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.

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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.