I was around Dr. Albert Mohler as a student not too long after he lead a massive turnaround at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. What he accomplished and the stories I heard from his lips and the stories I've heard for many others ring in my ears on the days I need to remember that things can change, that God can change things, and that He calls us to lead change. Because of that, I want to recommend to you his book The Conviction to Lead. It's $4.99 for Kindle right now.
If the church leaders say to people, "Living on mission in our city is vital," yet they rarely if ever offer opportunities for people to serve the city, then a chasm exists between how the leaders see the church and how others see her.
Another quote from Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp. This one on pastors and our identity, where it might be and should be...
Blind to what was going on in my heart, I was proud, unapproachable, defensive, and all too comfortable. I was a pastor; I didn’t need what other people need. Now, I want to say again that at the conceptual, theological level, I would have argued that all of this was bunk. Being a pastor was my calling, not my identity. Child of the Most High God was my cross-purchased identity. Member of the body of Christ was my identity. Man in the middle of his own sanctification was my identity. Sinner and still in need of rescuing, transforming, empowering, and delivering grace was my identity. I didn’t realize that I looked horizontally for what I had already been given in Christ and that it was producing a harvest of bad fruit in my heart, in my ministry, and in my relationships. I had let my ministry become something that it should never be (my identity); I looked to it to give me what it never could (my inner sense of well-being).
Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling (p. 25)
Here's a good reason for pastors to buy and read Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp. I'd also recommend church members read this. It will open your eyes to what your pastor is going through, much of it you don't know.
This is a diagnostic book. It is written to help you take an honest look at yourself in the heart- and life-exposing mirror of the Word of God—to see things that are wrong and need correcting and to help you place yourself once again under the healing and transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Of the books that I have written, I found this one the hardest to write, not because of the writing process itself but because its pages expose the ugliness of my own heart and display how desperate my need for grace continues to be. It is not an exaggeration to say that I wept my way through writing some of the chapters. There were moments when I would go upstairs to share what I had written with Luella, the tears of conviction would come, and I would be unable to continue. But as I did my writing, it did not leave me feeling discouraged or hopeless but, rather, with a deeper hope in the gospel and a greater joy in ministry than I think I have ever known.
Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling (p. 11) - still 80% with coupon code: PASTORS
We make a mistake when we allow discouragement to replace dreaming.
It is noteworthy that in the middle of a chapter on shepherding and leadership in 1 Peter 5, we find this: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (v. 8).
Satan is after leaders first and foremost. Leaders are his prime targets.
The devil has many tools in his bag of tricks: sexual temptation, financial greed, pride, for starters. When he can’t trip us up with obvious and blatant temptations, he will throw something more subtle our way, like discouragement.
Here are some of the things that can still open the door for discouragement in my life:
- When I am criticized
- When I am tired and on the edge of exhaustion
- When I am misunderstood
- When my expectations are dashed and not realized...according to my time-table
As a leader who often struggles with discouragement and is regularly reminded by the Holy Spirit of the importance of dreaming in ministry, Kraft is helpful for me. Read the whole piece, including some remedies: "When We Allow Discouragement to Replace Dreaming." Also check out his new book, Mistakes Leaders Make. I'm grabbing a copy.
Bob Logan with another helpful post on coaching the people who 'get it.'
Among people who indicate receptivity to missional living, some will be willing to go the extra mile in living it out. Look for those who “get” missional living and are willing to take risks, even if they’re not great at it.
These are the people you need to be investing in...
He then offers some simple questions to use in coaching them...
- Where are you now?
- Where do you sense God tugging on your heart lately?
- Where does God want you to go?
- What actions might God be leading you toward?
- What are the next steps you can take?
Bob Logan lists what he calls, The Barnabas Questions, originally given by Carl George. These questions help create a coaching culture. And they are very simple.
- How are you?
- What are you celebrating?
- What challenges are you experiencing?
- What do you plan to do about these challenges?
- How can I help you?
- How can I pray for you?
A number of Kindle books are really cheap right now. I don't necessarily recommend every book on this list, but I put the ones I felt you would be most interested in, even if you disagree with the authors. I will *star ones I recommend most.
- *Church Planter | Darrin Patrick
- *Think | John Piper
- *The Empire of the Holy Spirit | Michael Haykin
- *Pujols: More Than a Game | Tim Ellsworth & Scott Lamb
- The Principle of the Path | Andy Stanley
- Plan B | Pete Wilson
- Graceful | Seth Godin (making a difference in the world)
- Story Engineering | Larry Brooks (on writing)
- *To The One Who Conquers | Sam Storms (meditations on Rev 2-3)
- *Don't Waste Your Life | John Piper
- Thriving in College | Alex Chediak
- Blue Like Jazz | Donald Miller
- *Affirming the Apostles' Creed | JI Packer
- *What Is The Gospel? | Greg Gilbert
- *On Who Is God? | Mark Driscoll
- The Reason Why Faith Makes Sense | Mark Mittelberg
- Pagan Christianity? | Frank Viola & George Barna
- *The Millennials: Connecting to America's Largest Generation | Thom & Jess Rainer