Paul’s letter to the Galatians is brief but theologically profound. It centers on the nature and implications of the gospel itself. The letter was born out of Paul’s controversy with the so-called Judaizers, and it continues to be a source of controversy among scholars today because of the so-called New Perspective on Paul.
In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Craig S. Keener about how to read Galatians for preaching and teaching. Keener is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and a world-renowned New Testament scholar. He is author of numerous books and commentaries, including a commentary on Galatians, forthcoming from Baker Academic on May 21, 2019.
Jesus Christ is the greatest news the world has ever heard, and the internet and social media give contemporary Christians effective means to share it. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are blowing their chance, as even a quick glance at Christians online shows. How can we better use these communication tools for greater gospel influence?
I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influencemagazine and your host. In Episode 172 of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Matt Brown about the biblical formula for influence, whether you’re online or off.
Matt is an Assemblies of God minister, founder of the online evangelistic ministry Think Eternity, and author of Truth Plus Love: The Jesus Way to Influence, forthcoming from Zondervan. He lives with his wife Michelle and their two boys near Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
“Every advance you make as a leader will require a leadershift that changes the way you think, act, and lead,” writes John C. Maxwell in Leadershift. He goes on to enumerate eleven specific changes, which he illustrates with stories from his own leadership journey. He also provides practical advice to help readers make necessary shifts in their own leadership practices.
Maxwell defines leadershifting as “the ability and willingness to make a leadership change that will positively enhance organizational and personal growth.” Here are the specific changes he outlines:
focus: from soloist to conductor,
personal development: from goals to growth,
cost: from perks to price,
relational: from pleasing people to challenging people,
abundance: from maintaining to creating,
reproduction: from ladder climbing to ladder building,
communication: from directing to connecting,
improvement: from team uniformity to team diversity,
influence: from positional authority to moral authority,
impact: from trained leaders to transformational leaders, and
passion: from career to calling.
Like all of Maxwell’s books, Leadershift offers shrewd advice in simple language. Some readers may find its advice formulaic. Others, myself included, think the formulas make the advice memorable and therefore easier to act on. Having followed Maxwell’s writing for more than 25 years, I can honestly say that anyone who takes his advice to heart will improve as a leader.
Though written for a broad audience, Leadershift contains illustrations and applications directly relevant to church leaders. “If you want to be successful as a leader,” Maxwell writes, “you need to learn to become comfortable with uncertainty and make shifts continually.” His book shows how to do precisely that.
Book Reviewed John C. Maxwell, Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace (Nashville, TN: HarperCollins Leadership, 2019).
The highest compliment I can pay Rod Loy for his leadership is that the better you know him, the better you think of him, both as a person and as a pastor. That’s not always true of Christian leaders, but it’s true of him. I can recommend his new book, Help! I’m in Charge, because I can recommend him as someone to listen to.
Help! I’m in Charge is the fourth book I’ve read by Rod. (The others are 3 Questions, Immediate Obedience, and After the Honeymoon.) According to the subtitle, it examines “stuff leadership excerpts didn’t tell you.” And that’s about right. Most leadership experts discuss mission, vision, and values from a 30,000-foot level, Rod gets into the weeds, talking the nitty-gritty of leadership on the ground.
The book’s chapter titles helpfully identify the practical topics Rod examines:
You’ll Need to Get Comfortable Outside Your Comfort Zone
The One Thing You CanExpect Is the Unexpected
We all Make Monumental Mistakes
Unresolved Conflict Never Solved Anything
Your Ability Won’t Get You Far if People Don’t Like You
A Leader Leads Everybody, Not Just a Select Group
Don’t Go into the Poor Without a Lifeguard
You Can Respond Stupidly or Wisely to Criticism and Correction
Everyone Wants to Be Treated with Respect
Great Leaders Are Willing to Sacrifice Their Rights
Chapter 5 was the most personally challenging for me. So much so, that I’ve written “Your Ability Won’t Get You Far If People Don’t Like You” on a sticky note and affixed it to my computer screen, which—because I’m an editor—I stare at most of my working hours. Leaders need to turn off their screens, get up off their chairs, and grab face-to-face time with others if they want to be effective. At least I do.
Here are some other passages in Help! I’m in Charge that I’ve dogeared: “How to Handle the Unexpected” (pp. ##), “How to Know Which Person Is in the Right” (pp. ##), “How to Become a Secure Leader” (pp. ##), “How to Bring Out the Best in Insecure People” (pp. ##), and “Reasons People Avoid and Resist Accountability” (pp. ##).
Rod is great at epitomizing matters, so there are a lot of helpful lists throughout the book. Chapter 9, “Everyone Wants to Be Treated with Respect,” outlines the differences between exclusive and inclusive leaders, for example. Sometimes, I’ll write that a particular chapter is worth the price of an entire book. For what it’s worth, I thought this entire book was worth the price of the entire book.
As with Rod’s other books, Help! I’m in Chargecombines helpful principles, biblical insights, telling anecdotes, and personal authenticity. For me, this is most evident in the Epilogue, which recounts how Rod and his wife Cindy responded when she was diagnosed with cancer in spring 2017. Cindy is healthy now, but they welcomed that experience as an opportunity to draw closer to God. By sharing it with their church, they invited others to draw closer to Him as well.
A leader who models how to follow God when life is hard is the kind of leader I want to follow, even if only by reading his book, which I think you should.
Book Reviewed Rod Loy, Help! I’m in Charge: Stuff Leadership Experts Didn’t Tell You (Springfield, MO: Influence Resources, 2018).
“What separates the truly great teams from the mediocre ones?” asks Tony Dungy in The Soul of a Team. His answer is “four simple yet highly effective principles — selflessness, ownership, unity, and larger purpose.” The principles form a memorable acronym: S.O.U.L.
Here’s how Dungy defines the principles:
Selflessness: Putting individual needs aside for the good of the team.
Ownership: Fulfilling your role by learning it thoroughly and by consistently giving 100 percent.
Unity: Understanding and rallying around your team’s mission, philosophy, and culture through open communication and positive conflict resolution.
Larger Purpose: Contributing to the wider community in a lasting and significant way.
Selflessness, ownership, and unity constitute the what of teamwork, but larger purpose constitutes the why. Teams often find that defining their larger purpose is a difficult task, but once they have done so, writes Dungy, that purpose “guides their decision-making, shapes their relationships, and influences their conduct,” as well as gives a team “a vibrancy and sense of worth it wouldn’t otherwise have.”
To illustrate the S.O.U.L. principles, Dungy narrates the turnaround of a fictional football team, the Orlando Vipers, in desperate need of a winning season. The principles themselves are transferable to any endeavor that requires teamwork, however, including ministry. Throughout the book, Dungy’s leadership advice is rooted in his Christian faith.
The Soul of Leadership is written in the vein of Patrick Lencioni’s “leadership fables.” If you like the format of Lencioni’s books — tell a story, then explain its meaning — you may like this one too.
Book Reviewed Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker, The Soul of a Team: A Modern-Day Fable for Winning Teamwork (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2019).
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” writes the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16.
While all Christians agree that Scripture is useful, we don’t often understand how to use it. Today, I’m starting a series of occasional podcasts designed to help pastors improve how they read Scripture so that they can preach Scripture better. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.
My guest today is Rick Wadholm Jr., associate professor of biblical and theological studies at Trinity Bible College and Graduate School in Ellendale, North Dakota. Rick received his PhD from Bangor University in Wales, and is author of the recently published book, A Theology of the Spirit in the Former Prophets. We’ll be talking about reading the Former Prophets for preaching.
P.S. This is cross-posted from InfluenceMagazine.com.
“If you want to make a difference,” writes Rod Loy, “if you want to fulfill God’s calling for your life, if you want to be a leader, you have to be willing to pay the price. This is the difference between changing the world and living your life without impact.”
In Episode 165 of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Rod Loy about this and other leadership insights from his new book, Help! I’m in Charge.
Rod Loy is senior pastor of First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and executive presbyter for the General Council of the Assemblies of God. In addition to Help! I’m in Charge, he’s the author of Immediate Obedience, 3 Questions, and After the Honeymoon, all of which are available in both English and Spanish.
I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.
The Americans with Disability Act defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.” How many Americans suffer from a disability? Estimates range from 13 percentof the U.S. populace to 20 percent. That’s between 40 and 60 million persons.
My guest on Episode 165 of the Influence Podcast is Charlie Chivers, founder and CEO of Special Touch Ministry, a non-profit faith-based organization, committed to serving people with intellectual or physical disabilities, their families and caregivers. Special Touch is interdenominational in scope, but Charlie is an ordained Assemblies of God minister and a missionary with AG U.S. Missions. We’re going to talk about how to make your church disability friendly.
I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influencemagazine and your host. My conversation with Charlie is coming up after a brief word from our sponsor.
I write the Read Like a Leader section of each issue of Influence magazine. In the January-February 2019 issue, I recommended these three leadership books. My recommendations first appeared at InfluenceMagazine.com, and they are posted here with permission.
FIX IT! Rob Ketterling (River Valley Resources)
When your church faces a problem, who is responsible to fix it? Pastors often say, “I am,” but taking responsibility for every problem results in burned-out pastors and underutilized church members. Rob Ketterling suggests a better way forward in Fix It!, one that revolves around three simple words: you, them, and God. “Define what you’re responsible to do, delegate to others who will share the load, and expect God to do what only He can do, including a change in direction from time to time.” This book is filled with biblical insight, practical suggestions, and real-life examples.
Help! I’m in Chargeexamines “stuff leadership excerpts didn’t tell you,” in the words of the subtitle. Most church leadership experts discuss mission, vision, and values from a 30,000-foot level. In this book, Rod Loy gets into the weeds, talking about the nitty-gritty of leadership on the ground. Chapter 5, “Your Ability Won’t Get You Far if People Don’t Like You,” and chapter 9, “Everyone Wants to Be Treated with Respect,” alone are worth the price of the book. Help! I’m in Chargeis biblically grounded, personally authentic, and seasoned advice for pastors and other church leaders.
LEADERS: MYTH AND REALITY Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Eggers, and Jason Mangone (Portfolio/Penguin)
John Maxwell famously defined leadership as “influence.” That’s true to an extent, but it’s also too simple because it’s leader-centric, as if influence flowed only one way. In Leaders, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Eggers, and Jason Mangone profile 13 leaders from diverse backgrounds and fields of endeavor. Based on those profiles, they identify three myths people believe about leaders, then offer a new definition of leadership. It is “a complex system of relationships between leaders and followers, in a particular context, that provides meaning to its members.” This is a fascinating book, biographically informative and analytically shrewd.