Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

  1. Charles Stone on Are you a sleep deprived pastor?
  2. 3 questions to help you avoid leadership blind spots.
  3. Gary Molander on When churches lie.
  4. 7 (Honest) Postcards from Churches. These made me laugh.
  5. Dan Black on Leaders are readers. This can’t be said enough.
  6. 10 mistakes young preachers make.
  7. Trevin Wax on The holy spirit. Helpful list of quotes here.
  8. Creating a wow experience for guests at your church. This is a great insight for pastors and churches.

How to Get the Most Out of Reading

I get asked a lot about reading. What I read? How I choose the books I do and how I find time to read. I thought I’d share a few tips.

I am always blown away when I meet pastors or business leaders who don’t read. If you aren’t reading, you aren’t growing. If you aren’t growing, you are not reaching your potential as a leader, human, Christian, husband, wife, father or mother. As a Christian, if you aren’t growing and learning, we often miss out on what God wants to do in our lives because reading and growing keeps us humble. Anytime you meet a leader who is doing great things, I bet they are a reader.

First, how to choose a book worth reading. Listen to people you trust. For me, if I hear from multiple blogs, tweets or friends about a book, I put it on my list. One thing I’ve learned is that who we read shapes us, so read authors you respect, leaders you want to become like. This doesn’t mean you should never read those you disagree with, but we’ll get to that. The choice of a book is crucial. Books get expensive and there is nothing worse than starting a book and realizing it isn’t worth finishing. If you are curious about what I’ve read recently, you can go here. I review every book I read as a way to help with this. If you start to read a book that isn’t worth finishing (typically, if I am not into a book by page 60 and feel like it is a waste of time, I stop reading it), put it down. Don’t waste your time. And don’t feel bad about not finishing it.

Second, always be reading. I have stacks of books in my office that I want to read. I have a stack on leadership, marriage and personal spiritual growth. Take a book and highlighter everywhere you go. Never go to a meeting or an appointment without one. We waste so much time waiting for people or getting into the dentist or doctor’s office. This is the perfect time to read. Studies show the average person can read at least 1 page a minute (without skimming). If you have to wait 10 minutes, you just read 10 pages.

Third, have a plan. This goes back to the stacks. Ask yourself, what do I want to grow in? What do I want to get better at? Is it health? Leadership? Marriage? Communication? Education? Right now, we are working on our budget for Revolution and I asked our staff members, “In 2011, what is one thing you want to grow in?” I do this to help them create a plan of growth for the year. If you don’t have a plan, you won’t know what to read. If you don’t have a goal, you won’t know if you reached it. Also, set a goal for how many books you want to read in a year. For 2010, my goal was to read 100 books and I am almost there.

What things help you get the most out of reading? How do you choose books? What book are you reading right now that is worth reading?

 

Leaders Grow

In every leadership book or at every leadership conference you hear the mantra, “Leaders are readers” or “Growing leaders grow churches” or something to that affect. In his book The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber puts it another way, “The job of the leader is to know more than you do.”

I meet a lot of pastors who unknowingly are not allowing their churches to reach their full potential because they are not reaching their full potential. For a lead pastor, eventually, your church will look like you. Good or bad. Two years into Revolution, I can tell you that is very true. I can look back over the last 2 years and many of the things we are doing that are working are things we learned from other churches, reading books and articles, being in coaching networks or going to conferences. It scares me to think where Revolution would be if we did not have this emphasis on growing as leaders.

As we grow, I am seeing that I need to spend more and more time learning, stretching myself, getting alone with God trying to discern what is next and not getting comfortable in what we already “know.”

Here are a few questions I am constantly going through:

  1. For Revolution to become twice the size we are now, what do I need to start doing? What do I need to stop doing? What things will keep us from getting there?
  2. If we were twice the size we are now, what things would we do differently?
  3. What things are we doing right now that need to be tweaked? What things need to go to a new level?
  4. What new leaders do we need to raise up?
  5. What leaders need to be challenged to go to a new level?

Links of the Week

  1. Video: Darrin Patrick on Wisdom for Church Planters and Preaching.
  2. Our president (past and present) show that leaders are readers. Fascinating article on what presidents read.
  3. Great fathers make great pastors. This is a great series from Acts 29 on the call of fathers.