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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Charles Stone on 8 ways pastors can refresh their tired souls.

The degree to which you love yourself corresponds to the degree to which you love others. Caring for ourselves was difficult for us to do without feeling guilty. We unwittingly thought that dying to ourselves for the sake of the gospel meant dying to marital intimacy and joy in life. We had died to something God had never intended we die to.

J.D. Greear on 4 things you should pray for your pastor.

One of the greatest joys in my life is serving as pastor. But ministry can be both messy and exhausting. That’s why I am so thankful for the prayer warriors in our congregation. I truly believe that one of the main reasons the Summit has grown is simply that God has answered the bold prayers of those in our congregation. The most important ministry anyone in our church can be involved in is that of prayer.

Why most churches are not reaching unchurched 20-something’s.

We want to ask questions.
Voice our doubts.
Explain our struggles.
Confess our sins.
Confide our fears.

And we want the church to do it with us.

Ryan Huguley on Sweat your sermon intro.

The first pastor who really taught me about preaching once told me, “If you open strong, close strong, and hit your transitions, your sermon will take care of itself.” While it’s a bit more complicated than that, he was largely correct. Many sermons fall apart before they even start, crash and burn because of an inability to “land the plane”, or lack clarity due to confusion in transition.

David Murray on The 10 types of church leaders.

The case for fewer friends.

When it comes to friendship, quality matters more than quantity.

Peter Leithart on Are Christians obsessed with Sex?

Are Christians obsessed with sex? I would ask, “Compared to whom?” Peter Leithart argues, “Faced with these charges, we get defensive and protest that we are equally concerned with other things – with economic evils, with militaristic violence, with the degradation of the environment. We shouldn’t be defensive. We should say that we’re concerned about sexual behavior and norms precisely because of the effect they have on the poor, the way sexual immorality is linked with violence. We should say that we guard God’s commandments regarding sex because violation of those commandments will produce social chaos. Sexual behavior and sexual norms are a key barometer of social health. If things are disordered in our bedrooms, they will be disordered in boardrooms and cabinet offices.”

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Book Notes | People Pleasing Pastors

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This past week I read Charles Stone’s new book People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval-Motivated Leadership (kindle version).

This book is unlike any other I’ve read. First, it hits a topic that every pastor or leader (and probably most humans) struggle with: people pleasing. This is an enormous deal for pastors and churches. Second, it combines stories and real life examples with a ton of helpful research on how our brains work and what drives leaders to care what others think. Third, it ends with some incredibly helpful insights to fight people pleasing in your leadership.

I can’t recommend this book high enough.

Here are a few things that jumped out in my reading:

  • Healthy and successful leadership has little to do with what I can do to get others to like me.
  • Chronic criticism is, if anything, often a sign that the leader is functioning better!
  • Christians, perhaps uniquely so, struggle with people pleasing because we’re “supposed to” be sweet and nice. And some professions, by their very nature, draw people into them because they offer opportunities to help others. Ministry and politics both fall into that category. Both pastors and politicians, if rightly motivated, want to help and serve others. However, that very desire often makes us most susceptible to people pleasing.
  • I wonder how the decisions I made that were motivated by a desire to please somebody in the church resulted in missing God’s best.
  • What makes people-pleasing, approval-motivated leadership so detrimental? It’s subtle, often counterintuitive and stifling to a spiritual leader’s passion and joy if left unchecked.
  • The ultimate test to determine whether or not our people pleasing is wrong is whether or not it promotes the gospel.
  • We know we’ve pleased others in a healthy way when they are better off when we do it and when we sense God’s peace in our hearts.
  • As a leader, when I seek consensus or appeasement in a situation, rather than lead from a place of principle and vision, I abdicate my authority and nobody “wins.”
  • People-pleasing leadership gets its direction and behavior from outside (people we strive to please) rather than from inside (personal values, convictions and vision).
  • Our emotional response to a church event or a difficult relationship issue often does more to raise our anxiety than the event itself.
  • When we refuse to give in to people pleasing, those pushing us to change lose their power over us and over our ministries.
  • A pastor who understands and accepts how God uniquely fashioned him won’t be as motivated to seek others’ approval.
  • We are affected by the emotional influences from our past, and I believe the Bible’s genealogical lists reflect this. The more we learn about generational influences the better we can free ourselves from their unhealthy patterns, especially people pleasing, because it often finds its roots in prior generations.
  • The following family dysfunctions often contribute to people-pleasing patterns: Perfectionistic parents who set the bars so high that their children seldom received affirmation and love from them. Affirmation in these families was conditional. Nagging “oughts” and “shoulds” still whisper in the minds of those children long into adulthood. Being super nice or compliant garnered approval from parents. Pastors who came from these homes subconsciously think that being nice in their churches will likewise make people happy. Growing up in a home where one or both parents were alcoholics. Having parents who excessively doted on their children or extravagantly praised them.
  • When a pastor doesn’t pay attention to the emotional blips in his own soul, he can set himself up for needless pain and diminished leadership effectiveness.
  • A ministry leader’s least healthy responses to anxiety most often show up as emotional reactivity—that is, not being able to restrain emotions.
  • A leader’s mood profoundly influences those around him as people tend to reflect their leader’s tone, whether it’s good or bad.

To see other book notes, click here.

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The Leadership Mirror

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A leader’s mood profoundly influences those around him as people tend to reflect their leader’s tone, whether it’s good or bad. -Charles Stone, from People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval-Motivated Leadership

One of the things many leaders forget is the power of their attitude, presence and words.

Here’s some examples:

  • Chris is a energetic and excited, about everything. He exudes confidence that everything his church attempts will work.
  • When Tim talks to volunteers about his ministry, he downplays how great it is. Instead, he talks about how much of a sacrifice it is to serve, how hard it is.
  • Linda always has a listening ear. No matter who it is, or what the topic, she will listen, give advice, pray with you and then check back in with you.
  • Patrick recently hit a physical wall. He struggled to turn off his phone, take his days off and unplug from ministry. Consequently, he had nothing left to give. While his team picked up the slack as he took a few weeks off, when he arrived back rested and ready to go, he lost several key leaders because they were now too tired.
  • Tom sat in a meeting and threw out an idea. At the time, he didn’t think anything of it or think it would happen. The following Sunday, he walked into the kids ministry and saw signs and decorations up that were exactly like his idea.

Each of these leaders are people I’ve met. What they failed to realize at the time is everything they do reverberates as a leader. In the same way that a skyline reflects in water or a person reflects in a mirror, a ministry, church or team become a reflection of the leader. 

As a leader of an organization, every word you say carries weight, so you have to be careful and wise with your words. -Dave Ramsey

I talked to a children’s pastor recently who told me, “The kids ministry I lead is so bad, I wouldn’t bring my kid to it. There’s no excitement at all.” One of the other pastors looked at him and said, “You’re the leader, fix it. If you don’t like the ministry you lead, you are the only person with the power to fix it. You also have no one else to blame for its lack of excitement or ineffectiveness.”

What many leaders fail to realize is that they hold the power to fix the attitudes, relationships, excitement and movement within their church or ministry.

Given enough time, a church or ministry simply become a reflection of the leader. 

I learned this several years ago when I didn’t manage my emotions well. I got tired and had very little to give. Several months after this episode, when I was starting to feel healthy, I noticed there were others who weren’t handling their emotions well and were burning out from giving too much without rest.

They were reflecting what they saw me do.

This is similar to John Maxwell’s law of the lid. This law states that as a leader, if you are an 8 on a scale of 1-10, you will only attract and keep at best, 7′s. The law of the lid relates to this, in that, no one will be more bought in or excited than the leader. You are the lid for your church.

You as the leader, are also the reflection (humanly speaking) of your ministry.

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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.

book

Mark Driscoll on The 6 kinds of church services and how they impact preaching and worship planning.

Too often a church service is themed theologically, without consideration for the mood emotionally. But getting the mood right is very important. If you don’t, the sermon and the rest of the service won’t align for a journey, but collide like a car wreck.

Rosaria Butterfield on You are what you read.

Michael Hyatt on How millionaires manage their time.

I’ve been lucky enough to interview over 130 millionaires. They know the value of their time, and use it to the best of their ability. I’ve curated the top tips on their time management to help you have more time to work, and more time to play and be with your family. So how do you stay productive when faced with a seemingly endless to-do list? Here are four awesome tips for greater productivity, straight from the millionaires themselves.

The 5 most important questions a church needs to answer.

  • Question 1:  What is Our Mission?
  • Question 2:  Who is Our Customer?
  • Question 3:  What Does the Customer Value?
  • Question 4:  What are Our Results?
  • Question 5:  What is Our Plan?

4 Tips for Starting a Children’s Ministry in a Church Plant.

Church plants are becoming increasingly popular and in the midst of all there is to do, getting your children’s ministry off the ground can tend to slip under the radar. Here are a few practical tips for starting a children’s ministry in your church plant.

People Pleasing Pastors

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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.

book

  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.

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.

book

  1. Leaders need solitude. Here’s why and how to do it.
  2. Acts of kindness for your pastor.
  3. The National (one of my favorite bands) just released their new album and Pitchfork has a great look at the band.
  4. Stop work overload.
  5. Joe Thorn on Reading profitably. I recently blogged about the same thing.
  6. How a leader should respond to criticism. This was timely for me.
  7. My wife Katie just started blogging on my blog, which I think will be helpful for the female readers especially as she has a ton of wisdom. Here’s her first blog post.
  8. Sam Storms on the Cure for spiritual burnout.

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.

book

  1. Charles Stone on Are you a sleep deprived pastor?
  2. 3 questions to help you avoid leadership blind spots.
  3. Gary Molander on When churches lie.
  4. 7 (Honest) Postcards from Churches. These made me laugh.
  5. Dan Black on Leaders are readers. This can’t be said enough.
  6. 10 mistakes young preachers make.
  7. Trevin Wax on The holy spirit. Helpful list of quotes here.
  8. Creating a wow experience for guests at your church. This is a great insight for pastors and churches.

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.

book

  1. Barnabas Piper for those who are tired of the same sex marriage debate.
  2. Mark Hampton on 8 tips for those taking summer missions trips.
  3. Charles Stone on 4 things pastors can do to prepare for the post-easter lull.
  4. Ed Stetzer on How to not waste your Easter spike.
  5. Lou Schuler on His favorite book about weightlifting. I’m pretty interested to read this book.

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
  1. Charles Stone on Six ways to encourage your pastor. As a pastor, encouragement is a lifeline. If you don’t encourage your pastor, you should.
  2. 10 ways a pastor can use twitter to impact his church.
  3. Andy Stanley on 3 keys to creating high performance teams.
  4. 10 lies your kids believe.
  5. Paul David Tripp on 29 things that shape a pastor’s ministry.

Links I Like