The Most Helpful Book on Productivity


I am a big fan of being more productive, organizing your life for effectiveness and I’m always on the lookout for a helpful book in this area. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman is one of the best books on this topic.

What sets this book apart from others on productivity:

  1. Its emphasis on understanding how the gospel impacts productivity.
  2. How the gospel frees us to be productive.
  3. It also brings together some of the best ideas from other books on productivity to show a better system that combines the strengths of different systems.

If I had one criticism about the book, it would be how much time he spent convincing the reader that it is biblical to be productive. I know why he did this and the reasoning is sad: Christians seem to think productivity, organization or systems are unbiblical and have no place in the church. Sadly, this is why most churches are ineffective and why business leaders often feel like they don’t fit in churches.

One of the best reminders I took from this book and it immediately changed my stress level was planning my day in advance. I tried doing this the night before, but I then laid in bed thinking about the coming day. I now spend my first 5-10 minutes each morning at my desk, praying through and thinking through what I need to accomplish and list what is most important and remove everything else from my calendar or to-do list for that day.

If productivity is a struggle for you, or if you want to take your productivity to the next level, I’d highly recommend checking out this book. You won’t regret it.


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Join Me Today on Innovate 4 Jesus


Join me this Today, June 24 at 2 pm EDT / 11 am PDT live on Innovate 4 Jesus as I join Holly Snell and Justin Blaney as we talk about church planting and surviving as a church planter and leader.

Have questions about this topic? Tweet your questions with #I4JLIVE or comment in the blog post here.

My blog will be moving in a few weeks and I don’t want you to miss anything. Simply click here to subscribe via email so that I can serve you better and continue to help you grow to become who God created you to be.

Is It Biblical for a Church to have a Target?


Recently, I did a series of posts on why a church should have a target, why every church has a target and how to make choices to reach that target (you can read them here). After the series, I got some questions about whether or not it was biblical to have a target. After all, are we told anywhere in the bible that a church should have a target.

The answer is yes.

In the book of Acts, we see how Paul had a target of the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Galatians 2:17) and how Peter had a target of the Jews (Galatians 2:17). Jesus in the great commission even gave the disciples a road map of who they were to reach and the order in which to do it (Matthew 28:18 – 20).

As you look at the New Testament, you see that certain people were better suited to reach certain people. Their backgrounds, the way they talked, how they understood certain world views, enabled them to be more effective in taking the gospel to places. The courage of some allowed them to plant churches others never would.

Does this mean that Paul never shared the gospel with a Jew? Or Peter with a Gentile? No, in fact we have evidence of them doing that. It means they were focused though and knew who their primary target was.

Churches are the same. The style of preaching lends itself to reaching a certain person. The pastors who have effective ministries are largely effective because of where they are located. That isn’t an accident. Instead of fighting against this, churches need to be clear about this. And, they need to support church planters who go to places they don’t.

Let’s admit a tension here: it sounds unloving to say we are better suited to reach a certain kind of person as a church. This is a reality though. Dress, style of music, age of the people on stage, how programmed or organic a church is. All of these go into who a church is best suited to reach. A church will reach people outside of the norm, but by and large, they will reach a certain kind of person more easily. When we fight against this, our effectiveness goes down. This is one reason that church planting is so important. It enables a church to reach different kinds of people within a city.

I think that is one reason God blessed Peter and Paul’s efforts. They led from their natural gifts, didn’t fight with each other about it (at least after Acts 15, so you can see what happens when we look down on each other) and they then encouraged each other by planting more churches in a variety of places with a variety of leaders.


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Culture Trumps Strategy


One of the reasons that churches fail to change or be effective is the leaders change the wrong things.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. -Peter Drucker

In their book Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and ChurchesPeter Greer and Chris Horst point out corporate culture is tough to pin down. It’s difficult to define. But it sure is easy to feel. Culture is just “what happens.”

Every church says their strategy is to welcome new people, help people meet Jesus, grow in their relationship with Jesus, develop leaders and plant churches. Yet, for a very few churches is this reality.

Most churches do not see guests, new believers, baptism’s or disciples.


Their culture fights it.

So what do you do? How does a pastor change a church?

Go for the culture. Define the culture you want. Then go for that.

Don’t tell me that your strategy is the great commission if you aren’t seeing anyone start following Jesus.

Peter Greer said, “Leaders cultivate corporate culture within faith-based organizations just like they cultivate their own spiritual lives.”

You must create boundaries, policies, rules (whatever you want to call them) to keep the culture you are going for clear and on track.

You must celebrate the things that matter most, that help you accomplish your culture.

If your culture that you are going for has new Christians in it, celebrate when that happens. If it is baptism’s, celebrate when they happen. Tell stories. Show videos. Preach sermons.

Don’t leave it to chance. Too many pastors seem content to leave their desired culture to chance and hope that a strategy will enable to accomplish their vision.



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“…And you will be my witnesses…”

Jesus goes on to describes his apprentices by saying that they will be his witnesses. The word witness, in the original language of the New Testament, is marturious.If you say it slowly, you can almost hear the word martyr, can’t you? The two words are closely related. When Jesus tells his followers that they will be his witnesses, he is not saying that they will simply talk about him in the presence of others. No, it goes much deeper than that. Witnesses were frequently tortured and killed as a means of forcing them to disclose the truth. In other words, Jesus is saying that you and I must be prepared to die for his mission. He is saying that we must be ready to trade our lives, whether one day at a time or in one final act of surrender, to see the mission he has given to us fulfilled. Jesus was being very candid and reminding his apprentices that following him would be risky. -Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson, Exponential: How You and Your Friends can Start a Missional Church Movement

Radicalis Session 2: Radical Preaching (Rick Warren)

Session 2 of Radicalis was Rick Warren and Andy Stanley and the topic was Radical Preaching.

This session made me incredibly excited for the learning track I’m in on “Preaching for life change.” His princples for preaching are in bold.

Here are some notes from Rick’s part:

  • What do we do when God’s word seems to be returning void? It isn’t the message, it has to do with the way we are delivering it.
  • The basis for radical preaching is the great commission
  • The goal of radical preaching is obedience
  • It is not enough to know the word of God
  • The more knowledge you have, actually increases your judgment
  • Knowing the word of God is not the same thing as doers
  • Teach them to obey
  • 2 Timothy 3: The purpose of the Bible is action
  • The result of radical preaching is a serving disciple
  • Our problem is we are teaching too much, because people tend to think that when they hear it they know it
  • We don’t give people enough time to do what we tell them to do
  • It is not enough to apply it personally, you also have to answer the question, “What does this mean to us as a church?”
  • Preaching should lead to action, obedience, practice
  • Jesus and every NT preacher preached for action
  • You only believe the parts of the Bible you do
  • Titus 2:1
  • Radical preaching is preaching for a response
  • Preacher’s need to pray “Lord, who is coming and what do I need to say?”
  • Preaching needs to answer the “why question” but also the “how question”
  • All behavior is based on a belief
  • What you believe affects how you behave
  • If you want to change how people act, change what they believe
  • Behind every sin is a lie I am believing
  • When you sin, at that moment you are doing what you believe is the best thing you could do
  • When you look at your congregation, you can see their behavior, preaching needs to figure out the lie beneath the behavior and then preach on that
  • Change always starts in the mind
  • Romans 12:2
  • To help people change, we must first change their beliefs
  • Why do I do something? Why do I not do something?
  • Trying to change people’s behavior without changing their beliefs is wrong, backwards
  • The auto pilot in your life is your belief system, it is why you are not able to change
  • You cannot just change behavior, you must change the mindset
  • It is not hard to obey when your mind is renewed
  • If you want to see lives changed, you must get to the root of their sin
  • Maturity is not always doing what you feel like doing
  • The Bible term for “changing your mind” is repentance
  • Repentance doesn’t mean stop doing bad things, it means, to change your mind
  • Most preaching is about changing what you do, when it needs to be about changing how we think something
  • It’s a paradigm shift
  • Ezekiel 36:26
  • You don’t change people’s minds, the applied word of God does
  • Zechariah 4:6
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 – 5 (Capture every thought and make it give up)
  • The goal of preaching is life application and obedience
  • Changing the way I act is the fruit of repentance
  • Matthew 3:8
  • Deeds are the proof of repentance
  • The deepest preaching is preaching for repentance
  • Life application preaching is not shallow preaching
  • Shallow is preaching doctrine without applying it to life change, the sins of your people and the things that need changing
  • Matthew 3:2
  • Mark 1:15, 4:17, 6:12
  • Acts 2:38
  • Repentance is our fundamental message, changing from this thought to that thought
  • To produce lasting life change, you must enlighten the mind, engage the emotions and challenge the will
  • There is an element of feeling, thinking and doing in radical preaching
  • You have to encourage, challenge, build up and send them out in your sermons
  • Hold up, build up, fire up
  • Most preachers are afraid to stand up and call people out and challenge them
  • Every sermon comes down to 2 words, “Will you?”

This was a great session, can’t wait for the learning track I’m doing on preaching!