One of the tasks that no leader can delegate is to make sure he or she continues learning, continues growing spiritually and professionally. That’s why Leadership created The Golden Canon, the year’s books of most value to church leaders. The winners were selected by a diverse group, our contributing editors, who selected the best in two categories: The Leader’s Inner Life and The Leader’s Outer Life. We commend this list to you as you continue to develop your leadership, inside and out.
The Leader’s Inner life
Best of the Best:
Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
by Eric Metaxas (Thomas Nelson)
“Like all good Christian biography ought to, this book breathes new life into you as you encounter a powerful example of a life given over to Christ.”—David Swanson
Our very short list:
Giving Church Another Chance
Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices
by Todd D. Hunter (IVP)
“No matter how messy it can be, the church is central in God’s ongoing mission to the world. We work out our salvation in the context of the church. The spiritual practices of the community of faith are essential to our formation.”—Mike Lueken
by Dave Harvey (Crossway)
“I’m grateful for this book that helps us gain a healthy and biblical understanding of how ambition can and cannot fit in a godly life.”—Kathryn Callahan-Howell
Whole Life Transformation
Becoming the Change Your Church Needs
by Keith Meyer (IVP)
“Like the author, I suffered my own ‘transformation gap,’ that chasm between what we know and teach and what we actually live. Most ministers—and Christians—have one too. This is a great guide to identify your gaps and start closing them.”—Matt Woodley
The Power of a Whisper
Hearing God and Having the Guts to Respond by Bill Hybels (Zondervan)
“How dare anyone claim to have heard from God? How dare we not when God speaks through Scripture, events, people, and the Holy Spirit? Hybels helps us listen, discern, and hear fresh the power of a Whisper.”—Charles Kyker
The Leader’s Outer life
Best of the Best:
Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page by Larry Osborne (Zondervan)
“Sharing from his mistakes and his wisdom, Larry Osborne offers a helpful tool for creating a culture of both leadership and unity.”—Paul Atwater
our very short list:
Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship
by Alan Hirsch and Debra Hirsch (Baker)
“Alan and Debra Hirsch are prophets to a church imprisoned by domesticated, consumer values. Untamed is a vision of life with Jesus that goes beyond what other authors have covered.”—Skye Jethani
The Strategically Small Church
Intimate, Nimble, Authentic, and Effective
by Brandon O’Brien (Bethany House)
“As pastor of a small church, this was very apropos and gave me clear direction on how to leverage our strengths.”—Lee Eclov
Creating a New Scorecard for Congregations
by Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer (B&H Books)
“Based on research, the book offers some good indicators and clues for missionality.” —Alan Hirsch
Top recent releases:
Jesus Calls, We Follow
by Scot McKnight (Zondervan)
The Next Christians
The Good News about
the End of Christian America
by Gabe Lyons (Doubleday Religion)
Excellent article by a guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog.
The Leader as Lifelong LearnerWidely considered to be one of America’s greatest business philosophers, Jim Rohn, the late Dallas businessman and dynamic public speaker, is well known for his commitment to lifelong personal development. During his talks on the subject, he is fond of pointing out that every house that costs over $500,000 (adjusted for inflation) has a room in it called a library.Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/urbancow
“Why do you suppose that is?” Rohn challenges his audience. “Doesn’t that make you curious? How come every house over $500,000 has got a library? Does that tell you something? Does that educate you at all?”
There is no doubt that Rohn is right; successful people do read more. Leaders, in particular, seem to read more than almost anyone else. After all, curiosity is often cited as a common characteristic of great leaders. Lincoln was famous for reading both the Bible and Shakespeare; Franklin Roosevelt loved Kipling. “Every great leader I’ve ever met has been a great reader,” says Rohn.
For most of us, books were where it all began.
The latest from Thinking Faith…
On scandal and scandals
Recent headlines about clerical sexual abuse in the have focused largely on the way in which the Church has handled claims of abuse and on the postulated link between abuse and mandatory celibacy for . Psychologist Brendan Callaghan SJ looks closely at these aspects of a tragic situation, asking how the Church has arrived at a place of such suffering, betrayal and anger.
VISION & DIRECTION
Good to Great to Godly
Corporate wisdom means “getting the right people on the bus,” but spiritual leadership requires something more.
“We need more structure in our decision making. Without that discipline, we’ll never accomplish anything.”
“We’re a church, not a business. We need to rely on God. We can’t operate like the corporate world.”
Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers wrote an insightful post onWhat the Bible Says About Leadership and Delegation. This is a worthwhile reading and have important principles to follow.
- Admit that working non-stop is unsustainable.
- Understand your unique calling.
- Select qualified leaders to assist you.
- Give these leaders responsibility and authority.
- Only do those things which others cannot do.
I‘ve added a new word to my vocabulary: missionalism. In fact I may have coined the word. All I know is that my spell-checker never heard of it before.
Missionalism defined: the belief that the worth of one’s life is determined by the achievement of a grand objective. Key word: worth.
I don’t know how long the word missional has been in use. I only began to hear it in the last few years as in “we’re a missional church.” Is missional really that different from being purpose-driven? I like both terms, but I know lots of churches (including ones I pastored) that were acting missional and purpose-driven long before the two words became popular. I remember thinking one day that missional sounds a bit Catholic, and purpose-driven sounds more Evangelical Protestant.
But missionalism is something else. It’s a leader’s disease. Like a common cold that begins with a small cough, missionalism catches on in a leader’s life and seems at first so inconsequential. But let this disease catch hold and you are likely to have bodies strewn all over the place, the leader’s and some of the leader’s followers.
and then he highlights the lure of missionalism
Missionalism—the passionate need to keep things growing and growing so that one proves his/her worth—can catch hold from various sources. For some of us, it came early in life when we discovered that we got a lot of love when we went forward to dedicate our lives to Christian service.
We were awash with the call to a kind of heroism. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times, “The world has yet to see what God can do through a person totally committed to Jesus Christ.” It was an inspiring statement, and it conjured dreams of whole nations converted to Christ through preaching. How many times I knelt at altars and begged God for a fervency, an overcoming of the power of the Holy Spirit, a sense of abandonment that would make me willing to take up the cross to follow him. I wanted to be that one person.
From Christianity Today online
Gordon MacDonald’s articles and books are insightful and are always worth the reading. I like this article where he applies principles from Jim Collins’ book How the Mighty Fall to church leadership.
Soon after I finished my theological education, I was asked to become pastor of a congregation in Southern Illinois. This was my first great awakening to the realities of pastoral leadership, and it was an uncomfortable experience.
The skills (or gifts) that led the congregation to invite me to be their spiritual leader were probably my enthusiasm, my preaching, and my apparent ability, even as a young man, to reach out to people and make them feel cared for.
The position description called for me to report to a board of deacons who, while well-intentioned, were not highly experienced in organizational leadership. It also said that I was responsible to lead a staff that consisted of a secretary, a Christian education assistant, two day-school teachers, a part-time choir director, and a janitor.
What it didn’t say was that the congregation was seriously divided and disillusioned due to an acrimonious split in which the previous pastor had persuaded a hundred people to join him in leaving the church to form a new one down the road.
from Learnings@Leadership Network,
Warren Bird, Ph.D., is Research Director at Leadership Network, and co-author of 21 books on various aspects of church health and innovation writes
Participants at this week’s Leadership Network-sponsored Ideation Experience began their 48 hours together by developing a “top 10” list of top kingdom ideas over the last decade. The original poll to help determine the list of nominees can be found here.
The winning ideas were . . .
• Externally focused churches as key idea for evangelical churches
• Shifting opinions on social issues in the 18-35 year old demographic that are shaping the emphases of the church
• Multi-site churches
• The rise of networks as the key focus for church planting and resourcing in other ways
• Open source content freely given away for church resources via computer
• The rise of church websites/pastor blogs/podcasts and videocasts as church communication tools
• Social networking tools (facebook/twitter/myspace/custom tools) being utilized by churches and parachurch groups
• Bringing management and leadership focus into church in a fresh way
• Greater awareness by U.S. megachurches and others to international missions and humanitarian efforts around the world
• From “marketplace to ministry” as strong source of staff members of churches. Emphasis on “homegrown”
• Deeper penetration and shifts in small group models (life groups, cells, etc.) into a broad variety of churches
What is a “crucial juncture”? A wolf on the horizon (some significant event with potential negative consequences for the church) that causes the pastor to flee. It can be a conflict or a challenge to his leadership. It could be corporate anxiety caused by a drop in giving, decreased attendance, a move, or a building program.
An interesting article by Ruth Haley Barton on discernment in decision making in churches and as part of spiritual leadership.
Can You Hear God Now?
Your most important leadership role: discerning and obeying God’s voice. Together.
by Ruth Haley Barton
What is it that distinguishes spiritual leadership from other kinds of leadership?
At the heart of spiritual leadership is discernment—the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and activity of God both personally and in community.
The Israelite journey is really a story of ongoing discernment—learning to recognize the presence of God and then following that Presence wherever it went. For Moses as their leader, this involved entering into God’s presence regularly, asking God what he should do, and then leading the people in that way. Moses’ ability to trust God and listen and respond obediently to his instructions was so crucial to the Israelites’ survival that the one time he failed to follow God’s instruction fully, there were grave consequences (Num. 20:10-13).
Unlike Moses, we don’t get to talk with God face to face. We must listen deeply.
It is no wonder that when Moses recapped the Israelite journey, he emphasized how important discernment had been to the whole operation. He reminded the people of the time God told them to choose leaders to serve as judges under Moses and that the heart of their spiritual leadership was the ability to be wise and discerning (Deut. 1:13). Later he spoke about wisdom and discernment as defining characteristics that distinguished them from other nations.