January 24, 2013

Fruitful Congregations Journey: Part 2

I was recently asked by a friend and colleague of mine, Pastor Brian Durand (@revbriandurand), who also happens to be the Associate Director of Leadership Development for our conference, which of the Phase 1 books I found most meaningful and/or challenging for our context.

Great question!

Of the 7 different books we read through as a team in Phase 1, I found 2 to be particularly meaningful and challenging for our context. "Direct Hit" by Paul Borden and "The Externally Focused Church" by Rick Rusaw & Eric Swanson.

Paul Borden's book focuses on leaders and leadership development. He encourages pastors in churches that have lost their outward focus to be leaders that bring about systemic change. "Direct Hit" talks about communicating vision and motivating people to embrace a new vision, one that focuses on those "outside" and brings about change. I found this to be meaningful for our context because we struggle as a church (Castleton & Sunrise) to embrace change, which can make it especially easy to pursue the wrong vision.

A few highlights from "Direct Hit"
"Leaders cannot afford to have throw away conversations." (pg 24)

"Attempting and failing is much better than existing as a victim of the system." (pg 122)

"Authority, responsibility, and accountability should be married." (pg 113)

"Many will talk of the need for change while doing everything in their power to inhibit it." (pg 71)

The main reason I found Rusaw & Swanson's book, "The Externally Focused Church," meaningful for our context was because it discusses the need to partner with our surrounding community, which automatically implies we must know our community. We must get to know our community on their terms and turf and stop expecting them to come to us and introduce themselves.

Have you read any of these books? Which did you find most meaningful/challenging and why? 


Zak McIntyre said...

I've read all of the books on your list as part of the Missouri Annual Conference's Southeast District Lay Leadership Development class. Although a very dry book, "Direct Hit" was very impacting, probably more than any of the others. As an institution, I think we must begin to see the church as the launching pad, not as the destination. It's not a country club. Along that line, we must put or most effective lay leaders and clergy in places of great service to the Church, not tasks at the local church. I'm very excited for your church and what the future holds!