Archives For pastor

ImagePastoral/ministry leadership is one of the most complex types of leadership there is. It combines personal holiness (hopefully), with theological wisdom, and the ability to guide a team toward defined goals. During my time in leadership with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA and now as a senior leader at First Presbyterian Church, I have repeatedly come back to these books to help me to develop as a leader:

  1. Leading Change – If change isn’t happening then you’re not leading; you’re managing. John Kotter’s book provides an excellent overview of the change process and how to move through it. [buy here]
  2. The Advantage – I’ve read this book twice as well as outlined it in the front leaf. Patrick Lencioni shows how organizational (congregational) health trumps everything else. He also provides a road map toward better health. [buy here]
  3. Good to Great  – Jim Collins shows why some companies are able to make while others continually struggle and eventully fail. This is helpful in terms of identifying limiting patterns in the life of a congregation and/or its leadership. [buy here]
  4. The Power of Full Engagement – As a leader as much can be gained by managing your energy as by managing your time. Tony Schwartz provides helpful strategies for managing your energy level so that you always have sufficient focus to deal with the strategic decisions and projects that are central to your work. [buy here]
  5. The Generals –  This masterpiece traces American military leadership from World War II to the present. By profiling key military leaders Thomas Ricks teaches timeless lessons about what good leadership looks like. [buy here]

Resource: If you prefer to read these titles electronically and don’t have a Kindle, make sure you download the Kindle App for your iPhone, iPad, or Android devices for free. You can download it here.

in a large church there is always something either going on or about to go on. As a result every day there are lots of conversations to be had about church-related stuff. Add to this the challenge of making sure that all of the events, initiatives, and meetings on the church calendar are effectively communicated across the congregation and you understand why each day can be sort of hectic.

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A decade ago (2004) the attention span of most adults stood at about 12 minutes and since then has been halved. So, the question comes: what impact should this have on preaching?

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There are some also who investigate spiritual precepts with cunning care, but what they penetrate with their understanding they trample on in their lives: all at once they teach the things which not by practice but by study they have learnt; and what in words they preach by their manners they impugn.


Whence it comes to pass that when the shepherd walks through steep places, the flock follows to the precipice. Hence it is that the Lord through the prophet complains of the contemptible knowledge of shepherds, saying, When ye yourselves had drunk most pure water, ye fouled the residue with your feet; and My sheep fed on that which had been trodden by your feet, and drank that which your feet had fouled (Ezek. xxxiv. 18, 19).


For indeed the shepherds drink most pure water, when with a right under- standing they imbibe the streams of truth. But to foul the same water with their feet is to corrupt the studies of holy meditation by evil living. And verily the sheep drink the water fouled by their feet, when any of those subject to them follow not the words which they hear, but only imitate the bad examples which they see. Thirsting for the things said, but perverted by the works observed, they take in mud with their draughts, as from polluted fountains.

Hence also it is written through the prophet, A snare for the downfall of my people are evil priests (Hos.v.1;ix.8). Hence again the Lord through the prophet says of the priests, They are made to be for a stumbling-block of iniquity to the house of Israel. For certainly no one does more harm in the Church than one who has the name and rank of sanctity, while he acts perversely.


Gregory, Pastoral Rule, Ch. 2

One of the highlights of last week’s Global Leadership Summit was hearing Brené Brown speak. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and a TED Talk sensation since her 2010 talk went viral (more than 8 million views). That talk is embedded at the bottom of the page. Her research has focused on the interplay between vulnerability and empathy, encouraging people to experience “whole-hearted” living.

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