Book Notes | Renegade Pastor

bookEvery Saturday I share some notes from a book I just read. To see some past ones, click here. This week’s book is The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry by Nelson Searcy.

I’ve known Nelson for a number of years, been through his coaching network and read almost all of his stuff. He’s been incredibly influential on the systems of Revolution Church and a huge help from a distance to me and our church. This book is no different.

Here’s how it starts:

Why are you in ministry? What started you down this road in the first place? My guess is that you felt called to accomplish great things for God. You had a vision for reaching hurting people and introducing them to renewed life. You wanted to grow a healthy church that would influence your community and draw people in to learn the truth of the gospel. I bet you saw yourself setting your world on fire, while leading a faithful family, having time to invest in your own personal growth, and still finding enough free hours in the week to enjoy life. So I have a question for you: How are you doing? Does your current reality match the vision you had when you began living the pastor’s life?

He goes on:

Before you know it, you’ve settled for being average—an average leader leading an average church. But average is not what you’ve been called. God has called you to more than mediocrity. He has called you to look to Him, to work as unto Him, to reflect His excellence, and to demonstrate His glory in a way that draws people in.

The goal of the book is to answer this question in a way that honors God, brings life to the leader and is seeing lives changed through Jesus and the church you pastor. He does so by comparing average and renegade pastors: Average pastors put their marriage and family life on autopilot, hoping that, because they are called to God’s work, everything will stay on track through the years—but not doing a lot to ensure that outcome. On the other hand, renegades, recognizing that love is more than a feeling, make a conscious decision to love their spouse and children with intention.

Here are a few other things that jumped out to me:

  • Faithfulness and fruitfulness are not the same thing.
  • If you want to be successful in life and you have no role models, look at what the majority of people are doing and do the opposite. The majority is always wrong.
  • It’s character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us to action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.
  • The commitments you make determine the direction of your life.
  • The strongest biblical leaders have always been the greatest followers.
  • Your proximity to Jesus will define your life and leadership.
  • No pastor plans to find himself in a marital or family crisis, but too many end up there because they don’t plan not to.
  • If the way you manage your home mirrors the way everyone else manages theirs, you will find yourself dealing with the same average (read: tragic) results, in one form or another.
  • One of the most basic truths of time management: Work expands to fill the time that’s been allotted for it.
  • Your church is not currently realizing as much of its potential as it could.

Even though I had heard most of this material in other talks or books, it was a great refresher for me and a fast ready. Definitely a good book for pastors to work through on a retreat day or on vacation as a way to see where they are and how things are going.

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