Most Thursdays, I write a post that is especially for church leaders, ministers, pastors, etc. Those of you who are not in a similar role may find this post helpful as well.
1. I like a post that I read recently by Rachel Gardener entitled “What’s On Your Sticky Note?” She says that beside her computer, she has a sticky note which reads:
One Thing at a Time
First Things First
I like this! I suspect that for many of us who are very busy, such reminders might be very helpful. What do you think? Do you have something similar on your desk or by your computer?
2. Several weeks ago I read Keith Meyer’s Whole Life Transformation: Becoming the Change Your Church Needs. This is an outstanding book about how to live as an authentic minister who is being transformed into a Jesus-like person. He describes a time in which his own ministry when he was not really experiencing spiritual transformation. Meanwhile, he was busy and accomplishing tasks. He then describes his journey to a different kind of ministry that focuses on a minister becoming the change that a church needs. This book is just what I needed to read this summer!
Note this endorsement by Don Cousins:
Keith Meyer encourages and challenges us to reach far beyond the quantity of disciples to where the impact lies — quality of disciples. . . . I was challenged on a personal level and inspired on a leadership level as I read. For anyone interested in measuring quality, this is a must-read book.
3. Be sure to check out the site Ministry Matters. Lots of good material by William Willimon. I have read many of Willimon’s articles and books. I find him helpful and thoughtful. He helps me think.
4. It would really help churches if those of us who are ministers would model what someone has called, “mirroring the emotion.” That is, when we speak to people in our congregation, whether in a Bible class room, at Target, or on the parking lot, we practice intentional listening. We listen to their words and the emotion behind these words. This practice can really help you respond to someone in a way that is helpful, appropriate, and meaningful. This can be a real challenge because you may find yourself in a conversation about the Dallas Cowboys one moment and then a few minutes later, you are talking with another person who tells you their cancer has spread.
Pay attention to the body language, the emotion that is expressed, and the words that are spoken. This can be an enormous help in knowing what to say and what not to say. I remember having some conversations with people that I later wished I had handled differently. In most of these situations, I would have responded better if I had been more attentive to the emotion that was being expressed and then respond appropriately. In some instances, I would have changed the content of what I said. Most of the time, however, I would responded in a more appropriate manner and tone based on the emotion that I was seeing.