LEADERSHIP AND READING IN BALANCE
READ WELL, FEED WELL, LIVE STRONG
You’ve heard it said: “Leaders are readers.” For church leaders, reading through a balance of disciplines is a must. We must overcome a natural tendency to tilt our input toward the imbalance of our natural bias. That would be akin to bodybuilders who focus purely on doing bench presses but neglect their legs. The result? Gargantuan upsides with gawky downsides. That is called disproportion or imbalance. The same thing can happen with diet. Too much fast food, though quick and tasty, will produce unhealthy bodies. That said, I try to read in the following areas for the good of Christ’s body:
As Senior Pastor of a church, I am team leader of an organization so I read to grow in the discipline of leadership. The tendency for Pastors can be to read only in areas of bible knowledge and theology. As vital as that is, organizational leadership is an entirely different skill set. A church is more than a classroom.
Just a few suggestions: VISIONEERING (Andy Stanley), COURAGEOUS LEADERSHP & AXIOM (Bill Hybels), THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE (Kouzes & Posner), EYEWITNESS TO POWER (David Gergen), BUILT TO LAST & GOOD TO GREAT (Jim Collins), FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM & THE ADVANTAGE (Pat Lencioni) STICKY TEAMS & STICKY LEADERS (Larry Osborne) and STEERING THROUGH CHAOS (Scott Wilson). Leadership Pain (Sam Chand) is also a must read.
Jesus’ last words was clearly for us to “Go, make disciples.” In light of that, here are a few reads topping my list: WIKI CHURCH and THE MULTIPLICATION CHALLENGE (Steve Murrell), MAKING DISCIPLES & YOUR CHURCH CAN MULTIPLY (Ralph Moore), THE MULTIPLYING CHURCH (Bob Roberts), THE LEGO PRINCIPLE (Joey Bonifacio), and the vintage classic, DISCIPLES ARE MADE, NOT BORN (Leroy Eims). I also recommend MOVEMENTS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD & WHAT JESUS STARTED by Steve Addison., CENTERCHURCH (Tim Keller) and THE RADICAL WESLEY by Howard Snyder.
At its core, all of life boils down to loving God and loving people. (Matthew 22:37-39). Relationships account for life’s greatest joys and deepest troubles. Among other solid reads, here’s what’s helped me: INTEGRITY, NECESSARY ENDINGS, THE POWER OF OTHER (Henry Cloud); BEYOND BOUNDARIES & LOVING PEOPLE (John Townsend); BOUNDARIES & BOUNDARIES FACE TO FACE (Cloud & Townsend), BAIT OF SATAN (John Bevere), THE DNA OF RELATIONSHIPS (Gary Smalley), and FIT TO BE TIED (Bill & Lynne Hybels).
This category I relate to readings that are more doctrinal-theological in nature. Of these, there is no end. Rehearse foundational truth in your soul regularly and doctrinal drift can be discerned quickly. In Ephesians 4 the Apostle Paul warned of “every wind of doctrine” floating through the body and as has happened in every generation, it is happening today. While there is no replacement for the direct intake of God’s Word, these are supplements that help anchor us to his timeless truth.
Though not written lavishly, Kevin Conner’s BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINES, INTERPRETING THE SCRIPTURES and THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, along with RT Kendall's simple three volumes of UNDERSTANDING THEOLOGY lay a good foundation, along with BASIC CHRISTIANITY (John Stott) and EXPLORE THE BOOK (J. Sidlow Baxter). A little heavier reading concerning theology include SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (Wayne Grudem), GREAT DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE (Martyn Lloyd Jones) and SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (Norman Geisler).
One final word: read widely. Read biographies and history to cull lessons from those who have gone before us, and read from life’s various domains to frame cultural context. Currently I am working through TEAM OF RIVALS (Doris Kearns), THE UNSTUCK CHURCH (Tony Morgan), QB by Steve Young (yes, the Mormon football guy) and START WITH WHY (Simon Sinek). I know. What a mix: history, politics, sports and business. But it is part of the world we live in so it enlarges me. Do what works for you and go for it. Read beyond. It will help you relate beyond.