(The following is part of a series I write once a week especially focused on particular concerns of church leaders. If this if your first visit to this blog and this doesn’t apply to you, please scroll down to other posts.)
1. I regularly read some book, article, etc. that is based on systems thinking. This reading helps me as I reflect on my own leadership. I just read Perspectives on Congregational Leadership. This is a useful book especially if you need a quick refresher on systems thinking as it applies to church leadership. I am about to begin reading Edwin Friedman’s A Failure of Nerve. I read the first edition a numberof years ago and found it helpful. I understand this edition to be even better and look forward to reading it.
By the way, Margaret Marcuson’s book Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry, is an outstanding book for church leaders. She does a wonderful job of connecting systems thinking with church leadership in a way that is very user-friendly.
2. For your own encouragement, you might read a post I recently wrote entitled “You Don’t Have to Be Your History.” (Based on this wonderful line from Flannery O’Connor.) You might also enjoy this post regarding worry, anxiety, and God’s care.
3. I am making a list of questions that many ministers wish elders would ask them. (I am specifically thinking of congregations which have some form of elder system in place.) Some of these questions (some are mine and some from a good friend) might include the following:
*Are you happy with the salary that we are providing? Does it seem fair?
*What can I be praying for?
*What can we do (as an elder group) to make your experience here (with this church) more satisfying?
*Is there anything we are doing as a group that makes life very difficult for you?
*Is there anyone at this church right now who is especially giving you a hard time?
What would you add to this list? If you have a particular question that you, as a minister, wish your elders would ask, please include it in the comments or write me: email@example.com.
4. What iPhone apps related to the Bible have you found helpful? Some of you might want to look at Scott Elliot’s post “Biblical Apps for the iPhone.” Some good resources.
5. One of the game changers in ministry is reading. Be sure to read this outstanding post by Donald Miller: “Do This One Thing and You Will Rise Above Your Peers” by Donald Miller. This is a very good post on the value and importance of reading. I can’t stress this game changer enough.
Reading well is not necessarily about how many books you might read in a year. It does mean you choose to read important books and even seminal books on particular subjects. It means you expose yourself to good thinkers. You read books that will challenge you and even provoke you at times.
Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books being released on the market. You may feel this way at times. Let me encourage you to focus on reading a few quality books. This is one reason why I am a regular reader of Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed. I have read many books which I discovered on his blog. However, I have been especially helped by his book reviews. I may not read the book being reviewed but at least I am becoming familiar with the issues or arguments being presented.
Read good books, read regularly and feel good about what you are doing. Don’t worry about trying to read as many books as some of your peers. You will not always be able to read the latest from whatever authors might be popular among your peers. However, you can make reading a part of your regular, even daily, discipline.