Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? (New York: Penguin Group, 2010)

Seth Godin posts on his website 365 days a year. About once a month he comes up with a classic, worth saving to a PDF, categorizing, tagging, and saving. If you are not already subscribed to his blog, I recommend it: Seth Godin

The featured book of the quarter is Linchpin.

Here are “mustard seeds” I highlighted:

Is there anyone in an organization who is absolutely irreplaceable? Probably not. But the most essential people are so difficult to replace, so risky to lose, and so valuable that they might as well be irreplaceable. Entire corporations are built around a linchpin, or more likely, a scattering of them, essential individuals who are worth holding on to (page 49). Kindle Edition.

Art, at least art as I define it, is the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change in another person. How and where you do that art is a cultural choice in the moment. No one wrote novels a thousand years ago. No one made videos thirty years ago. No one Twittered poetry three years ago (page 99). Kindle Edition.

Successful people are successful for one simple reason: they think about failure differently. Successful people learn from failure, but the lesson they learn is a different one. They don’t learn that they shouldn’t have tried in the first place, and they don’t learn that they are always right and the world is wrong and they don’t learn that they are losers. They learn that the tactics they used didn’t work or that the person they used them on didn’t respond. You become a winner because you’re good at losing. The hard part about losing is that you might permit it to give strength to the resistance, that you might believe that you don’t deserve to win, that you might, in some dark corner of your soul, give up. Don’t (page 115). Kindle Edition.

Going out of your way to find uncomfortable situations isn’t natural, but it’s essential (page 116). Kindle Edition.

The road to comfort is crowded and it rarely gets you there. Ironically, it’s those who seek out discomfort that are able to make a difference and find their footing (pages 115, 116). Kindle Edition.

Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they’re busy hiding out in the comfortable zone. When your uncomfortable actions lead to success, the organization rewards you and brings you back for more (page 116). Kindle Edition.

When someone says to me, “I don’t have any good ideas . . . I’m just not good at that,” I ask them, “Do you have any bad ideas?” Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. Finding good ideas is surprisingly easy once you deal with the problem of finding bad ideas. All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you’re unwilling to have lousy, lame, and even dangerously bad ideas (pages 116, 117). Kindle Edition.

One way to become creative is to discipline yourself to generate bad ideas. The worse the better. Do it a lot and magically you’ll discover that some good ones slip through (page 117). Kindle Edition.

You’d think that the biggest self-doubt would be that something you’re working on might fail. And no doubt, many of us lie awake, filled with anxiety about big failures. Consider the argument that it’s just as likely you hold back out of fear that something might work. If it works, then you have to do it. Then you have to do it again. Then you have to top it. If it works, your world changes. There are new threats and new challenges and new risks. That’s world-class frightening (page 121). Kindle Edition.

We assign motivations and plots and vendettas where there are none. Those angry customers didn’t wake up this morning deciding to ruin your day, not at all. They’re just angry. It’s not personal and it’s not rational and it certainly isn’t about whether or not you deserve it. It just is. So now what are you going to do about it? When our responses turn into reactions and we set out to teach people a lesson, we lose. We lose because the act of teaching someone a lesson rarely succeeds at changing them, and always fails at making our day better, or our work more useful (page 178). Kindle Edition.

Humility is our antidote to what’s inevitably not going to go according to plan. Humility permits us to approach a problem with kindness and not arrogance. But humility is not the same as compliance. Humility doesn’t mean meekness or fitting in at all costs. Compliance feels like a shortcut to humility because it permits us to deny responsibility for whatever goes wrong. But compliance deprives you of your superpower; it robs you of the chance to make something better. The challenge, then, is to be the generous artist, but do it knowing that it just might not work. And that’s okay (page 224). Kindle Edition.


Creating Biblical Leaders: By God’s Design (Tacoma, Washington: Agape Publishing, 2008)

What material can help you encourage men to be leaders in the church and develop and mature those serving?

If someone should ask me to suggest a book for a Bible study to encourage shepherds and train future elders, I would recommend Creating Biblical Leaders: By God’s Design, by Dr. Ken Wilson.

Dr. Ken Wilson has preached for decades, served as a professional Christian counselor, and now serves as an elder in the church at Puyallup, Washington.

Here are some “mustard seeds” I highlighted as I read the book:

Biblical leaders also have to be willing to rise above their environment. I believe that leaders can be classified in two ways: REACTIONARY and VISIONARY. Visionary leaders are not satisfied with the status quo. Visionary leaders not only deal with the immediate problems, they also actively lead in new horizons of future planning. They are pro-active as opposed to re-active.

Reactionary leaders really do not lead at all; they just react and put out fires (page 2).

Visionary Leaders are not people who are always on the cutting edge of change. They are leaders who perceive problems before they occur and search for solutions in order to avoid problems (page 3).

As we begin to define biblical leadership, we cannot neglect the Lord’s admonition that leaders must be servants! The authoritarian approach leads to the formulation of institutionalism. Webster defines the word institutional as “the characteristic of, being instituted; or to institutions, rather than individuals.” The tendency of some church leaders today is to direct the church towards being an institution. This is reflected in the slow and subtle decisions being made when leaders are shifting the emphasis from evangelism and church growth to presenting the church as an entertainment center (page 3).

There is a sharp contrast between spiritual and secular leadership. The secular leader is concerned about the worker reaching maximum production for the institution. The Christian leader is concerned about the worker reaching maximum potential in the Lord. The concept of effectiveness is not seen in the power of management skills in the biblical model, but in utilizing the resources of people and their ideas. True spiritual leaders meet the needs of people as they work at accomplishing their tasks. Biblical leaders should be required to solve problems, not create them (Acts 6: 1–6) (page 4)!

If there is poor communication, lack of commitment, and a lack of unity in the congregation, it is because these same deficiencies are found in the leaders as well (page 5).

It is evident today that we do not need leaders who do nothing but call the shots. Such leadership models fail because they are not biblical. Instead, we need leaders who, by their shepherding and modeling of service, stimulate the church to develop servant minds and servant hearts. This is the key to church growth and spiritual maturity (page 6).

Biblical shepherding influences for good and is powerful. Biblical shepherding can best be described as the ability of one person to influence another for good. The relational model of leadership allows for creativity in workers, because of the relationship and trust factor. The positional model of leadership does not encourage creativity in the workers. A positional leader is easily threatened by the imagination and creativity of those who are allowed, as workers, to own the process of ministry and be empowered by it (page 11).

Let me reiterate the fact that the elders/shepherds in a congregation have God-given authority, and that is not a question of dispute, but how they exercise that authority is the issue. There is a pattern in the New Testament for the qualifications of eiders/deacons, for the selection of elders/deacons in the congregation, and how authority is to be exercised (I Peter 5: 1–4). The pattern is identifiable and significant (page 25).

To see the pattern, let’s note the similarities, yet important differences, when comparing the practice of many congregations today with the early church, in reference to the selection of elders/deacons, the early church leaders asked the congregation to submit names of possible candidates for the specific work of leaders (Acts 6:1–6). If this was indeed the pattern established for all churches, it is a practice that is not often seen today. The New Testament pattern stipulates that the congregation he involved in the selection process, rather than the current elders selecting new elders or deacons, with the congregation merely ratifying the decision. Put simply, the primary responsibility for selecting new leaders depends, not on existing leadership alone, but on the Church as a whole (page 26).

If deacons do not exercise leadership and delegate responsibility, they will be limited in the ministry to accomplishing only what they can do themselves, thus limiting the church, as well (page 34).

Anyone who steps into the arena of leadership must be prepared to pay a price. True leadership exacts a heavy toll on the whole person — and the more effective the leadership, the higher the price (Nehemiah 4: 1 –23)!

God’s will was not for the wall to be built without opposition. He does not direct us to the road of least resistance. The success of the project, so far, evoked opposition, which builds character in leadership, even if it lacked admiration in those w, ho oppose. The heart of the habitual critic resists change. Every leader must develop the ability to measure the value of the worth of criticism (page 54).

We seem not to want to do what Jesus told us to do, when we have problems with our brethren. All these behaviors directly contradict vs hat Jesus taught when he said, Go to the person who has done something to you that you believe is wrong, and tell him about the situation. In families, this approach can replace nagging or bantering with effective results. It would seem that the same result would come from our brethren doing what Jesus told us to do (page 81).

Most leaders consider it crucial to defend themselves when they are criticized. They feel that they have to prove that the criticism is totally wrong, and that they have been sadly misunderstood. They feel that the response they made was correct and reasonable, and that the other person is a poor judge, who has no right to criticize anyway. So they argue and plead their case or attack the critic, probably because of their fear of looking less authoritative or capable as a leader. What remains in the end is anger and strained relationships. Rarely do people handle criticism effectively or biblically.

There is the presupposition that the critic is wrong, that we have been terribly misunderstood, and that we will not survive another minute, unless we set things right, or prove the critic wrong. None of these common views are true. Strange as it may seem, much of the criticism is usually correct. Not always, but often. Not entirely correct, but correct enough in a large measure. Occasionally, of course, the critic is totally wrong (page 81).

I have observed that, in situations where the elders operate as positional leaders, the problems between preachers and elders are exacerbated. In such cases, elders often operate as employers, treating the preacher as an employee. In this situation, there is very little team work or cooperation, and the elders often fear that the preacher won’t respect their position as elders. The elders give the orders and expect the preacher to obey them. An atmosphere of intimidation results when there is a lack of respect for the distinctive works of elders and preachers.

Having observed elders who operate in a relational mindset, it is evident that they consider the preacher a member of the team. When leaders have a relational mindset, neither the elders nor the preacher have a hidden agenda. With this mindset, there is no sense, on the part of the elders or the preacher, that there is any threat or competition. There is only the willingness to support and encourage one another in the great work of saving lost souls and keeping the saved, saved.

Everyone benefits from this kind of cooperative attitude; the elders, the preacher, and the congregation. Remember that biblical leaders are called to meet the needs of their followers. Elders should be concerned about the needs of preachers, and preachers should be concerned about the needs of the elders (page 88).

“When a movement develops around a dominant personality, the real test of the quality of his leadership is the manner in which the work survives the crisis of his removal.” (Oswald Chambers) We need mentors in the church to show us how to deal with anger, how to show compassion, how to live with disappointment, how to live with grief, how to do evangelism, and how to lead people to greater heights of spiritual growth (page 114).

Biblical leaders are not above making bad decisions in personal relationships in the Church. They can make bad decisions, due to faulty interpretations based on the lies they may be telling themselves, and when they do, they must be accountable. One of the weaknesses of elderships, in some cases, is the reluctance to acknowledge their own mistakes or sins and accept accountability. The tendency is for elders to support one another and not call each other to be accountable. What develops, then, is what I call the bunker mentality, where the leaders or elders begin to circle the wagons. They begin to perceive threats to their authority, and they then see others as the enemy, resorting to a controlling style of leadership that threatens and polarizes the members of the congregation. There must be a check and balance system in place that requires members and leaders to willingly confess their faults to one another (James 5:16). I am not talking about a calculated witch hunt, but a transparency among leaders that allows them to model accountability to their followers, as their followers demand accountability of them (pages 125, 126).

Creating a Healthier Church (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1996)

It’s the fifth Tuesday. Here is a book I’ve found helpful in understanding groups: churches, families, businesses, and softball teams.

The following are some of the “mustard seeds” I highlighted as I read:

In the systems model, there is recognition of the connections between people. It says that people can only be understood fully within the context of their relationships. No one lives or acts in isolation, and we are all affected by each other’s behavior (Kindle Locations 246, 247).

One of the keys to functioning in a healthy manner as a church is for the leaders to look at the church as a system rather than as a collection of isolated people (Kindle Locations 259-260).

Walter Lippmann once said, “When all think alike, no one thinks very much” (Kindle Location 1277).

When the situation calls for it, people with a well-differentiated sense of their own individuality have the ability and, especially, the courage to stand alone, without any emotional support from others and without needing praise or recognition for what they do. They do not fear criticism, seek to avoid it, or look for approval and support port for the positions they take. They do not need the cooperation of others in order to be a solid self.
This does not mean they will never feel the “loneliness” of abandonment; it simply means they will not be governed by it (Kindle Locations 1339-1342).

Aloneness is not a goal for the better differentiated person. But we recognize that this could be the possible outcome of our actions and are not surprised by it. When acting on our principles and beliefs, and being true to our own understanding of what God asks of us, we may feel very alone; no one may support us; they may even mock us for our beliefs.
There is a kind of aloneness we may seek. That is solitude. We do not seek this sort of time apart from others reactively, against others, but proactively, as a way to clarity our own thinking, beliefs, goals, values, and so forth, in order that we can better connect with people. Solitude is about getting to know ourselves better, so we are clearer about what we have to bring to others. Solitude is a way to cultivate perspective and objectivity (Kindle Locations 1346-1351).

There is a time to lend a hand to a child learning to walk and a time to not take the child’s hand. This has as much to do with the parent’s anxiety about the child falling as with the child’s desire and ability to walk (Kindle Locations 1605, 1606).

So as Christians we want to he sensitive to those times when others are in genuine need so we can respond. But, it is uncaring and inappropriate to function consistently for others when they can manage for themselves, even if they want us to function for them and tell us we are “uncaring” if we don’t (Kindle Locations 1609-1611).

Underfunctioners will be slow to claim their competence in the presence of overfunctioners. They will tend to act as if they don’t know how to do much of anything. It is easier just to be dependent and let others worry about our wants and seek ways to fulfill them for us. We can get angry at them when they fail to guess correctly about our needs, and this stimulates them to work harder on our behalf. (Kindle Locations 1620-1622).

While overfunctioning is often regarded as the act of committed and caring leaders, it is not good for any of the parties. The more people overfunction in the church, the more all suffer from issues of confused responsibility. The clearer members and leaders can be about who is responsible for what, the better the congregation as a whole will function (Kindle Locations 1623-1625).

People who regularly take responsibility for the functioning and well-being of others (rescuers) are the ones who often end up with a breakdown, physically or emotionally, or they burn out and have to drop out (Kindle Locations 1661, 1662).

Differentiating yourself within the group often does not lead to praise from the group but to a negative reaction at first. This reaction is related to the challenge people experience when someone takes a new position within the emotional system. Your new position has an unbalancing effect on the group mobile. It may “feel” wrong to those close to you, and they will react, saying that you are wrong or bad or crazy and that you must change back to how you used to be (Kindle Locations 2224-2226).

Leaders Who Last: sustaining yourself and your ministry (New York, New York: Seabury Books, 2009)


Leaders Who Last is a good introduction to Family Systems or Bowen Theory. It’s easily understood. I’ve read it with the staffs of two congregations where I’ve done interim ministry. Family Systems is the best explanation I know of how groups work. For my summary of Family Systems, read this post and the five that follow: What (Who) Is the Problem? can we fix it quickly?

Here are some “mustard seeds” from this book, Leaders Who Last:

Lasting as a leader does not mean finding an easy way to do it: there is no easy way. We will always face setbacks and discouragements, and at times we will throw up our hands in despair. But as we persevere, we will also find times for satisfaction faction and celebration. (Kindle Locations 69-71).

Human systems, too, both families and larger groups, achieve a certain balance over time. There is an interdependency among the parts.When one part makes a change, even a positive change, it upsets the balance. The other parts will try to restore the balance. If a leader charts a substantive course forward, parts of the system automatically push back, attempting to restore the balance. To make real progress, one must stay on course in the face of reactions that amount to unintentional sabotage. (Kindle Locations 146-149).

It is important to remember “the presence of the past,” as scientist Rupert Sheldrake calls it. Patterns are established over time, and old problems (and old solutions) of a congregation are likely to crop up again. The past need not determine the future, but if we ignore it, we are more likely to be tripped up by it, as powerful patterns persist without our awareness. Better to be curious, to look for the threads that continue and experiment with ways we might claim and use them without being governed by them. (Kindle Locations 265-268).

Change is evolutionary, not revolutionary. As a pastor, I developed oped a mantra: “Everything takes five years.” Substantial developments in congregational life, the kind that will last, take even longer. (Kindle Locations 341-342).

When we unconsciously act from our family script, our choices are limited. It tells us how to be angry, or how to hide, or how to protect others. We learned our lines as soon as we learned to talk. (Kindle Locations 375-376).

When you are more motivated for people to change than they are, then you have a problem-and they have all the power. The more they resist, the more you get sucked in. The more energy you spend trying to change them, the more things stay the same. This is equally true in a marriage, in parenting, or in leading a choir, a church, a judicatory, or a denomination. (Kindle Locations 603-605).

Churches, like families, can view money as a weapon, as evil, as emotionally fraught, as dangerous, as scarce, as a possession. A more neutral, open view of money sees it as a resource, a tool, an opportunity, a gift. This neutrality makes it easier to make decisions that can benefit the future of the family and its members-and the church and its members. (Kindle Locations 1003-1006).

We simply have to tough it out sometimes, and remember that things will settle down if we can keep our heads. Courage does not mean we are not anxious or afraid, but that we can act in spite of our fear. Instead of being surprised by crisis, we can simply be prepared for the fact that we have a hard job, and crises are going to arise. (Kindle Locations 1201-1203).

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2016)

A few years ago I received a request to lead a workshop on how to set and achieve goals in a church.

I asked the person requesting the appointment if the elders and preachers set goals as individuals. He replied in the negative.

I told him I wouldn’t ask the congregation to do something their leaders weren’t doing. I asked if they’d like to learn how to set and work toward goals as individuals. If that was helpful to them, they’d be ready to encourage others to join them in a practical discipline.

I’ve been setting written goals since 1971. I haven’t reached every goal, but I think I’ve accomplished more than if I’d never aimed at anything. Suggestions from previous post: Planning to Grow as a Leader.

The best book I’ve read on goal-setting was published this year. It gives suggestions to plan and work toward accomplishing the life you believe God wants you to live.

Here are some “mustard seeds” I found encouraging:

As we said earlier, most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than identifying what outcomes they want to see in the major areas of their lives. Is it any surprise when life doesn’t turn out the way we want? (Kindle Locations 565-567).

Pull power is essential to reach our goals. You need to see a future with such clarity and desirability that you will go through all the uncomfortable things life throws at you to attain it (Kindle Locations 670-671).

The problem is that most of us are so caught up in our moment-to-moment activities, we don’t stop to ask ourselves, Where is this all going? How is it going to end if I stick to this same path? (Kindle Locations 719-720).

Our legacy comprises the spiritual, intellectual, relational, vocational, and social capital we pass on. It’s the sum total of the beliefs you embrace, the values you live by, the love you express, and the service you render to others. It’s the you-shaped stamp you leave when you go (Kindle Locations 746-748).

I encourage you to plan your life, and live toward the “worthy ideal”: buy the book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, and follow the plan to use every resource God has given you to be the servant God wants you to be.

What have you found helpful in setting and reaching goals?
Please comment below:

When to Leave…Before You Go (2012)

Full title:
When to Leave: How to Know It’s Time to Move On (Before You Stay Way Too Long)…Before You Go: A Few Sneaky-Good Questions Every Minister Must Answer Before Moving to a New Church

A classic — getting a peek into the mind of a moving preacher.

This book is requested outside reading for elders and search teams where I work as an interim.

I recommend it for preachers considering, looking, or having to move. It gives much of “the rest of the story” that is rarely discussed in the interview process. Yet, these issues will determine much of the fit and good/bad results of the new preacher-church relationship.

This book is only available in Kindle format. Kindle apps are available for Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android phone and tablet, Kindle Cloud Reader, PC , Windows Phone, Samsung, BlackBerry, and WebOS.

Sample “Mustard Seeds”

I know how easy it is for both the church and the prospective minister to emerge from a search process with unrealistic expectations of each other. The best way to clarify expectations is to ask good questions.  This doesn’t always happen because some ministers show up at the interview wanting the job so badly they subconsciously avoid the best (and hardest) questions. Some young ministers want to ask the right questions, but lack the experience to know what to ask (Kindle Locations 954–957).

Most churches deceive themselves about how healthy they are.  Most ministers deceive themselves about how capable they are. Too many interviews boil down to two self-deceived parties trying to convince each other of how much they can accomplish if they work together (Kindle Locations 970–972).

Helpful hint: If a group tells you they don’t have a leader, the one who makes the strongest case for not having a leader is probably the leader (Kindle Locations 1252–1253).

Assuming that the search team is taking the job description seriously, it might be a good idea to sit down with them and ask them what motivated the inclusion of any idiosyncratic details. It won’t take long to figure out how much of the new job description can be summarized into one bullet point: Don’t be like our last preacher (Kindle Locations 1316–1318)!

When Conflict Is Healthy — The Advantage (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012)

Organizational health is the topic is this book. For a group to be healthy, there must be honesty, integrity. When that is present, permission for healthy conflict is part of the group’s operating rules.

Some Christians have equated different ideas and perspectives with a lack of spirituality. This opens the door to what we see in many leadership groups: politics, frozen momentum, helplessness, and hopelessness. No one can consistently communicate his best ideas without sometimes disagreeing with someone else. And so they don’t. As a result, the most overbearing or the most influential person (often for the wrong reasons) rules the group.

I hope the following “mustard seeds” will encourage you to buy the book, digest it, and discuss it in your group to improve the health of your leadership team.

[All page numbers are from the Kindle edition.]

The kind of trust that is necessary to build a great team is what I call vulnerability-based trust. This is what happens when members get to a point where they are completely comfortable being transparent, honest, and naked with one another, where they say and genuinely mean things like “I screwed up,” “I need help,” “Your idea is better than mine,” “I wish I could learn to do that as well as you do,” and even, “I’m sorry.” (page 27).

When there is trust, conflict becomes nothing but the pursuit of truth, an attempt to find the best possible answer. It is not only okay but desirable. Conflict without trust, however, is politics, an attempt to manipulate others in order to win an argument regardless of the truth. (page 38).

Nowhere does this tendency toward artificial harmony show itself more than in mission-driven nonprofit organizations, most notably churches. People who work in those organizations tend to have a misguided idea that they cannot be frustrated or disagreeable with one another. What they’re doing is confusing being nice with being kind. (page 44).

The only way to prevent passive sabotage is for leaders to demand conflict from their team members and to let them know that they are going to be held accountable for doing whatever the team ultimately decides. (page 51).

There are a few critical keys to making staff meetings work, many of which I’ve already discussed in this book. For instance, if there are too many people on a team, or if the people in the room don’t trust each other and aren’t willing to engage in productive conflict, then no matter how you reorganize your meetings you won’t see much impact. (page 178).

When it comes to building a cohesive team, leaders must drive the process even when their direct reports are less than excited about it initially. And they must be the first to do the hardest things, like demonstrating vulnerability, provoking conflict, confronting people about their behavior, or calling their direct reports out when they’re putting themselves ahead of the team. (page 191).

The Search Committee Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to Hiring Your Next Minister, (Cookeville, Tennessee: Ecclesia Services, LLC, 2015)

I’ve read more than 20 books on preacher selection and transition. I usually select 6 of the best and distribute those to the group searching for a new preacher. At the training session for the search, I ask each person to share a “mustard seed” from the book they read.

This time, I bought The Search Committee Handbook, by Don Viar and gave to each member of the search committee. It has the best thought-out and comprehensive plan I’ve seen.

Here are the contents:

Section I — The Planning Phase

Chapter 1 — Establish a Vision

Chapter 2 — Form a Search Committee

Chapter 3 — Initial Committee Meeting

Chapter 4 — Planning Wrap-up

Section II — The Development Phase

Chapter 5 — Creating a Candidate Pool

Chapter 6 — Initial Candidate Contact

Section III — Selection Phase

Chapter 7 — Round 1 — Initial Selection

Chapter 8 — Round 2 — Remote Interviews

Chapter 9 — Round 3 — In-Depth Review

Chapter 10 — Round 4 — In-Person Interviews

Chapter 11 — Nomination

Chapter 12 — Engaging the Elders

Chapter 13 — Congregational Visit

Chapter 14 — The Offer

Section V — The On-Boarding Phase

Chapter 15 — Relocation Support Plan

Chapter 16 — Startup

If you are considering adding a full-time or part-time minister to the church staff, I recommend The Search Committee Handbook, by Don Viar.

What resources have you found for helping in the search for a new preacher?
Please comment below:

A Treatise on the Eldership (Chillicothe, Ohio: DeWard Publishing Company, Ltd.)

82 pages in the print edition

$0.99 Kindle
$8.99 Pagerback

1. There is Such an Office
2. Title of the Office
3. The Titles Explained
4. Duties of the Office
5. How to be Examples
6. How to be Shepherds
7. How to be Overseers
8. How to Withdraw the Disorderly
9. How to be Teachers
10. Primitive Mode of Teaching
11. Qualifications for the Office
12. Intellectual Qualifications
13. Plurality of Elders
14. Selection and Appointment
15. Regular Meetings
16. Want of Time

Very practical study of New Testament leadership. One of the most helpful insights for me was on selection and appointment:

We have only one example on record, in which we are distinctly told what part was taken by the congregation, and what by the ordaining officers. This is the case of the seven deacons of the church in Jerusalem. The Apostles called together “the multitude of the disciples,” and said, “Look you out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:2-3). The selection, then, was made by the multitude, and the appointment by the apostles. The distinction made between these two terms should not be overlooked. The term appoint is sometimes understood as including the selection, but in the style of the apostles it means merely induction into office, and is distinguished from the selection which precedes it (Kindle Locations 833-839).

Next: pastoral succession that works (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014)

Preachers, when do you plan to leave the church you are serving?  How do you plan to leave?  What are your plans when you are 60+ (and earlier) when most churches no longer want to discuss their work with you?

Elders, are you discussing the transition after your present preacher leaves even though it may be years in the future?  What plans do you have for transition should your present preacher’s ministry end unexpectedly?

If you are not already discussing that, it’s time to start!

William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird strongly suggest that this needs to be a topic of regular conversation between a preacher and elders (although they use different terminology).  They have interviewed and studied successions that worked well and those that didn’t.  I found several “mustard seeds” worth considering.

Consider this quote:

Every pastor is an interim pastor.  Few ministers consider that truth.  Few are eager to admit that their time with their present church will one day end.  But ultimately, all pastors are “interim” because the day when a successor takes over will come for everyone in ministry.  Planning for that day of succession may be the biggest leadership task a leader and church will ever face.  It may also be the most important.  There’s an old saying:  “Everyone wants to talk about succession . . . until it’s their own.”  For way too long, the subject of succession has been avoided in the church, in pastors’ gatherings, and even in the pastor’s home.  Those in leadership may not talk about it, but succession happens anyway (Kindle Locations 162-167).

[tweetthis] Preachers, when do you plan to leave the church you are serving?  How do you plan to leave?[/tweetthis] [tweetthis] Elders, are you discussing the transition after your present preacher leaves even though it may be years in the future?[/tweetthis] [tweetthis] Fellow preacher, what are your plans when you are 60+ when most churches no longer want to discuss their work with you?[/tweetthis]