books that helped in ministry

7 Practices of Effective Ministry

Strategy. I was handed this book when I was just a part-time intern during college, but I have kept at least two copies in my office ever since. I’m always passing 7 Practices of Effective Ministry on to other ministry leaders! This book is all about strategy—why we do what we do. It has helped me to be intentional in ministry and keep focused on the end goal.

Holy Discontent

Passion. I don’t remember where I picked up this book, but I’ll never forget reading it. Holy Discontent gives some great examples of how God ignites a passion in our hearts that will not go away. It is that issue or cause that keeps you awake at night and calls you into the fight. Hybels labels it our “holy discontent.” The insights of this book have helped me discern God’s call on my life and challenged me to pursue that passion with everything.

Next Generation Leader/Making Vision Stick

Leadership. These two books are made to be read together. Next Generation Leader gives a great blueprint for strong leadership. The tips given in this book are designed to develop a long-lasting leader. Reading this book on leadership with Making Vision Stick really has helped me to survive in ministry and navigate through tough changes.

Let the Nations Be Glad

Perspective. I love John Piper and his zeal for Christ. Let the Nations Be Glad provides a great perspective for any Christian, but especially those in vocational ministry. The book can be summed up from Piper’s quote of the Westminster Confession of Faith: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Even when ministry gets hard and distracting, it is great to know and understand that God created me to glorify and enjoy Him!

BoyOrGirlI don’t think I’ve officially announced it to those of you that follow this blog, but my wife is pregnant with our 2nd child! We are really excited about adding to our family, and this week is a special week.

On Friday, we will have an ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby. When it comes to guessing “boy or girl,” everyone has an opinion. So, I figured why not take a vote!

Cast your vote by leaving a comment below with Boy or Girl. I will tall the results before tomorrow appointment, and then we’ll announce the “correct answer.”

Here is Maggie making the big announcement to our families a couple of months back. (FYI, Dana, Maggie, and I believe it is a Boy. But of course, we’re happy either way!)

Big Sister

The Thoughts of Babies

October 31, 2012 — Leave a comment

This is a very interesting video about the theory of learning in babies. The speaker, Alison Gopnik, introduces the idea that babies and young children are like the research and development division of a company, and adults are more like the production and marketing. Infants are exploring and processing information, making and testing hypotheses, and storing data for future use. Adults are much more focused on taking that information and applying it in practical ways. In short, our focus makes us less creative and less inquisitive about the world around us.

As a parent of a 2-year-old, this video was fascinating because I see this behavior every day. It helps me to understand what’s really going on inside her head when I think there is nothing much in there!

As someone who works with preteens, this video helps me think about how we can help preteens to be more inquisitive and creative like younger children. I spend a lot of time trying to get preteens to do “grown up” thinking, but how do we encourage them to think in the other direction?

13.1 Miles Behind Me

October 30, 2012 — 1 Comment

Soaring Wings Half Marathon I did it. I finished the 13.1 miles and the 40-Day Challenge. Here’s how the day went:

The Start:

As I randomly stepped into line with over 1600 people to start the race, I realized I was standing next to two volunteers from our preteen ministry! The beginning of the race was by far the most nerve-wracking, so it was so calming to see friends and be encouraged.

Mile 3:

I passed under a bridge that was a later part of the course. As I was suffering through Mile 3, I looked up and saw the lead group breezing by on Mile 6! It was a very humbling experience.

Mile 5:

A 12-year old boy caught up to me and asked what distance we’d run so far. I told him that we were just past Mile 5, and then he said to me, “Hmm, I thought we had run a lot further than that.” Then, he took off ahead of me with little effort. Again, a very humbling experience.

Mile 8:

I passed a spectator who was holding a sign that read, “Keep Going! The end isn’t even close! It’s still far, far away” The reality of that statement really did make me laugh and it eased the pain just a little.

Mile 11:

I realized that I was actually going to finish. Not only that, but I was ahead of the 2 hour 15 minute pace group, so I was way ahead of my predicted time. I started to work that my family wouldn’t make it to the finish line by the time I crossed it.

Mile 12:

I decided that I was going to sprint to the finish line. I looked at the runners ahead of me and picked out an “enemy.” I determined that I was going to beat that person, and I pushed the last half-mile to do so. I was really pleased when I crossed the line a split second ahead of the 56 & 59-year old ladies. Take that!

Soaring Wings Half Marathon

The whole idea was about challenging myself and learning from the experience. I finished the race in 2 hours 12 minutes 28 seconds. It was a great experience that has really spurred me to take care of myself physically.

After the race, I told my wife, “Now, the goal is to not stop. I need to keep running and get better so that the next time is easier.” That statement is so true for all areas of life.

I wrote last week about looking for my next challenge. God has already starting stirring something inside of me and I can’t wait to share more about that challenge.