Ministry Inside.33

Cold Weather. I live in Waco, Texas. Charlotte and I have not experienced weather like this since we left Kansas City, Missouri, almost 18 years ago. Yet, if you live in Chicago or other cities to the north, we can’t even begin to compare. So I won’t say anything more about the weather. coffee1.jpg

Each Thursday, I write this particular post for church leaders. Some who read this post regularly are ministers, elders and others who are interested in tools for ministry. The tools and resources vary depending on what come across over the past week.

Leadership Journal. There are so many very good resources available online to church leaders. Yet, one of the resources I continue to read in print is Leadership Journal. Yesterday, I received the Winter 2011 edition which includes articles by Gordon MacDonald, John Ortberg, Tim Keller, Mindy Caliguire and others. There is also an interview with Ken Sande. I especially look forward to the cartoons, which speak to most anyone who has spent much time with churches. You can check out Leadership online.

Edwin Friedman’s A Failure of Nerve. I am reading the newest edition that I purchased recently. (I read the first edition some years ago.) I read the first chapter and stopped. I need to let this sink in again. This kind of reading helps restore sanity to my own leadership.   

Game Changer. Some weeks ago, I listed a number of game changers for ministry. One of those was: “Take personal temptation seriously. Know that the evil one wishes to destroy you.” I can’t emphasize this one enough. Remember that temptation often begins as we allow certain thoughts, desires, and fantasies to find a home in our hearts/minds. We rationalize, thinking that such thoughts are no big deal, especially when we compare ourselves with others. Some ministers feel very lonely in their churches and become vulnerable to temptations that promise to give relief to that loneliness. What helps? Re-ignite a genuine friendship with your spouse. Practice the spiritual disciplines remembering that the goal is transformation into someone more like Jesus. Have a few people in your life with whom you can be very honest and who will speak truth into your life when necessary.

In the News. Faith and Reason is an interesting site (USA Today). One interesting article concerns Good Morning America’s search for a new “advice guru.” One of the finalists is Carla Barnhill, an evangelical. I find this interesting. Her blog is The Mommy Revolution .

About every ten days, I glance at Sally Quinn’s On Faith (Washington Post). Interesting.

There are many, many books, podcasts, blogs, websites, etc. Yes, I know there are far more resources than you can possibly digest. You may have the experience of being with church leaders only to come away feeling behind because they have read books you haven’t. Let me encourage you to not become discouraged. The idea is not to devour every resource that your fellow ministers are reading, etc. Instead, consider the possibility of simply being aware of significant discussions in the areas of faith and ministry.

Talk to ministers whose judgment you respect and ask them about the authors they especially listen to. Think of certain authors as friends or even mentors. For example, I decided many years ago that Eugene Peterson was worth listening to on almost any subject related to ministry. Consequently, I either read or am aware of most everything he writes.

I may be looking for a commentary or someone’s work on a particular book. I would rather have three or four of the best commentaries on a particular book than a dozen mediocre ones that I purchased simply because I saw them on Amazon.

Again, the point is not how many resources you consume. Just be a learner. Keep your mind sharp. Stay humble as you read and think. I am far more concerned about church leaders who read nothing, learn very little, and have no flame in them but the pilot light.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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