, from 200-500, from 500-1000, and from 1,000 and above. For each transition point, they describe the main difficulties, the required changes in skillset, values, and time management, and early signs of failure to progress through the transition.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Well-staffed churches grow. But how do churches staff for growth in these rapidly changing times when budgets are tight, mission opportunities abound, and there is a growing shortage of qualified pastors, staff members, and church leaders? Two veteran pastors and church growth consultants offer workable solutions that focus on the four core processes vital to church health and growth: bringing people to Christ and the church, retaining them, discipling them, and sending them back out into the world. They also show pastors how to navigate the leadership transitions they must make to become increasingly effective as the church grows. Pastors will learn how to be leaders who multiply leaders and develop a mission-minded staff that does the same. Foreward by Ed Stetzer.

Endorsements

“I read everything Bill Easum writes. Bill writes from reality, not theory, and he understands the local church as well as anyone I know. This book is a winner.”—Rick Warren, pastor, Saddleback Church; author, The Purpose Driven Life

“Effective Staffing for Vital Churches is a tremendous help for church leaders as they strategically think through staffing in order to accomplish the mission of Jesus. Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian provide us a practical tool that keeps the mission of the church at the forefront of the staffing process. This book provides the research and experience that give leaders confidence to meet the staffing challenges necessary for an effective church. And who doesn’t want to lead a more effective church? I do!”—Dave Ferguson, lead pastor, Community Christian Church; spiritual entrepreneur, NewThing

“Easum and Tenny-Brittian have given the church a much-needed and timely resource with their book Effective Staffing for Vital Churches. It is a practical, step-by-step guide on how to make wise staffing decisions, for the smallest family-size congregation all the way to the megachurch and the multi-site church. I read this book straight through in one day. It helped me to clearly understand many of the poor staff decisions I made in the past, and warned me about some I was considering for the future. I am going to get copies of Effective Staffing for Vital Churches for everyone on our staff!”—John Franklin Howard, senior pastor, Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, Greensboro, North Carolina

“Bill Easum is a longtime friend of mine, and his new book with Bill Tenny-Brittian shares the key principle of effective staffing. You have to grow as a leader and grow a team as you seek to grow a church. This book provides practical, proven ways to do it.”—Dave Travis, managing director, Leadership Network

“Very few people are as equipped to tackle the subject of staffing an effective church as Bill Easum. His vast experience in the field of ministry leadership equips him well. Don’t hire anyone until else you read Bill’s all-in-one manual. It establishes the right rationale as well as getting down to the details. Stop poor staffing decisions and become an expert by reading Effective Staffing for Vital Churches.”— Brandon Cox, pastor, church planter; editor, Pastors.com

“Every pastor in America knows that we haven’t been taught the skills we need and that leadership is the key to effectiveness. Bill and Bill offer practical and proven steps to address the unique issues for leadership in the twenty-first-century Church. Effective Staffing for Vital Churches refreshingly provides new wine in new wineskins by taking the biblical mandate that leaders equip others for ministry and then plainly showing you how that can become a reality in your context.” Scott Musselman, senior pastor, Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Jefferson City, Missouri

“In typical style, Easum and Tenny-Brittian waste no time and cut to the chase. Effective Staffing for Vital Churches is packed with practical advice, applications, and examples. It squarely confronts the ‘management mentality’ (which prays, ‘Use me O Lord, especially in an advisory capacity’) while offering truly effective leadership management practices. I am especially drawn to the way readers are helped to avoid passive dependence on staff while undergirding the staff’s role of mentoring and transforming people into effective leaders. I commend this book to every church leader who feels called to shift a staff from an ethos of merely ‘taking care of people’ to an ethos of ‘transforming people,’ to every church leader who wants to move from ‘being the saint’ to ‘equipping the saints.’”—Dick Hamm, senior consultant, The Columbia Partnership; author, Recreating the Church

“A rare combination of theological integrity and real-world practicality that pays equal attention to the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the challenges of wise church staffing. The two Bills have delivered the goods in a practical, readable work that pays refreshing attention to scripture and the theological nature of the church in the process. Whether the church staff is a cast of thousands or simply your own unsanctified face in the morning mirror, this book is for you. Laity and clergy alike will profit from the healthy biblical perspective and practical guidance on the creation of a team, a staff, and an empowered laity to nurture a church that grows in the right ways and for the right reasons.”—Bob Phillips, directing pastor, First United Methodist Church, Peoria, Illinois

“In Effective Staffing for Vital Churches, Easum and Tenny-Brittian deeply emphasize that hiring the right staff is not only important for growing churches—it’s critical! This book is a must-read for any church leader who is trying to help his or her church fulfill the Great Commission!”—Bil Cornelius, founding pastor, Bay Area Fellowship; coauthor of Go Big: Leading Your Church to Explosive Growth

“I have been reading through Effective Staffing for Vital Churches. The book is absolutely right on; thank you. I finally feel like I have some clarity for my position as lead pastor and some handles on how to begin to go to the next level. This in itself is invaluable information. Thank you. Thank you, thank you.”—Marty Shea, Village View Church

“I love this. It had me at ‘every church is missional or it isn’t a church!’ The book articulates fresh new insights for church leaders in a post-church-growth culture. Yes, the game has changed! I have been influenced by your work for more than two decades and will continue to be so.” —Mike Slaughter, Ginghamsburg Church

“Effective Staffing for Vital Churches is a priceless gift for any church that would like to move to the next level of influence in the community where they are called to serve. Easum and Tenny-Brittian shine penetrating new light on the critical importance of building a new type of church staff that would bring more people into the church, help retain them, disciple them, and then send them back out into the world to serve in Jesus’s name. This book will also serve to establish a new paradigm for effective churches, where they will be asked to put most of their efforts and resources into ministry and missional efforts that replicate themselves. This book is a must-read for pastors, staff, and lay leaders who are committed to living out the Great Commission!”—Dr. G. Steven Sallee, lead pastor, Cokesbury United Methodist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee

About the Author

Bill Easum has served for the past 25 years as a consultant to congregations and denominations through his firm, 21st Century Strategies, Inc. He is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books and has personally worked to grow more than 700 congregations.

Bill Tenny-Brittian is a partner in 21st Century Strategies, Inc., and is the managing editor and publisher of Net Results, North America’s most experienced church growth and evangelism magazine. He is the author or coauthor of seven books.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

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Tuesday
Sep042012

Jacobsen, The Space Between

Jacobsen-the-Space-Between Amazon.com

Eric O. Jacobsen, The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. Baker Academic, 2012.

Related volume: Jacobsen, Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism

Referenced in: Urban Ministry

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is a substantive resource, providing a theological and philosophical grounding for ministry in the urban environment.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

The entire material world can be divided between the Natural Environment and the Built Environment. Over the past forty years, the Natural Environment has received the greater share of attention of the two, but that is beginning to change. With a renewed interest in “place” within various academic disciplines and the practical issues of rising fuel costs and scarcity of land, the Built Environment has emerged as a coherent and engaging subject for academic and popular consideration.

While there is a growing body of work on the Built Environment, very little of it approaches the Built Environment from a distinctly Christian perspective. This major new work by Eric Jacobsen, author of the well-received Sidewalks in the Kingdom, represents a comprehensive and grounded approach. Jacobsen develops a framework for understanding the Built Environment and addresses timely and controversial topics such as gentrification, urban sprawl, and energy consumption. Employing tools from the field of theology and culture, he demonstrates how looking at the Built Environment through a theological lens provides a unique perspective on questions of beauty, justice, and human flourishing.

The Space Between is embellished with plentiful photographs, illustrations, charts, and exercises and will be of interest to students in cultural hermeneutics, theology and culture, urban ministry, or New Urbanism/Built Environment courses at the college and seminary level. Pastors, missionaries, church planters, and Christian professionals will also find it of interest.

About the Author

Eric O. Jacobsen (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington. He is the author of Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith and numerous articles exploring connections between the Christian community, the church, and traditional neighborhoods. He is also the coeditor of Traditions in Leadership and The Three Tasks of Leadership.


Buy this book at Amazon.com US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain


***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***

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Related Areas

See Other Resource Guides on Christian Social Ministry:

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