This is another book that our staff is reading in order to better serve those who are part of our church. The first part is a story about a pastor skipping a board meeting to go to a baseball game. While attending the game he observes the way the baseball players act and decides that what he is seeing may actual benefit his church.
The second half of the book is breaking down those practices. While I know nothing about baseball (I played a baseball player for church once), these practices are phenomenal. We did these things at my last church and here at Liquid and we are seeing success through these practices. The practices are:
- Clarify the Win – Define what’s important at every level of the organization.
- Think Steps, not programs – Before you start anything, make sure it takes you where you need to go.
- Narrow the Focus – Do fewer things in order to make a greater impact.
- Teach less for more – Say only what you need to say to the people who need to hear it.
- Listen to Outsiders – Focus on who you’re trying to reach, not who you’re trying to keep.
- Replace Yourself – Lean to hand off what you do.
- Work on it – Take time to evaluate your work–and celebrate your wins.
What challenged me:
Teaching less for more was challenging. My goal as a preacher is that I would like to preach through the entire bible, every book, every chapter, every paragraph and every sentence. But the challenge laid out in this section is that while ALL OF SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED not all of scripture is IMPORTANT or APPLICABLE.
This can be challenging to a lot of expository preachers. But before you start to disagree and rip into this, think about it. When we read through the Levitical laws, how important or applicable are they? While Leviticus teaches us about the holiness of ‘otherness’ of God; there are other passages with that same level of reverence but more applicable for our time and place.
While I understand the point of this, I still wrestle with this. Is there a way we can make those harder to preach passages able to connect with post-Christian audiences? Maybe, but I haven’t figured it out yet. But I was left to ponder this after reading it.
Who Are you Investing in?
Replace yourself. Since I started ministry, my heart has always been to empower the next generation. Find students and young adults who can lead. I’m seeking ways to make this happen more in the ministry I’m currently leading. I was actually challenged recently to not replace myself, but to actually find ways to invest in others younger than me.
I think church leaders and teams should read through this book and wrestle with some of the implications that it brings up. It would be worth it for you and your leadership.