Entries Tagged 'Books' ↓

Leadership Mentors

20120726-132517.jpgThis morning one of our team pastors asked me a brilliant question. He asked if I could share with him the 5 leaders that have inspired me most and the 3 resources from each that I would recommend. I love this question for two reasons; firstly it tells me that here is a young man who recognises that in order to develop as a leader he doesn’t just need more leadership opportunities, he needs leadership wisdom & input, and secondly he recognises that leaders get their inspiration from other leaders too.I don’t know of any leader that stands alone, uninspired by the many great leaders around them. Even the most influential leaders of our day will gladly share the source of their inspiration.

So here they are (and can I just say, narrowing it down to 15 resources was really hard … so I cheated, along with those I’ve included some “honourable mentions” that I’d also highly recommend for any aspiring leader). And do yourself a favour, subscribe to every one of them on twitter too.

John Maxwell – (@JohnCMaxwell) – it’s not just cliché to have John Maxwell on your shelf, it’s critical.

Andy Stanley (@AndyStanley) – is the man when it comes to communicating leadership principles in plain language. His leadership strategies and principles are brilliant.

Perry Noble (@perrynoble) – perhaps not as well known (yet!) as Stanley or Maxwell, but Perry pulls no punches when it comes to communicating leadership truths. plus, he has a cool name.

  • Leadership Podcast – subscribe on iTunes – Listen to all of these … then listen to them again!
  • Leadership Blog – he writes about once a week and it’s all worth reading.
  • New book coming out Sept: Unleash (will be freaking awesome)

Bill Hybels (@BillHybels) – Hybels is just solid when it comes to leadership principles – a great source of inspiration for personal leadership development

  • Book – Axiom – such an easy read, Leadership ‘proverbs’
  • Book – Courageous Leadership
  • any of Hybels books are worth getting, e.g., Volunteer Revolution, The Power of a Whisper

Seth Godin (@sethgodin) – Entrepeneur and marketplace strategist. A Christian, but doesn’t write for Christians only. His marketplace insight translates directly into principles for church leadership.

  • Book – Tribes – this book changed the way I think about leadership
  • Book – Linchpin -
  • Blog – Short and Frequent, the way a good leadership blog should be.

Other resources, leaders and sources of inspiration.

Ok, this was everything else that should be on that list. All in all, these books podcasts and blogs have inspired me over the past 5 years to pursue leadership as something that I must constantly, and consistently develop. I don’t have time to include all the links for these, just google them, read what others have said about them, and then put them on your “to read” list

Jim Collins – Good to Great
Catalyst Podcast
Rick Warren – Purpose Driven Church
Steven Furtick – New Book – Greater
Craig Groeschel – It
Geoff Manion – The land between
Wayne Cordiero – Leading on Empty
J. Oswald Chambers – Spiritual Leadership
Tony Morgan – tonymorganlive.com – blog
Andy Stanley – Making Vision Stick, & Next Generation Leader
John Maxwell – Developing the Leader Within You, & The Complete 101 Collection

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The Year of Living Like Jesus

yearoflivinglikejesusThis week I started a new book by Pastor Ed Dobson from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I first heard of Ed while listening to some podcasts from Mars Hill (Rob Bell) and he was a guest preacher.  Although he can sometimes appear dry & monotone he has a way of capturing amazingly difficult concepts and simplifying them for the church – a real modern day parable-izer!  And first impressions are usually wrong, the more I listened to Ed the more I liked his preaching style, his humour is slightly above the average IQ level so you’ll often hear the majority of the crowd go “Ohhh..” a few seconds after a funny remark – maybe owing to his Irish heritage.  I always preferred English/Irsih comedy – it requires a bit more brain activity than the usual sit-com drivel.

But on to the book.  Fortunately his writing style matches equally his spoken communication style (funny how some preachers just shouldn’t try writing!). It’s written in a daily-journal format and is essentially his journey for a year as he tries to capture the essence of Jesus-living by acting/speaking/thinking the way Jesus would have.  More interesting than reading about how he interprets certain ‘Jesus-Living’ customs and actions from scripture though, is his wrestling with how to apply those ideas in a modern, western society and the discovery of the principles that drive them.

This more than anything is what has appealed to me about this book.  I’ve always believed that it’s more important to discover the principles behind biblical narratives and ideas and learn how to apply those in every day living rather than taking at face value the words on the page and trying to wrestle your situation into that very contextual concept.  I wholeheartedly believe that is why most ‘faiths’ turn into ‘religions’, because they don’t understand this.

But, this is no new way of doing things.  In fact it’s a very Jewsih thing to do.  A Rabbi would sit his students down and quiz them on the Torah (life instruction book), he would do it by using everyday situations and asking them how they would apply Torah.  If he thought they had not understood the principle behind the law he would say “you have abolished (not fully understood) the Torah (Law)”, but if they were able to correctly apply a written concept to a modern situation he would say “you have fulfilled (understood the principle of) the Torah (Law).  And what did Jesus say?  ”I have not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it”.  In other words, “I have not arrived on the scene without a complete understanding of how to apply Godly living to everyday life, but in fact I understand the pricinple’s behind EVERY written concept and am able to not only talk about them but show you how to live them and how you have been created and empowered to be able to live them too.

For me, it’s that thought behind this book that is challenging and inspiring me the most.  So, onto a quote:

“I like your beard,” he said.  ”How long you been growing it?”
“I started January first of this year.  I’ll let it grow until December thirty-first, and then I’ll cut it.”
“Why you growing it?”
This was the opportunity I’d been looking for.
“I made a commitment on January first to spend the whole year trying to live like Jesus.  So the beard is part of the gig.”
“A year of living like Jesus? What does that mean?”
“Well, I’m a Jesus follower.  I decided to devote a year to focusing on Jesus and his teachings. So I’m eating kosher, observing the sabbath, growing a beard, and observing Jewish feasts and festivals. I’m reading the the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, every week. I’m trying to obey all of Jesus’ teachings.”
At this point you could see the shock come over the bartender’s face.  I suspect he’d served beer to thousands of people, but I doubt anyone had ever said, “I’m tring to live like Jesus.”
After staring at me for a few moments and gathering his thoughts, he continued: “Dude, that’s unbelievable. So what are you learning?”
We talked about Jesus and his teachings between his serving other people at the bar.  He kept coming back for more conversation.  Later, as I drove home, I thought, Who’s going to reach out and touch that bartender? Certainly not the most conservative Christians. They’d never walk into a bar.
Every time I went back, which I did often, the bartender would introduce me to others at the bar: “This guy with the beard is trying to follow Jesus this year.”  As a result I had many wonderful opportunities to talk about my journey with all sorts of people.  I discovered that most people at the bar were interested in Jesus, but they were not interested in the church or religion. Even though I’m a pastor, that didn’t seem to matter.  What mattered was my personal journey in trying to follow Jesus’ teachings.

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