It is a major responsibility of a pastor to continue growing so that his congregation can benefit and grow as well. It’s widely accepted that a leader who isn’t growing is leading an organization that isn’t growing. For me, like many pastors, reading is a primary path to growth for me. I have set a goal to read 4500 pages this year. To that end, I have had a reading and studying schedule for many years to be intentional about my growth – building on strengths and shoring up weaknesses. I revamped it recently because I have transitioned into being a church planter. My new schdule looks like this;
Outside of my regular, daily. Bible and devotional reading, the first 50 pages I read are categorized by day:
- Mondays: I read the Bible as a part of my read through the whole Bible for the rest of my life plan.
- Tuesdays: Sermon Background and Preparation
- Wednesdays: Leadership and/or Preaching
- Thursdays: Theology and/or Research (Commentaries, Scholarship, etc.)
- Fridays: Fictional and/or Christian Living Inspirational
- Weekends: Open to whatever needs attention
Currently, these are the books I am reading for these categories:
- Mondays: The Message Paraphrase from Eugene Peterson, a mentor-from-afar
- Tuesdays: N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, specifically for October, weeks 3 and 4
- Wednesdays: Dave Gibbons, The Monkey and The Fish, new author for me, never read
- Thursdays: Larry Shelton, Cross & Covenant, recommended by another pastor I respect
- Fridays: Anne Rice, Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, the second in the series
I heard about Francis Chan long before I ever heard or read him directly. A pastor who was actually honest about the struggle of biblical church leadership in America. It sounds ridiculous, but pastors and church leaders face the temptation of pragmatism (instead of biblicity) in order to grow their church, their influence and their career. It’s not that the pastors have evil motives; it’s just that following the Jesus of the Bible is so radical that many church-goers would rather not.
Chan’s book, Crazy Love, is stellar. It challenges, encourages and basically dares you to take the leap required to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. Being religious, following the right list of do’s and do-not’s simply will not bring the full life that Jesus offers. Neither will it be attractive to the 90% of people in America who claim to know a Christian. If following Jesus is the best life possible, why aren’t those people noticing it in the Christians they know?
Chan tackles these issues without being condemning. He offers help and encouragement. This book is wonderfully uplifting for Christians who deeply desire to live for Jesus.
Here’s some fly quotes, with page numbers:
- 20, “…I’ve never felt more alive, and neither has Cornerstone Church. It’s exhilarating to be part of a group of believers who are willing to think biblically rather than conventionally, to be part of a body where radical living is becoming the norm.”
- 30, quoting Tozer, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us…”
- 42, “Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional” (Tell me that’s not conviction!!)
- 68, “The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don’t swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered. That’s for the “radicals” who are “unbalanced” and who go “overboard.” Most of us want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering.”
- 84, “To put it plainly, churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven.”
That last quote is so awesomely dangerous. Go ahead, pick up this book, you won’t regret it.
pages read= 186 ~ year to date= 4734 ~ 2009 goal=9,000 ~ (53%)
weekend in review: well, this didn’t get up until Tuesday. I am having terrible computer problems – it’s pretty frustrating.
However, the weekend was great. We had the Grove commissioning service. It was funny how many people said, “Big Day!” to me. My mind is so on September already, and even October that I wasn’t thinking that much about August. At the same time, I did stay up till 4:30 polishing my little ten-minute talk. It went off really well. I even got to make fun of the haters! I so need that “I heart haters” tee that we saw last month.
I think from the weekend I feel very affirmed by the Holy Spirit in what we are doing. I know that sounds weird to most people, but I really feel assured that God is going before us and that we are simply following.
On a shallower note, I watched m.Night’s “The Happening” late on Sunday. 2 hours I will never get back. It’s totally just “An Inconvenient Truth” with more suicides. Not his best work.
on my list this week: A lot of administration. I also have another coaching session with Nelson Searcy and Darrell. So, I have to get homework done for that. Apparently I am also destined to spend oodles of time working with tech support from India. I love India. I hope someday I get to visit there.
current books: Surprised by Hope, by NT Wright. I finished off Crazy Love really quickly. I’ll have to post on it here.
current writing: sermons and emails. I spend more time every day communicating as a church planter than anything else. IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE!
culture that’s caught me: There’s some interesting discussion on worship music over at my friend Colby’s blog. Check it out.
how i’m feeling about this week: great – taking care of details so we can rock on Sept. 13th!
quote for the week: “Britney Spears graduated high school – did you?” ~me, winning an argument with an 8 yr. old girl
running report: none. But I will someday…