Cheap Kindle Books 9.10.13

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Here are some cheap kindle books. Not sure how long they’ll stay that way:

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.

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  1. How to use Evernote to keep track of everything. I love Evernote. It is the app I use more than anything else.
  2. Craig Groeschel on 4 things every leader should know about their staff.
  3. A father of 8 talks about the looks and comments he gets and what it reveals about our culture and families. I get these a lot, so I can relate.
  4. Scott Williams on The power of naps.
  5. 12 costs all leaders must be willing to pay to be successful.
  6. Jay Yarow on How 18-29 year olds view the use of technology. This is pretty eye opening and will have huge implications on life and ministry into the future.
  7. How to pray for your city.
  8. Charles Stone on 5 telling questions to ask at your next staff meeting.
  9. Sam Storms on Does God want you to be happy?
  10. Thom Rainer on How to be a better church staff member.

Saturday Afternoon Book Review: Effective Staffing for Vital Churches

On most Saturday afternoons, I share a review of the most recent book I’ve read.To see previous books I’ve reviewed, go here. This week’s book is Effective Staffing for Vital Churches (kindle version) by Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian. In it, the authors seek to make the point that separates churches in terms of health and effectiveness can be found in their staffing cultures. Who they hire, how they hire staff, how that staff spends their time, how that staff does in terms of developing other leaders vs. doing all the ministry.

According to the authors, here’s what a staff does:

So what’s the purpose of staff? Simply put, the role of staff is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12 ESV). Staff creates an environment in which leaders at every level are equipped and encouraged to replicate the DNA of the church by living out their spiritual gifts. God built the church on the premise that every Christian has a gift and a calling to share with the world. It’s called the “priesthood of believers.” The role of staff is to ensure this happens.

Even before reading this book, I’ve made specific changes to how and who I spend my time with. The authors of this book largely backed this up with their research. A lead pastor should spend the majority of their time with:

  1. Younger, emerging leaders.
  2. No more then 4 staff members that report to them.
  3. Guests to the church.
  4. Those who don’t know Jesus.

Here’s why:

Effective coaches invest heavily in those who not only show promise, but who are committed to the leadership journey. That doesn’t mean the coach neglects those with less promise or commitment, but with limited time and resources wise leaders invest most heavily where the greatest return can be expected.

I realize how this sounds like it is uncaring or unloving in some way. At the end of the day, this mindset is what is best for the church and fulfills what God has called pastors to.

In a church under 500, the authors say a lead pastor should spend 70-80% of their people time in these areas to see the most effectiveness. Notice, this isn’t all their time, just the majority of their time. Many pastors fight against this and the authors point out, this is one of the reasons church aren’t as effective: leaders don’t hand ministry off to other leaders.

What I appreciated most about the book were the sections where the authors laid out the transitions a leader and a church must make as the church grows. This has been something I’ve been trying to learn more and more about as Revolution grows. What I did when we were a church of 50 people, then 150, now 250 and then what it looks like at 500 and beyond. One of the things the authors pointed out is many leaders and churches are not willing to change what they do or learn new things as the church grows and changes.

Overall, if you are looking for a resource on how a pastor should spend his time, hiring and firing staff, how to deploy staff in an effective way, this is a book worth picking up.

When Someone Leaves

One of the most painful parts of being a pastor or leader is losing someone. Whether it is someone who attends your church, a leader or a staff member. It is personally painful and it is painful to the church. Even when someone leaves because God is calling them somewhere else to start a ministry or be a part of a ministry, it is painful. I was asked about this from a friend recently and because this is so common in church life, I thought I’d share my thoughts on it.

When I was in seminary I was on staff at a great church and they had given me a ton of opportunities and I was really close to the lead pastor. God had opened some doors for Katie and I and we felt like we needed to move to a new church. The problem was that we had committed a year to the church we were at, so we told this new church that we needed to finish our time. But the feeling didn’t go away.

I remember when I went to the pastor and told him what we were feeling, but that we would stay and finish our commitment because that was important to us. He looked at me and said, “If God is calling you somewhere, that means God is calling someone to come here and take your place. Who knows, they might already be here. If you stay, not only will you miss what God is calling you to, but that person will miss what God is calling them to here.” It was one of the most kingdom-minded, eye opening moments of my life. That conversation has shaped my leadership and how I look at the way God moves. If God is sovereign (and I believe he is), then when He calls someone away to somewhere else, he is preparing someone else to jump in.

This doesn’t make it any less painful or hard. It just changes how you look at it. It is a reminder that you are not in charge or in control and that is okay.

How a Staff Supports a Lead Pastor

Ron Edmondson is doing a great series of blogs on being a lead pastor and understanding the role and how leaders can support them (you can read his first part here). In his second post, he talks about what a lead pastor needs from a staff, volunteers and elders:

  1. Have a Kingdom perspective. It’s not really about either one of you…it’s about God and we get to play a part in His Kingdom work.
  2. Know yourself. Some people are wired for a supporting role and some are not, which is why so many are planting churches these days. You may be able to serve in this role for a short time but not long term. It takes a great deal of humility to submit to someone else’s leadership at times. Know who you are. Being in the second (or third) position in an organizational sense doesn’t always get to make the final decision. Are you comfortable with that fact?
  3. Support the pastor. That’s an obvious for this list, but unless the senior pastor is doing something immoral, you should have his back. If you can’t, move on… You should make this decision early in your relationship, preferably before you start, but definitely soon into the process. Resisting the leadership of the senior pastor is usually not good for you or the church.
  4. Realize you are in the second (or third) chair. If you don’t want to be, then work your way into a number one seat, but while you are in this position, understand your role.
  5. Don’t pray for, wish or try to make your pastor something he is not. Most likely, the basic personality of your leader is not going to change.
  6. Add value to the pastor and the organization. Do good work. Even if you are not 100% satisfied where you are at in your career at the current time, keep learning and continue to be exceptional in your position. Be a linchpin.
  7. Be a friend. This is a general principle when working with others, but especially true in this situation. If you aren’t likable to the pastor, he isn’t going to respond likewise. Have you ever heard, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”? That works when working with a leader too.
  8. Brand yourself in and out of the organization. Don’t wait until you are in the number one position to make a name for yourself. This helps you, the pastor and the church.
  9. Compliment the pastor. Most likely, you are needed for your abilities that are different from the senior pastor. Use your gifting to make the church better and improve the overall leadership of the pastor. This will serve you well also.
  10. Pick your battles. Even in the healthiest organizations, there will be conflict and disagreements. Don’t always be looking for a fight. Ask yourself if the battle is worth fighting for or if this in the hill on which to die.
  11. Learn all you can. Most likely, the pastor knows some things you don’t. Sometimes you will learn what not to do from your pastor. Let every experience teach you something you can use later to make you a better leader.
  12. Leave when it’s time. Be fair to the church, the pastor, and yourself and leave when your heart leaves the position, you can no longer support the pastor or the organization, or you begin to affect the health or morale of the church and staff.

I am grateful for the team that I serve with as they understand the weight and enormity of what we are trying to do at Revolution and the weight of being a lead pastor, as a staff can make being a leader incredibly hard and painful. I’m grateful for their support.

To read the rest of his post, go here.

Top Posts of March 2010

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the month of March, 2010:

  1. Someone Pays the Price
  2. Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches
  3. It was Worth It
  4. Deep Church
  5. How do I Become a Leader?
  6. The Painful Side of Leadership
  7. Saturday Night Mind Dump… (3/27/10)
  8. The City
  9. Meet the Revolution Staff
  10. It Matters Who is Around You

Easter at Revolution

I just got back from meeting with the staff team of Revolution. It was an exciting and intense meeting as we are less than 2 days from our big day. This easily is the most excited, the most buzz and the most stress our team has been under since we launched.

Which is a good thing. I can’t wait to see what happens this weekend.

If you’d like to pray with us, here are some things you can pray for:

  • Pray for the protection of all our leaders and their families over the next 2 days/nights.
  • Pray that we will see at least 150 people on Saturday night.
  • Pray for those who will be invited, that they will say yes.
  • Pray for those who will do the inviting, that they would have courage to do so.
  • Pray that we would see many accept Jesus and take that step of faith and start following Jesus.
  • Pray for all the details associated with the sermon, music, technology and the BBQ that is happening after the service.
  • Pray for the unity and relationships of all the leaders who will be working together to pull everything off.
  • Pray that I would be able to communicate hope as I preach on the question, “What do you do when life seems out of control?”

Meet the Revolution Staff

This past Saturday, I got to talk about how Revolution is structured and what the means. I am incredibly blessed to have so many great leaders to work with. Without these leaders buying into the vision, buying into me and putting in all the time that they do, Revolution would cease to exist.

I talked about how Revolution is an elder protected, staff led church, what that means and why that matters. How things are structured at a church makes all the difference.

Each of these team members oversee many other teams. While it would have been great to talk about everyone, we did that before when I preached on Nehemiah 3 (which you can listen to here). On Saturday, I wanted to talk about the main leaders as our leadership team has grown and changed over the last few months to help us staff for growth (if you haven’t read this before, go and read this and come back).

The staff team helps in overseeing the day to day operation known as Revolution. All the ministries, follow-up, everything. Whatever it takes to keep the ship moving in the right direction.

In case you missed Saturday or don’t know who they are, here are some snippets:

Cody is the newest addition to the team. He is in the back middle. He oversees Rev Up, our student ministry, which launched two weeks ago. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this new ministry and what it will mean for Revolution and the lives of teenagers and their families. Cody has a huge personality and lights up every room with his energy and southern accent. By birth, he is a huge Bama fan. I am still trying to learn southern sayings without laughing, but he’s helping. He has dreams of getting me to like country music, but…

Paul is on the far left and he is our Pastor of Worship & Arts. He oversees everything that happens on Saturday:  the music, arts, videos, first impressions, set up and tear down. Paul is a massive Texas anything sports fan. He is also a secretly great basketball player. Don’t let his height fool you, if you are picking teams and he is there, pick him first. He will drain every 3 he takes.

Jennifer is in front of him, she goes with Paul. We all know why he picked her, but the jury is still out. She oversees Planet Rev which is our ages 0 – 5th grade ministry. This encompasses the largest volunteer team in our church and almost a third of our church. It is a huge undertaking every week to create a safe, secure, fun environment for kids to hear about Jesus in ways that make sense to them and partner with parents as they disciple their kids.

Christe is next to her. Christe is the glue that holds it all together. She is our admin. Without her, we would not last very long. She oversees all the details, keeping us on track. She oversees countless volunteers in the area of graphics, printing, marketing tools, any flyers, all of the follow-up we do. In many ways, she is becoming my right arm on so many projects for our church. The addition of Christe is huge for me personally as a leader and our church. She frees me up to do so many other things and takes the jobs (details) that I get lost in and she makes them fall into place.

As I said, I am incredibly grateful for the leaders I get to work with. The talent that God has assembled at Revolution is unbelievable. I hear from many pastors who can’t find good leaders, who have lazy leaders or aren’t passionate about the vision or the church. When I look at the leaders I get to work with, I thank God that I don’t have that problem with anyone at Revolution.

If you see these guys this Saturday, say thanks to them. They work hard (along with all the volunteers on their teams) to make Revolution happen. Their hearts are to serve you, the guests that walk through our front door and our city. They want to see lives changed.

Keep up the good work. Remember Revolutionaries, Saturday is coming. God has given us the opportunity to be a part of changing lives and eternities every week.

This Weekend: Completion, Critics & Continuation

This Saturday at Revolution will be a transition of sorts we continue our series in the book of Nehemiah. Chapters 1 – 6 and 13 are believed to be from Nehemiah’s personal journal and we will wrap up chapter 6 this week. While 6:15 – 7:4 may seem like an arbitrary passage where Nehemiah shares that the wall is built and how they are progressing from there, it has unbelievable ramifications for us as a church.

Revolution has already started and we are growing, but how does that continue? How is Revolution structured? What is our plan to grow? To connect new people?

Many churches unknowingly limit what God wants to do in their church by how they structure and staff themselves. This week, we’ll be looking at how we will grow and care for people and how we plan to get from 120 (where we are now) to 300 (where we hope to be at the end of 2010)!

We’ll also look at a simple question, “What is your role in that?” For us to do what God is calling us to do, it will take all of us. A city (the church) does not get built by a few people. This will be a great night of clarifying who we are, where we have come from, where we are going and how we plan to get there. This is such a crucial topic as we consider what God wants to do in and through Revolution and how it will unfold.

So, do whatever you have to do to get to Revolution this Saturday night (and don’t forget to bring a friend with you)!

Remember, we meet at 5pm at 410 S. Pantano Rd.

See you then.

Little Celebrations

This past week at our elder team meeting, we started with celebrations. At Revolution, we start all of our meetings with celebrations. Whether it is a weekly staff meeting or creative team meeting. We always start positive and celebrate what God is doing at Revolution. It is so easy to critique and get negative, it is a great way to change how we think and how we look at life.

This past week, I started off by saying, “Let’s look at little celebrations, what are some little things that God is doing at Revolution.”

The reason? At churches, we are prone to look for just the big things. We want to see 100 people baptized, 50 small groups filled up, double the amount of people we had last week. None of these things are bad, in fact, those are huge things to celebrate. The problem is that the weekly life of a church often doesn’t look like this.

We leave a service disappointed because attendance or giving was down and miss that someone became a Christian, a marriage was saved, someone gave for the first time, a second time guest came back, someone decided to sing a long for the first time or someone takes communion for the first time. We miss all of these because we are looking for the big thing.

How would our churches and our lives change if we celebrated the little things. We celebrate little things with our kids. Think about potty training. Gavin, our two year old is potty training. If I celebrated the big things I would wait until he is potty trained and staying dry throughout the day and the night to say anything. But because I’m celebrating the little things, any day or night that he is dry is a win. Going to the bathroom on his own is huge (he gets an M & M for it).

What if our churches were the same way? We celebrate any and everything regardless of the size. God moves in big and small ways. They are all miracles and they all need to be celebrated.