Help! I’m in Charge | Book Review


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:

  1. You’ll Need to Get Comfortable Outside Your Comfort Zone
  2. The One Thing You CanExpect Is the Unexpected
  3. We all Make Monumental Mistakes
  4. Unresolved Conflict Never Solved Anything
  5. Your Ability Won’t Get You Far if People Don’t Like You
  6. A Leader Leads Everybody, Not Just a Select Group
  7. Don’t Go into the Poor Without a Lifeguard
  8. You Can Respond Stupidly or Wisely to Criticism and Correction
  9. Everyone Wants to Be Treated with Respect
  10. 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).

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

P.P.S. Check out my Influence Podcast with Rod about the book:

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Help! I’m in Charge | Influence Podcast


 

“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.

Recommended Reading for Leaders | Influence Magazine


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.

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

HELP! I’M IN CHARGE
Rod Loy (Influence Resources)

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.

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Helpful” on my Amazon review page, where I’ve posted a longer review. 

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.

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Helpful” on my Amazon review page, where I’ve posted a longer review.

Review of ‘Immediate Obedience’ by Rod Loy


Immediate-Obedience Rod Loy, Immediate Obedience: The Adventure of Tuning in to God (Springfield, MO: Influence Resources, 2014). Paperback / Kindle

My son is five years old. Much of my parenting of him at the moment involves teaching impulse control. I tell him, “Just because you feel like yelling—or making rude noses or smacking your foster sister on the back of the head—doesn’t mean you have to do it.”

It is generally understood that impulse control refers to the suppression of negative impulses. That is well and good, of course, but not all our impulses are negative. Should we also teach our children to restrain positive impulses? Shouldn’t we rather teach them to act on positive impulses? Indeed, shouldn’t we act on good impulses ourselves—to forgive, to help, to share God’s love?

In his book, Pastor Rod Loy encourages readers to practice immediate obedience, which is “the courage to act instantly on whatever [God] told [you] to do.” Such obedience assumes, of course, that God speaks to us, through Scripture preeminently but also through other means. It also assumes that we are listening, not allowing disobedience, distraction, or doubt to close our ears to God.

When we listen to God speak and immediately obey His voice, He leads us on an adventure of increasing faith, service, and blessing. When we don’t, we miss out on God’s blessing, allow disobedience to creep into other areas of our lives, and experience regret about how God could’ve used us…if only we’d been willing. Clearly, immediate obedience is the better option.

The concluding chapter of the book shares good advice about how to start developing the habit of immediate obedience: give God your heart above all else, make decisions today that will allow you to say “yes” to God tomorrow, avoid debt or eliminate it if you have it, hold possessions loosely, start small, and never say no.

The book includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter, making it ideal for use in small groups. It also includes “The 90-Day Challenge” with a Bible reading, prayer guide, and reflection questions. The goal of the challenge is to help you “ask God to make you sensitive to His voice, and then, to obey whatever He asks you to do.” I found this book spiritually encourage and very practical. I plan to take the 90-Day Challenge.

(Full Disclosure: I am a friend of Pastor Rod Loy, and I work for the Assemblies of God, which is the parent company of Influence Resources.)

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