Category Archives: Leadership

The Numbers Game

Who is more successful—the multi-site, megachurch pastor with a podcast and twitter followers or the pastor who ministers to 75 or perhaps 200 people?

Which prophet was more successful—Noah, who preached for 120 years and had only 8 people in his congregation (himself, his wife, his three sons and their wives) or Jonah, who reluctantly led a city-wide revival in Nineveh and then pouted because God showed grace and spared judgment?

Would Isaiah or Jeremiah be considered successful today? They were given a job description to preach to people who would never respond. They were faithful but saw no fruit.

How do you measure success? By numbers? By faithfulness? Men & women use the former while God uses the latter.

1 Corinthians 4:1–2 – This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

May I be found faithful.


Be a Hero-Maker

Having benefited from Bob Buford’s work, especially his book, Half-Time, I enjoyed reading Todd Wilson’s article, “Healthy Rhythms,” in which he reflected on the lessons he learned from Bob Buford. One of the things Bob taught and emphasized was Multiplication Thinking. It is expressed in Todd Wilson’s statement,

The first essential shift in moving from being a hero to becoming a hero maker is multiplication thinking; it causes us to think beyond ourselves and beyond our churches. Instead of thinking the best way to maximize our ministry is through our leadership, we begin to realize that the best way to maximize God’s ministry is through multiplying and developing other leaders.

Multiplication thinking and Wilson’s statement about developing leaders resonates with the apostle Paul’s statement in Ephesians 4:11-16 that pastors are not to do all the work of ministry themselves. Instead, they are to equip others to do the work of service. Click on the link to read the entire article. Become a hero-maker.

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Posted by on June 25, 2018 in Leadership, Quotes


Leading Change on a Larger Scale

Book Review: Leading Major Change in Your Ministry, by Jeff Iorg

Jeff Iorg knows a thing or two about change. He was used as

a change agent, leading major changes in four ministry settings: relocating an established church (Missouri); starting a new church and building its campus (Oregon); revisioning a convention, including constructing new facilities (Pacific Northwest); and relocating, reorganizing, and rebranding a seminary (Gateway).

From those experiences, the author developed several principles on leading change.

The first section of the book outlines foundational concepts to leading major change. The second section explains a six-fold model for leading major change. Throughout the book, the examples and illustrations are from real-life ministry challenges in both local churches and large organizations—not armchair quarterbacking. While theories about leading major change are interesting, practical insight about how to actually do it is more helpful

While the book is interesting, I had a difficult relating to his examples. His experience is on a much larger scale than my own. While the principles are true, the reader will have to work hard to translate and apply them to their own level of experience.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Posted by on June 12, 2018 in Books, Leadership, Quotes


I’m in charge!

The late Christian Herter was the Governor of Massachusetts from 1953 to 1956. He served as the United States Secretary of State from 1959 to 1961. On one occasion, the governor was seeking a second term in office and was on the campaign trail. His busy schedule had taken him through many cities with numerous stops. Throughout the day he had eaten very little and was eagerly awaiting a fundraising barbecue at a church in the evening.

When Herter finally arrived at the fundraiser, he was famished. The smell of fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy wafting through the air made him salivate. He went through the long line and anticipated a wonderful meal. The governor took his plate, silverware, and napkin and awaited the delicious food to be placed on his plate.

As he went through the line, an elderly woman placed a single piece of chicken on his plate. The hungry governor paused and asked the woman, “Ma’am, may I please have another piece of chicken? I have been on the campaign trail all day and have not had much to eat. I’m famished. Would you please give me a second piece of chicken?” The woman replied, “Nope, everyone gets one piece of chicken.” Herter was somewhat surprised and miffed at her response. In desperation and frustration the governor asked her, “Ma’am, do you know who I am? I am the governor of this state!” The elderly lady replied, “And do you know who I am? I am the lady in charge of the chicken and everyone gets one piece! Now move along!”

(NOTE: I found this in several places on the internet and referenced in several books. I don’t know the original source. I used it as an opening illustration in my sermon on 1 Peter 2:13-17)


Clarify Your Vision for Life & Ministry

Book Review: The Power of Vision: Discover and Apply God’s Plan for Your Life and Ministry (3rd Edition), by George Barna

I read the original version of George Barna’s book on vision when it was first published in 1992. It came out the same year as Aubrey Malphurs’ book, Developing a Vision for Ministry in the 21st Century: Six Steps to Building Vision. Barna gave me a better understanding of the nature of vision and what helps to define it, grow it, and even kill it. Malphurs helped me to focus that vision in relationship to church ministry. Needless to say, my life and ministry as a pastor was shaped in foundational ways by these two books.

George Barna has now released the third edition of his book. As he explains in the Introduction, since the release of the first edition, he has conducted “more than five thousand interviews with adults, teenagers, pastors, church staff, leaders in business and government, and executives of nonprofit and parachurch organizations.” The interviews led him to several conclusions, most notably that while leaders better understand vision, few know how to cast and grow vision. While we are more aware of it, we are in greater “need than ever for a clear understanding of God’s purpose for each individual church.”

In the book, Barna describes the nature of vision, the difference between vision and mission, what helps to grow and develop vision, as well as what will kill vision. The most helpful chapter in my opinion, is Chapter 6: Capturing God’s Vision, where he walks the reader through 4 steps or components that will help one better understand God’s vision for their life and ministry. The book also contains several appendices, the most notable is a study guide of all the biblical passages each chapter is based on.

While I did not necessarily find anything new in the book, it was a helpful review of the topic.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Posted by on June 1, 2018 in Books, Leadership, Scripture


The link between emotional intelligence and leadership

Book Review: Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders: How Emotional Intelligence Can Help Transform Your Ministry, by Aubrey Malphurs

Author and Professor Aubrey Malphurs has developed another tool for building a healthier church. As he has on previous occasions, the author focuses on the topic of leadership. This time he focuses on the emotional intelligence of a leader. This vital concept is often the missing link in teams that function well.

As the author points out, there is very little written on this topic, at least from a Christian perspective.

This book is seminal. At the time of this writing, I’m aware of few in the Christian leadership world who are exploring the importance of emotionally intelligent leadership to effective ministry except for an occasional doctor of ministry dissertation. Much of the work on emotional intelligence is being done by those who make no profession of the Christian faith. I’ve also found a few dissertations in the world of higher Christian education, but they’re not readily accessible. Hopefully this work will serve to inspire you and others to discover the importance of emotional resonance and to lead according.

The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 provides an overview of the topic and defines the key terms. Part 2 aims to help leaders understand emotional intelligence, including a look at the key emotions found in the Bible. Part 3 gives an overview of three widely accepted models for developing emotional intelligence and then presents the author’s model that consists of four skills necessary for Christian leaders. Part 4 includes a number of appendices designed to help implement the author’s model.

While not the easiest to read and digest, the book is thought provoking and practical.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Books, Leadership


Life Lessons from John Wooden

Book Review: Coach Wooden’s Forgotten Teams: Stories and Lessons from John Wooden’s Summer Basketball Camps, by Pat Williams with Jim Denney

Having grown up in Southern California during the heyday of UCLA basketball, I was a fan and follower of Coach John Wooden. I remember reading his biography, They Call Me Coach, when it came out in the late 1980’s. Needless to say, I looked forward to reading the latest book by Pat Williams and Jim Denney, Coach Wooden’s Forgotten Teams: Stories and Lessons from John Wooden’s Summer Basketball Camps. I had heard about the camps from Prof. Howard Hendricks, who taught at Dallas Theological Seminary and was chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL. The Cowboys held their training camp at California Lutheran College at the same time Coach Wooden held his summer basketball camps for children and teenagers.

Williams’ book highlights many of the lessons taught by Coach Wooden during these summer camps. Wooden was always coaching the kids and the counselors. Success is in the details. Be a leader who builds leaders. Teach wisdom, not winning. Empower your people. Strive for competitive greatness. At the heart of Coach Wooden’s approach was his “Pyramid of Success,” which highlighted and explained the key elements of his life and coaching philosophy.

William’s book is filled with stories and interviews from former UCLA players and coaches, as well as a number of people who attended Wooden’s camps as campers and counselors. It is a quick and interesting read. Anyone who follows college basketball or simply wants to be a better teacher or leader will find it profitable and encouraging.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Posted by on April 2, 2018 in Books, Leadership, Sports