My October Reading

The L Factor by Ian Jagelman. I heard him teach this and thought it was genius then. Reading it just reminded how important understanding this stuff really is. His basic premise ‘ministry builds people but leadership builds people’.

Worth a read for the 5 levels of leadership, the process of helping people progress along the leadership journey. It has certainly encouraged me to think more strategically. If the structure is right, then growth can occur because people are not only being released into ministry but they are also being developed as leaders too.

Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono. Didn’t know what to expect from this book. I had heard about it and was intrigued about this new approach to facilitating meetings. It seems so simple. Can it really make such a significant impact as described in the book?

The premise of parallel thinking as opposed to the more argumentative model that happens in meetings is easy to understand. The aim of focusing everyone on the same type of thinking means you don’t jump around, it’s not a battle ground, it’s less about who shouts the loudest. Plus everyone gets a chance to speak and offer thoughts. Creativity can increase. Problems can still be raised. Decisions can be reached faster, which means a better, more efficient use of time too. Looking forward to trying it out. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. Was keen to read this book after reading Primal and I wasn’t disappointed. The to be on a wild goose chase speaks of not really knowing where you are going and that is a great picture of living life being led by the spirit.

My life is not one of great adventure. I don’t feel that I have done any great feats yet. Reading the book certainly challenged me to become more determined to live life being on a wild goose chase. To allow God to take me where He needs to go. To let go of my plans and trust God more. To be willing to let go of an old identity in order to take on a new one. Makes me wonder where I might end up and what I’ll look like when I get there.

Building a Strategic Church by David Beer. I am naturally a thinker. I am more introvert, analytical and prone to planning. I don’t mind systems and processes. Due to this, I really enjoyed this book.

David Beer brings all his experience as a local church pastor in the UK to the table and shares a whole bunch of ideas that can help any leader to think more strategically. Loved the statement – ‘The church that doesn’t care who gets the credit, as long as people are ministered to in the name of Christ, is the strategic church and the church that God uses.’

The Empowered Church by Ian Jagelman. Leadership v Ministry is always an intriguing balancing act. Often the things that we enjoy doing as Pastors are more ministry based, the tougher stuff is more the leadership aspect. Both are important but one builds people, the other builds the church.

This made the whole issue of building the right kind of leadership team a higher priority. Ian Jagelman talks how the leadership team must be equally committed to a common task, goal and working approach. That each person must not be heard saying ‘this does not relate to me.’ If this is the case then you just have a working group, not a team. That’s a challenge when many are prioritising their own area of ministry but then that’s not the only thing you are looking for.

I would happily recommend all these books. Get your copies here.

Reading the Bible

I have just finished reading through the Bible in 6 months, something which I have done for the last 5 or 6 years. It was a discipline I put in place because I wasn’t reading my Bible enough, if at all, although I was devouring other books easily.

Now I look forward to the start of the New Year and commencing to read through again. I have been asked if I have a plan – not particularly. I just start in Genesis and read through, aiming to complete around 7 Chapters each day. Some days I read more, other days I read less and do you know what – some years it’s taken until September to complete the read through, it’s not a ‘must-do’ thing but a desire.

Why read the Bible through?
Not to prove my worth.
Not to tick a box either.

I read it to get to know more about my God. The closer I get to Him, the more I want to read. The more I read, the closer I get to Him, the more I learn about how God views life, the more I learn about how God wants me to live my life.

I do study. I like to dig into the scripture too. I ‘bookmark’ verses (especially easy with the Bible on my phone now) and during the 2nd half of the year I will journey through some of them and dig a little deeper into them. I may even preach out of some of them. I definitely want to learn more, discover more, get some revelation.

It’s great to read how other Pastors view this too. Mark Batterson is reading the Bible through the year. Here are some thoughts he recently shared. What are your thoughts? I commented that some may view this as ‘religious’, especially the J I Packer quote which I put on my twitter – his reply is great and makes the point so much better than I can…

If it comes across as legalistic I think it can be a turn-off. So I totally understand the reaction. But it might be because it’s convicting too…

I definitely subscribe to something Oswald Chambers said: “Let God be as original with others as he was with you.” So I don’t like prescribing things like “you have to read through the entire Bible” in a year. But the truth is this: will that lead to growth. Absolutely. So the more you want to grow the more you’ll read. I don’t think you can get around that.


Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing…Day 26

I think it was Stephen Covey who articulated this. It is such a truth that I think I am now getting a real grasp of. Problem is that it’s a really easy statement to make but a really hard one to keep. So many things do battle for my time and attention, it can be difficult to stay strong on the main thing.

Yesterday I posted about how seeking God is great but that the rewards come by working wholeheartedly. That’s when we prosper.

Then I read the post by Mark Batterson – read it here. This part in particular resonates strongly with me…what we need to do is refocus on doing the rights things: meditate on God’s word, pray through, obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, genuinely love people. And when you do the right things, everything takes care of itself. This is exactly where I am at right now. I am so excited about what God is doing, would love to see more people at Xcel Darlington and can easily get caught up in the numbers game but just know that if we keep doing the right things God will honour that and we will prosper.

If I was becoming obsessed with numbers it was only because my heart is to reach people, make an impact in Darlington and see lives transformed as they discover the reality of living life the way God created it to be lived. Listen to me – making excuses.

I recognise that I must keep praying, meditating, believing God as well as the strategy, the study and the thinking side of Church. You cannot do one without the other but as Bill Hybels says…when leadership and discipleship collide (the process of growing people under Gods grace) always err on the side of what’s needed for discipleship.

We plant, we water…but God brings the increase. Bring it on. This Sunday is going to be incredible Xcel Darlington.

Vision Stops The Sin!

From Mark Battersons blog a really good thought on how important vision can be. From his new book which releases soon.

I think vision is the cure for sin. One reason many of us get entangled in sin is because we don’t have enough God-ordained vision to keep us busy. The more vision you have, the less you will sin. And the less vision you have, the more you will sin. It is a vision that keeps us playing offense spiritually.

Too often we try to stop sinning by not sinning. That is what psychologists call a double bind. It’s sort of like saying, “Be spontaneous.” You can’t be spontaneous now that I’ve told you to be! The way to stop sinning is not by focusing on not sinning. The way to stop sinning is by getting a God-sized vision that consumes all your time and energy.

[What do you reckon to that?]

Great Blogging Tips

I am still learning the art of great blogging and trying to discover my voice and what I should be sharing hear about leadership and life, so these points from Mark Batterson are so helpful

1. Stay Positive

2. Include Hyperlinks

3. Keep it Short and Sweet

4. Don’t let commentors hijack your blog

5. Tell Your Wife About It Before You Blog About It

6. If You Wouldn’t Say it to Their Face Don’t Blog It

7. Know Your Audience

8. Be Yourself

9. Find Your Rhythm

10. Stay Positive

To read the full post go to Mark’s own blog here