Three (Relatively) New Leadership Books


Over at InfluenceMagazine.com, I recommend three (relatively) new books for Christian leaders:

Paul and His Team, by Ryan Lokkesmoe (Moody)
Ryan Lokkesmoe is the lead pastor of Real Hope Community Church in Houston, and has a Ph.D. in New Testament studies. In Paul and His Team: What the Early Church Can Teach Us About Leadership and Influence, he brings his pastoral and academic experiences into fruitful dialogue about what the apostle Paul teaches concerning influencing others for the sake of the gospel.

“Many leadership books address the mechanics of leadership and primarily focus on what and how questions,” Lokkesmoe writes. “This book will be more concerned with who and why questions. Who are we as influencers, and why do we lead the way we do?”

Among the leadership traits of Paul and his team that stand out most are these: (1) “Their singular focus was Christ.” (2) “They treated others as equals.” (3) “They were agents of reconciliation.”

Paul and His Team is a good reminder that “our leadership within the church should always have that distinctive tone and posture when compared to any other leadership context.”

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

 

Deveoping the Leader Within You 2.0, by John Maxwell (Thomas Nelson)
John Maxwell first published Developing the Leader within You in 1992, when he was pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego. (He has since gone on to become a New York Times bestselling author and leadership expert.) The book chronicled the lessons about leadership Maxwell had learned to that point in nearly 25 years of ministry and memorably defined leadership as “influence.”

Now, in time for its 25th anniversary, Maxwell has extensively revised this volume for a new generation of leaders.

“My goal with this book,” he writes, “is to help you understand how influence works, and use it as the starting point for learning how to lead more effectively.”

Succeeding chapters examine priorities, character, change, problem solving, attitude, a heart of service, vision, self-discipline and personal growth.

Developing the Leader within You 2.0 is an updated classic still worth reading.

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

 

The Top 10 Leadership Conversations in the Bible, by Steve Moore (NexLeader)
Steve Moore aims “to stimulate [readers’] passion to engage the Bible as a primary source for leadership insight.” To do that, Moore studied 1,090 “leadership conversations” in the Bible, focusing on three elements: “the leader, the followers, and the situation.” He then lists “the ten most important leadership conversations” as they appear in the Bible’s canonical order: favor, perspective, change, failure, burden, worship, risk, humility, mobilization and judgment.

By studying these conversations, Moore hopes the reader will take greater steps to becoming a Bible-centered leader, “whose leadership is informed by the Bible, and who has been personally shaped by biblical leadership values, who has grasped the intent of Scriptural books and their content in such a way as to apply them to current situations and who uses the Bible in ministry so as to impact followers.” (This is Bobby Clinton’s definition, which Moore quotes and endorses.)

The Top Leadership Conversations in the Bible is an engaging book that will repay thoughtful reading.

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

Advertisements

Understanding Generation Z | Influence Podcast


Over at InfluenceMagazine.com, I interview David Kinnaman of Barna Group about its new report, Gen Z: The Culture, Beliefs and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation. In my opinion, this is an excellent report for pastors–especially youth and KidMin pastors–and parents who want to understand the water in which their Gen Z kids swim.

You can follow Barna Group on Facebook and Twitter. I always find its research to be thought-provoking and helpful.

Episode 125 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast topic
  • 00:32 MEGA Sports Camp ad copy
  • 01:10 Welcome to David Kinnaman
  • 01:47 Why pastors and other church leaders should pay attention to generational research
  • 04:00 Demographics of Generation Z
  • 07:18 Big themes of Barna’s Gen Z report
  • 12:10 Nominal Christianity vs. biblical worldview
  • 15:51 Diversity of race/ethnicity and gender/sexuality
  • 21:22 Materialistic values
  • 25:04 Best practices for ministry to Generation Z
  • 27:55 Gen Z and Barna Trends 2018
  • 29:04 Conclusion

Pentecostals, Race, Justice and Reconciliation | Influence Podcast


In episode 123 of the Influence Podcast, I interview Pastor Walter Harvey about “Pentecostals, Race, Justice and Reconciliation.”

Harvey is pastor of Parklawn Assembly of God in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as well as vice president of the National Black Fellowship of the Assemblies of God. He also has the lead article in the January-February 2018 issue of Influence magazine, titled, “A Place Called Sherman Park: Eight ministry lessons that can help bring renewal to communities in chaos.”

 

The Thoughtful Pastor | Influence Magazine


We do not often think of the pastorate as an intellectual profession, but it is. A pastor, according to Paul, must be “able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). For the apostle, teaching is more than a recitation of facts. Note that Paul himself “debated,” “reasoned,” and “argu[ed] persuasively” with people to convince them to follow Christ (Acts 9:29; 17:2; 18:4,19; 19:8).

More generally, Paul viewed the mind as an arena of sanctification: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, emphasis added). For the apostle, a renewed mind was a necessary condition of discerning and doing God’s will.

Whether viewed from the angle of professional obligation or personal sanctification, then, the pastorate demands its members think deeply and express their thoughts clearly. Two new books, both written by Christian authors, can help pastors become more thoughtful, though neither were written with that aim in mind. They examine thinking’s inward work and outward expression, respectively.

The first book is How to Think by Alan Jacobs (Currency, 2017). He writes: “The person who genuinely wants to think will have to develop strategies for recognizing the subtlest of social pressures, confronting the pull of the ingroup and disgust for the outgroup. The person who wants to think will have to practice patience and master fear.”

Thinking requires virtue, in other words. Who the thinker is matters as much as what the thinker thinks. Indeed, who the thinker is to a large degree determines whether a thinker can arrive at the right thought in the first place.

How to Think outlines the ways our deepest desires — especially attraction to and repulsion from other people — shape and misshape our thoughts. It notices how keywords, metaphors and myths can substitute for critical thinking. Sometimes, our minds are open when they should be shut and shut when they should be open.

Fundamentally, Jacobs believes we need to cultivate “a more general disposition of skepticism about our own motives and generosity toward the motives of others.” This combination of humility and charity — we are not necessarily right, they are not necessarily wrong — is “the royal road” to thinking.

The second book is Good Arguments by Richard A. Holland Jr. and Benjamin K. Forrest (Baker Academic, 2017). It defines an argument not as a yelling-and-screaming match but as “a systematic account of a claim or belief.” An argument presents “objective, factual claims for the purpose of persuading others to acknowledge certain facts about the world.”

Successive chapters in the book focus on logic, fallacies, definitions, analogies, cause and effect, and authority. The authors conclude with practical advice about how to state a case — especially a case for faith — in writing or public speaking.

Of these two books, I found How to Think most challenging and Good Arguments more conventional, yet I recommend both. Thoughtful pastors must both be good thinkers and articulate good thoughts, and these books will help them achieve those aims.

 

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2018 edition of Influence magazine (online version) and appears here by permission.

The Case for Biblical Equality | Influence Podcast


In today’s Influence Podcast, I interview Dr. Mimi Haddad of CBE International regarding the case for biblical equality. (CBE stands for “Christians for Biblical Equality.”)

As a Pentecostal, I am concerned that we stay true to biblical teaching and our spiritual heritage by recognizing that God calls and empowers both men and women to leadership.

The issue goes beyond ministry roles in church, however, to the way we conceive of male-female relations at home and in society. Dr. Haddad and I get into these issues in our podcast, and I hope you’ll take a listen!

How God Turns a Mess into a Masterpiece | Influence Podcast


Last Tuesday, Rick DuBose began his tenure as general treasurer of the Assemblies of God (USA). I interviewed him for the Influence Podcast over at InfluenceMagazine.com. We talked about the process God uses to turn our messes–personally, congregationally, socially–into masterpieces. Take a listen!

What’s Next for the Assemblies of God?


Today, Doug Clay begins his tenure as general superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA. In this episode of the #InfluencePodcast, I talk to him about his life, as well as about his hopes and dreams for the AG. Take a listen!