Becoming Your Favorite Church; What The Church Can Do When Pastors , Lay Leaders and People Work Together. (c) 2002. Regal, Ventura, Cal. pp.257 price 17.50.
H.B.London Jr.- vice president of ministry outreach, Focus on the Family.
Neil B. Wiseman- consultant, preacher, professor of pastoral development.
Book available at Leadership Centre 1-800-804-0777
Introduction- The Local Church; Ground Zero for Christ’s Ministry.
An evaluation is made of today’s church. In many respects it has been marginalized. The challenge for the church today is huge.
Chapter 1. Lessons from the N.F.L.- New Ways to Develop an Achieving Team.
Christ developed his disciples into a powerful team to win the world and become leaders of the church. As a church team we need to realize that God is the owner. He has the last word. The choice of the head coach (senior pastor) is crucial. It must be with owner’s approval. The coach must be allowed to do his work. Assistant coaches (paid staff) may be involved. Players are chosen based on their skills (gifts) and talents. Specific roles of players may change as skills and needs change. Some of the challenges for the team will be training, unity, attrition, etc.
Chapter 2. Sharpen Your Skills. What it Takes to Belong to a World-Class Team.
Define your team and your team members. Consider the value of comparing assumptions with reality. There are many destructive notions circulating in churches, e.g. tradition defenders, trivia protectors, veto specialists, etc. Ten wholesome perspectives are listed. The focus here is lay leaders.
Chapter 3. Service, Submission, and Scripture. How to Replicate Jesus’ Team - Building Spirit.
As the ‘team-owner’ Jesus models a servant attitude. This was in complete contrast to any leadership style of his day. In the early church several organizational models were practiced. There are many advantages for working in teams. Eleven specific things are listed that Christ did as he developed his team.
Chapter 4. Seven Habits of Highly Effective Lay Leaders. An Incredible Journey Awaits Those Who Master the Lessons.
"A single individual can spark renewal in an entire congregation."p.83.
Habit 1. Start with the basics, commitment to Christ.
Habit 2. Apply Jesus’ perspective to Church politics.
Habit 3. Talk healthy talk. Avoid gossip. Make the grapevine a positive forum.
Habit 4. Seek God’s direction. His will can be known.
Habit 5. Reap the personal harvest of spiritual growth.
Habit 6. Grow past the past. We must rid ourselves of the toxins of the past.
Habit 7. See your church as God sees it. Focus on the strengths.
Chapter 5. New Testament Instructions. What the Playbook Requires of Those Who Lead.
Pastors are key in preparing lay leaders. They should be cherished. Leaders are also followers. 1Tim. 3, includes some spiritual qualities for lay leaders. Pastors deserve honor.
Chapter 6. Overcoming Myths About Leadership. How to Create Strong Bonds Between Pastors and Lay Leaders.
10 myths are identified and they deal with things such as opinions, conflict, experience etc. Myths have to be unmasked and reversed.
Chapter 7. Creating a Healthy Self-concept. How to Make Your Church Whole.
Although many churches are in various stages of dysfunction "healing is available".p.146. Things like location and reputation may contribute to a poor self-image. Lack of purpose and weak leadership also contribute to this problem. Focusing on good health involves recognition of a church’s uniqueness, displaying a willingness to do what has to be done to bring about positive change. As progress begins to happen it is important to do honest evaluations
Chapter 8. Pastors Under Fire. What Should Lay Leaders Do For Their Favorite Pastors.
Most of the chapter is made up of stories about pastors that have become casualties in the ministry. Ten suggestions are made to give guidance in how lay leaders can make a difference in a pastor’s life.
Chapter 9. A Pastor’s Bill of Rights. Liberating Your Minister to Greatness.
Rights involve responsibilities. The rights of pastors are identified as the right , to dream, to privacy, to professional development, to friendship, to protection from unrealistic scrutiny, to failure, of passage, to organizational support, to declare truth. Each of these is discussed briefly.
Chapter 10. 49 Ways to Love Your Pastor. How to Use The Big Three "A" Words.
The "A" words are "affirmation, appreciation and admiration". p.223. 49 specific ways are suggested on how to do this. They are based on ten principles which are also listed. A number of intangible gifts are added at the end of the chapter.
The authors are attempting to address the challenge that our culture has marginalized churches. As they focus on pastors and lay leaders they describe some options that can be considered. The third group referred to in the title of the book, the people, are not really discussed. Much has been written about leaders and how they relate to people. More should be written about people and how they should relate to leaders. How much responsibility do we the people of the church have in being marginalized by our culture?
The book does deal with a relevant topic.