1. Here is a recommended reading list for church planters from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City (Tim Keller).
2. Every minister, pastor, preacher, and church leader ought to spend time developing church “street smarts.” What I mean by this is being intentional about learning the system of a particular congregation. I can think of no other objective more important than this one upon entering a new congregation. As you may know, this is different than getting to know the individuals of a church. This involves knowing how things get done.
- How are decisions really made?
- Are there certain people who occasionally make their wishes known and their opinions seem to carrya lot of weight?
- How does this congregation typically implement new ideas? Who usually spearheads a new idea? Are there any patterns regarding new ideas that have failed?
- Do these people laugh together? What seems to be the occasion for laughter?
- Who has the ear of the ministers or other church leaders?
- If tough issues were being discussed, who would usually offer an opinion? Whom do people seem to look to for an opinion?
- What groups exist within this congregation? What informal groups seem to exist?
- Who is perceived as knowing what is really going on in the congregation?
(I’m grateful to Roy M. Oswald for many of these insights.)
3. Tim Schraeder has a good blog. He is offering a free e-book entitled Creative Matters. This kind of book is helpful to me to get the creative juices flowing. I find that when my creative juices are flowing, my curiosity about life and this world is cultivated. You simply need to register and then download. (Tim takes outstanding notes on the Catalyst events and publishes them on his blog.)
4. Veteran newsperson Diane Sawyer speaks concerning curiosity on these three videos. These are short but insightful videos. Learning to cultivate one’s curiosity can greatly help preaching, teaching, and writing.
5. Margaret Marcuson has a good website for church leaders. Check out the resources that she offers, not to mention her excellent book, Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry.
6. Have you been to the new Mentor Network Facebook page? Please consider leaving a comment or a “like.” This new page is an opportunity for useful and encouraging conversation about ministry.