• Is Church Planting Really the Answer?

    My good friend Josh Dinale has written a blog entitled Is Church Planting Really the Answer which either excited or infuriated people based on what they think of church planting, Mark Driscoll and hipster pastors. If you don’t like the current crop of church plants around the shop, you like Phillip Jensen or John MacArthur more than Mark Driscoll and you think that all pastors have hips and therefore you think all hipster pastors need a good wash and shave you probably applauded the fact that a former skater punk like Josh has settled down, grown up, showers regularly and become a suburban Anglican minister[1]  who now rants against the evils of the current crop of faddish church planting with the zeal of a young church planter ranting against established churches. But if you are passionate about church planting, you want to start or have started a church a “theologically conservative culturally liberal” church and you have grown a beard, wear skinny jeans and only use Apple computer products you probably hated Josh’s rant and you might have thought “Typical old man Anglican!”

    The first thing to say is that Josh is a provocateur like Phillip Jensen, Mark Driscoll, Rob Bell, John Macarthur, Michael Jensen, John Dickson and myself. This is his personality. Josh has always had a habit of putting provocative words out there just to rattle cages and so it came with no surprise when  I read his blog and it was deliberately provocative and hyperbolic. This is what Josh and others (including myself) do and that is why I love Josh!

    Josh mentions that there are a lot of “pastors wanting to be the next Mark Driscoll”. While I think this was more true 5 years ago there is still some truth to it now. There always has been and there always will be heroes that people look up to. If you are a guitarist who likes good music your heroes will be Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn or Robben Ford and you will try to be like them in the way you play and you will probably cop some of their mannerisms.. If you are a young girl and you have no taste in music your heroes will be Katy Perry or Mis Direction (I think that is what they are called) and your habits, mannerisms and likes will be, to a certain extent, dictated by your heroes. This is human nature. So I am not surprised when young men who are young pastors or who desire to be pastors want to be like Mark Driscoll (or for that matter Piper, Chandler, Chan, Jensen, Chong, Macarthur, Washer, etc.). If you are a young reformed guy you may want to be like Driscoll, if you are someone who went to UNSW in the 80s and 90s you will probably gush about Phillip Jensen and if you want to destroy your church you will probably idolize Rob Bell or Karl Barth. God has created the world in such a way that people would have heroes. That being said, I agree with Josh that if you are trying to be like Driscoll, Piper, Jensen or whoever you should be yourself. Be inspired by the great men and women of the faith but part of real maturity is building your identity on Jesus and who he has made you to be.

    The second point in Josh’s critique is aimed at “pastors moving into areas where there are already good evangelical ministries and rather than working together  targeting the same group” Josh outlines two concerns; firstly, that logically it is better to get critical mass in one place than have two churches struggling to get to critical mass. Secondly, there is the issue of resources. Josh, quite rightly, points out that a church takes a lot of resources to run and you would think it would be better to pool resources and have one church rather than two. On the surface these critiques seem valid but when you dig deeper they are found to be left wanting. Firstly, it would be stupid if two Evangelical churches from the same denomination existed in the same suburb. Yes in that instance it would make more sense two have one church rather than two. But what if you have two churches that are Evangelical churches who disagree on major issues i.e. baptism, church government or ministry philosophy. Imagine I move to Brisbane in the nice suburb of Cooparoo. I am quickly convinced that Cooparoo is a godless suburb that makes Newtown look like the Christian version of Disneyland and that Cooparoo needs the gospel of Jesus more than any other place in the world. If I were to take Josh’s advice the best plan would be to throw my lot in with him and work alongside him at his church. But here is the problem, in my opinion, because he is an Anglican, Josh doesn’t believe the Bible[2] on a bunch of issues like baptism, church government, church membership etc. So really our partnership in the gospel will only work if we don’t baptise anyone, never have a church meeting or we never practice church discipline. The only way two pastors can work together in the same church is if they either agree on the gospel and secondary issues like gender, church government, baptism etc or they don’t care about these issues. On the surface this critique from Josh looks plausible but when you dig deeper it is really a naive utopian fantasy.

    Next Josh says “often whilst on the surface evangelism is said to be at the core, rather what I have found is that being cool and hipster is more important.” but then he goes on to defend denominational churches and say they are culturally relevant and they are reaching people. I am not sure how Josh knows that churches and pastors of said churches want to be more hipster than evangelistically minded. If Josh came to my church Resolved he would see a small band of Christians many of whom have brought their friends to an evangelistic course we are currently running or they are inviting their friends to church and talking with them about Jesus. I am convinced that this the case at other church plants in Sydney and also denominational churches. On the hipster thing, being hipster is not a sin I am tempted by[3] I do think there is a pressure to be hip or cool with culture. But that can happen whether you are a church planter in Newtown or a Sydney Anglican minister. All I can say is that I know guys from the Geneva Push and Acts 29 churches and it seems like their greatest desire is for people to come to know Jesus. I can’t judge a pastors heart based on their church meeting or their evangelistic track record and I don’t know how Josh can know either.

    Josh then shares his concern “about the shuffeling the deck and really not reaching new people and burning people out” and in this I’m in full agreement. There is usually a hip church plant which blows up with people leaving their church. This is not the pastors fault at all as long as they don’t encourage this church shopping mentality. I also agree that some church plants don’t reach anyone and they just burn people out. But is this last critique only found in church plants? Can’t denominational churches be evangelistically dead and burn people out? Of course they can. For various reasons Resolved hasn’t always been as evangelistically hot as we should have been and we have burnt our fair share of people out. But I know friends that are going to denominational churches that are evangelistically dead and these churches are burning them out. The common denominator in both an ineffective church plant which burns out people and an ineffective denominational church that burns people out is the leadership. Either the leadership if the church needs to grow or change.

    The final critique josh has is that “many leaders seem to be developing a level of arrogance and snobbery towards those who work within denominations.” He continues:”  I personally am sick of church planters or church plat (sic) organisations telling me that I and other young denominational guys should leave denominational churches and plant something.” Now I planted Resolved almost five years ago and in that time I have been to a bunch of planting conferences. Also, before that I listened to every church plant talk I could listen to. In all this time I have never heard of one planting leader tell someone not to plant a denominational church or leave their denomination. Not once. I’m not sure who Josh is hanging out with but I would suggest that Josh get new friends if they are telling him to leave his denomination. In fact Josh why don’t you come to the Multiply a conference put on by the Geneva Push. I promise you no one will ask you to leave the Anglican Church and that you will be encouraged to be more effective in your ministry.

    Josh’s title of his blog was “Is church planting really the answer?” And the obvious answer is no. The answer is churches that are radically shaped by the gospel whose evangelistic fire is at boiling point. We need denominational churches to be like this and if we are to reach Australia and the world with the gospel we need church plants planted all the time with this evangelistic edge. No church planting is not the answer but it will be an outcome if churches  are gospel centered and on fire.


    [1] By the way I love suburban Anglican ministers

    [2] I know Josh is a brother in Christ who is a reformed evangelical and who does uphold the authority of the Bible. I am being hyperbolic to make a point…… And have some fun. See my above comments about Josh and I being provocateurs.

    [3] This is because, I like to shower and shave, I hate coffee, I like to work out and play sport and I like my music electric and loud

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  • Are You a Frustrated Church Leader?

    One of the things that comes up from time to time in pastoral ministry is frustration with people. This is especially true when we have put a lot of time, thought, prayer and effort into something and no one rocks up to it or people are late or drop the ball etc.
    One of the things that I want to do when this happens is challenge the person who I am frustrated with. I want to say things to them about letting the team down and not being committed enough. Now these things may be true, the person we are frustrated with might not be committed enough and they may be letting the team down. But will having this conversation achieve what you and I want it to achieve?
    I have been reading a book called Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson who was a coach in the NBA who coached guys like Michael Jordan, Shaq and Kobe Bryant.  He tells a story where Jordan is getting frustrated with the players on his team because they were letting the team down and they weren’t being committed enough. In true Jordan fashion he would try harder showing them what he expected of them and willing them to do it. He would scowl at them and tell them what they were doing wrong. But it wasn’t working.
    A trainer named George Mumford said this to Jordan:“It’s all about being present and taking responsibility for how you relate to yourself and others,” says George. “And that means being willing to adjust so that you can meet people where they are. Instead of expecting them to be somewhere else and getting angry and trying to will them to that place, you try to meet them where they are and lead them where you want them to go.”

    When I read this quote I had a aha moment because I realised I expect the people whom I am frustrated with to be where I think they should be, I get angry and I try to will them to be where I think the should be instead of trying to meet them where they are at and lead them slowly where they should be.
    When I am frustrated with people I forget two things:
    1. How patient and gracious God is with me
    2. That ministry is measured in years and decades and not days and weeks.
    Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:
    In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

    There are four things from this passage that guard against frustration in ministry.
    Firstly, when we preach. We preach in season and out of season. We preach when  things are going great and when things aren’t. We preach when fruit is coming and when it isn’t. There are going to be times of fruitfulness in ministry and times where we will see hardly any fruit. This is to be expected but we preach knowing that God gives the growth.
    Secondly, we are to preach with great patience. We preach knowing that spiritual growth takes place over long periods of time and therefore we don’t get frustrated if we don’t see instant spiritual results. Ministry is not an instant thing. In ministry we see growth not over days and weeks but over years and decades. Therefore we know God is working if we are proclaiming his word and so we are not frustrated but patient.
    Thirdly, we see the tragedy of people turning away from the truth. This passage reminds us that people want to believe things other than the gospel so when we are ministering to people and they are turning away from the gospel we are not surprised but we carefully and lovingly instruct and remind them of the gospel over many conversations hoping to win them back to the gospel and sound doctrine.
    Fourth, Paul is real about ministry. He says we endure hardship. The hardship we endure is not through long hours, although there may be long hours. Nor it is from tiring work, although the work is tiring. I think the main hardship in ministry is a broken heart. We see people come close to Jesus and reject him, we see people fall away, we see people do stupid things, we get hurt by people, people don’t grow like we want them to. All these, and many more, break our hearts. But Paul says we endure through this. How can we endure though all this? We endure through all this not because we are strong and tough but it is God who is strong for us.  He is the one who energizes us and gives us strength.  He is the one who reminds us that he loves us no matter how great or how poorly our ministries are doing. We endure hardship because he first endured the cross for us.
    Brothers and sisters, ministry is tough and hard work and we need to remember that the course is long and the cost sometimes is high but the reward is eternal! So let us not get frustrated. Let us love the people that God has given us to lead and let us encourage them in the gospel and wait for God to give the growth.
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  • Why Failing to Hold Someone Accountable is Ultimately an Act of Selfishness

    Leaders in all walks of life need to hold the people they lead accountable. But holding people accountable is hard because there is usually an emotional and sometimes a relational cost involved in the act of holding people accountable. But to not hold people accountable is ultimately an act of selfishness as Patrick Lencioni shows in his awesome book that you should buy and read The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business:

    At its core, accountability is about having the courage to confront someone about their deficiencies and then to stand in the moment and deal with their reaction, which may not be pleasant. It is a selfless act, one rooted in a word that I don’t use lightly in a business book: Love. To hold someone accountable is to care about them enough to risk having them blame you for pointing out their deficiencies.

    Unfortunately, it is far more natural, and common, for leaders to avoid holding people accountable. It is one of the biggest obstacles I find in preventing teams, and the companies they lead, from reaching their full potential….

    Many leaders whop struggle with that (again, I’m one of them) will try to convince themselves that their reluctance is a product of their kindness; they just don’t want to make their employees feel bad. But an honest reassessment of their motivation will allow them to admit that they are the ones who don;t want to feel bad and that failing to hold someone accountable is ultimately an act of selfishness.

    After all, there is nothing noble about withholding information that can help an employee improve. eventually that employee’s lack of improvement is going to come back to haunt him in a performance review or when he is let go. And i’m pretty sure there is nothing kind about firing someone who has not been confronted about his performance.

     

    Patrick LencioniThe Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business, 57-59

     

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  • Make Sure You Avoid These Mistakes in Leading People at Church

    Leading people is always a tough job. One of the hardest things to do as you lead people is to assess where people are at spiritually. This is hard because spiritual growth is usually unseen. One of the ways I have assessed spiritual maturity and growth in the past is by seeing how much people are serving in church. If they are serving a lot I would think they are mature and growing in their faith if they aren’t serving much or at all that must mean that they are immature and not growing.

    But as Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson show in their book Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth. Judging spiritual maturity or growth on the hours one puts in at church can be misleading. Here is what they say about being active in church and the spiritual disciplines:

    Never let the passion to serve eclipse a commitment to personal spiritual disciplines. Since those Growing in Christ are very active volunteers, it’s easy for leaders to affirm this segment’s high levels of serving as a clear measure of their spiritual growth. But leaders must not lose sight of the need to affirm and challenge these individuals in their commitment to personal spiritual disciplines such as prayer and reflecting on Scripture. Spiritual growth is about more than being involved in church activities; among other things, it also requires spending time with God.

    Here is what they say about high levels of service and qualifications for leadership:

    Don’t confuse high levels of service with qualifications for Christian leadership. The fact that some people serve a ton in your church does not by itself mean that these individuals are ready for leadership roles—especially ones that require spiritual leadership over a group of people. Their high degree of involvement does not necessarily mean they are mature followers of Christ. We wish this were not the case. It would be much easier and a lot more convenient to just ask people about their previous serving experience and then place those with the most impressive resumés into leadership. That is how it works in most organizations, and some people in a congregation assume that is how it should also work in the church. They tell us all about what they are involved in and how successful that involvement has been as justification for a leadership position in the church. But we can’t let that influence us. Instead, it’s vitally important to shift the focus from activities and accomplishments to the condition of the heart. We need to listen between the lines to make sure they are in love with Christ and not just the church. Have they organized their lives so they can spend time with Christ, the one they love, when no one else is watching? It’s tempting to settle for a record of service as qualification for leadership—especially when you’re trying to find ten or twenty new small group leaders—but resist the temptation.

    What the authors are not saying is that church involvement isn’t an indicator of spiritual growth and or maturity they are saying it is not the only one.

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  • The Sin of Plagiarizing Sermons

    I went into this particular church for the first time. I had been interviewed to be on staff as a student minister and then I heard the preacher and his sermon convinced me not to take the position.

    No the sermon wasn’t heretical

    No the sermon wasn’t terrible

    But the sermon was plagarized

    I had heard this particular sermon a few months ago from another man who I know got it from a preacher in the states. When I confronted the Preacher who was interviewing me he didnt think preaching someone else’s sermon was a big deal. When I told  the search committee why I wasn’t taking the position no one seemed to mind that this man had plagiarized the sermon.

    With the advent of the internet and podcasting plagiarism in sermons is continuing to go through the roof. I have heard of more than my share of Pastors with theological degrees from great colleges plagiarizing sermons.

    But is this such an issue?

    I think it is and here is why:

    1. The pastoral task it to preach the word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:1-5) so there is a biblical command that you preach. But it is the content of what you preach that matters. The content is meant to be the word. I think that implies you have spent good amounts of time studying the text of scripture yourself and have let it shape the sermon. You haven’t merely downloaded the sermon  and become a human speaker for someone else.

    2. The congregation is paying you to preach. So there is a sense in which you are taking money under false pretenses if you plagiarize sermons.

    3. The sermon is meant to be from your heart to the congregations heart. Out of love for God and your congregation you are meant to preach.

    4. The heart of a pastor is corrupt when he plagiarizes a sermon because he thinks that faithful preaching isn’t good enough. That is why he plagiarizes the sermon because he thinks that what the congregation needs to is a killer sermon replete with great illustrations, awesome applications and a few great jokes. But in the end faithfulness not flair makes a good preacher. It is love for your congregation not laughter from your congregation that matters.

    If you are plagiarizing sermons you are robbing your church and yourself of great time in the word. Repent of this sin and take Paul’s words to Timothy to heart:

    In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

    2 Timothy 4:1-5

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  • Small Shifts in Doctrine May Destroy the Future Church

    A mate tells me a story about the first time he played golf. Needless to say he sucked. One shot was far left and in the trees and the other was far right in the water. His friend that took him out to play golf said that he was only off by a few millimeters! My friend then hit another ball in the water and said “Yeah looks like it!”. His friend said “No your club face is just a few millimeters off from where it should be. If you turn the club face a tiny bit in the wrong direction in has huge results. A small change here means huge changes down there!”

    I hate golf but I think this is a great analogy for doctrine. Because if doctrine shifts subtly in one area we may not see the full affects of this shift till we we are long gone. A small change in doctrine can have huge affects later on down the line. And therefore we must assess changes in doctrine, however subtle, just on whether they are still within in the bounds of evangelical belief but also how will this shift affect the witness of the gospel in future generations. Small changes in doctrine may mean huge changes in later generations. This is what P.T Forsyth helpfully pointed out about a century ago:

    The ideas at the centre of the Christian faith are too large, too deep and subtle, to show their effects in one age; and the challenge of them does not show its effect in one generation or even in two. Individuals, society, and the Church, indeed, are able to go on, externally almost unaffected, by the way that they have upon them from the past; and it is only within the range of several generations that the destruction of truths with such a comprehensive range as those of Christianity takes effect. Therefore it is part of the duty of the Church, in certain sections and on certain occasions, to be less concerned about the effect of the Gospel upon the individual immediately, or on the present age, and to look ahead to what may be the result of certain changes in the future. God sets watchmen in Zion who have to keep their eye on the horizon; and it is only a drunken army that could scout their warning. We are not only bound to attend to the needs and interests of the present generation; we are trustees for a long future, as well as a long past. Therefore it is quite necessary that the Church should give very particular attention to these central and fundamental points whose influence, perhaps, is not so promptly prized, and whose destruction would not be so mightily felt at once, but would certainly become apparent in the days and decades ahead.  P.T. Forsyth The Work of Christ, pp. 142-43

     

    Let us not be historically naive  Let us make sure we learn from the past and see how small shifts in doctrines may mean huge losses in the future.

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  • How to Create a Positive Church Environment

    Having a positive culture in any organisation is a key to growth. This cannot be more true of church. Mark Driscoll has written a great piece about about the three types of people Positives, Neutrals and Negatives. Here is what Driscoll says about keeping your church culture positive:

    For a ministry to remain positive, three things need to occur. First, the senior leader and the other official and unofficial leaders who wield the most influence must be positives. Further, they must be continually exhorted to remain positives. This means that even when they deal with negative things, they do so in a positive way for the glory of God and the good of his people. Second, the negatives must not be allowed into leadership. If they are in leadership, official or unofficial, they must be rebuked. Titus 3:10–11 describes this rebuke: “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Too often negatives are tolerated for too long; the longer their sin is tolerated, the more toxic the ministry culture becomes. Therefore, unrepentant negatives need to be brought through formal church discipline after their negativity has been documented and addressed; this process may end with their removal from the ministry, if needed. Ministry leaders are often reticent to deal so forthrightly with negatives; however, the longer they are tolerated, the more neutrals they infect with their gangrene. Third, the neutrals need to be lovingly and patiently informed that they are in fact neutrals and that they need to take responsibility to not give in to negatives. Additionally, neutrals cannot be allowed into ministry leadership because they are prone to be influenced rather than be influencers. Sadly, neutrals are often nominated for and voted in to ministry leadership because they tend to be nice people who are likeable because they are amiable and easily influenced. But they are prone to work toward consensus rather than lead and are therefore not helpful for moving a ministry forward into innovation and growth. Change is controversial and requires someone who is a strong positive to build consensus for change and who is also able to neutralize the negatives rather than being influenced by them.

    What do you have to do to either get a positive culture at your church or maintain the positive culture you now have?

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  • Your Church may be Repelling People Before the Service Starts

    Our church environments speak to visitors a long time before the pastor gets a chance to preach to them. Think about your church environment for a second. What is it saying to your visitors? Does it say what you want it to say? Does it say: We love you come in? Does it say: Go away we are weird?

    Andy Stanley in his great book Deep and Wide has a section in the book where he talks about church environments and what they say. He tells the following story to illustrate his point about the importance of thinking about the vibe our church environments give off:

    We arrived about twenty minutes before the service was scheduled to begin. Andrew was with us. He had just turned three. We had to ask twice where to find the children’s area. Signage was almost nonexistent. Someone finally pointed us to a door. We peeked in and the only person in the room was a man who looked to be in his late twenties. When he saw us, he came to the door with a big smile on his face. A little too big for me. We told him this was our first visit. He assured us that we were at the right place, and he invited Andrew into the room. That’s when I noticed a back door standing open that led to what looked like an outdoor playground. But it was hard to tell exactly where it led. Sandra asked if we needed to fill out any paperwork. He looked a bit confused and said we didn’t and that he hoped we enjoyed the service. Then he turned and went over and began talking to Andrew. We just stood there—both thinking the same thing, but neither of us wanting to say it aloud. Ignoring our raging parental instincts, we headed off to big church. During the second song, Sandra turned to me and asked, “Do you feel okay about Andrew’s situation?” I assured her that I did not and that it was all I had been thinking about since we left his classroom. She immediately slid out of our row and headed back to the children’s wing. It took every ounce of self-control I had to not follow. A few minutes later she came back and informed me that there was, in fact, another adult in the room along with a dozen or more children. If you have children, I bet you aren’t surprised to know that we never visited that church again. Worse, that’s the only thing I remember about our visit. Every time someone mentions the name of that church, I think about that incident. I will be the first to admit that our experience couldn’t possibly be the norm. But I still wouldn’t go back. That was seventeen years ago. Similar to my previous story, this church taught several lessons they didn’t intend to teach. Lesson #1: We don’t expect new families. We have the same kids every week. Lesson #2: If there is an emergency, we don’t plan to notify you. Lesson #3: Your child’s security is not our primary concern. Lesson #4: Our volunteers don’t understand the way parents think (i.e., our volunteers are untrained).

    He then goes on to talk about the effect the shabby children’s environment had on him:

    Every ministry environment communicates something. There are no neutral environments. Environments are the messages before the message. The messages your environments communicate have the potential to trump your primary message. I do not remember a single thing about the message preached at the church referenced in the illustration on page 153. Not a thing. I was too distracted by the four-point message of the children’s environment. As I am constantly reminding our leaders, the sermon begins in the parking lot. By the time I stand up to deliver what is traditionally considered the message, everybody in our audience has already received a dozen or more messages. Many have already made up their minds as to whether they will come back the following week.

    We want to do everything to welcome new people to our churches. Is your church environment repelling people or welcoming?

    What can you do to make it more welcoming?

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  • The Secrets to Having a Good Confrontational Conversation

    From time to time we all have to have them and most of us don’t like them. You know those conversations where you have to confront someone because they hurt you or someone else or they let the team down. If you don’t have this conversation the pattern of behavior may cause more damage and may never be fixed.

    But these kind of conversations make most of us quite nervous. How do you have these conversations well?
    I was bad at having these conversations because I either didn’t have them or I blew up when I did have them. So I spent a lot of time researching how to have a good confrontational conversation. One where the truth is explored and there is a way forward with as little emotional turmoil as possible.
    Here is the method I use to having these hard and yet necessary conversations:
    Mindset
    Firstly you have to change your mindset about the behavior and the conversation. Instead of justifying the behavior you need to imagine the consequences of this behavior keeping on going. What would happen if this behavior kept on going? What date would it do to you or your organisation? This will give you the motivation for having the conversation. Secondly, think of the conversation not as a confrontational one but one where you are both going to explore truth and find a way forward. If you think about the conversation in this frame of mind it is far less nerve wracking. And thirdly, pray thanking God for the person. In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul gives great thanks to God for the people he is about to rebuke. He has a divine perspective on these people. If you and the person you need to have this conversation with are Christians you have to realize that God is working through and in this person by his spirit. Thanking God for the person helps us remind us of what God is doing and it will help is see the person in a balanced frame of mind.
    Now onto the conversation.
    I think a conversation like we are talking about has four elements
    1. Firstly you as the person to explain their side of the story. This helps you hear the person out and they don’t feel like they are being attacked
    2. Talk about the facts. Now these are the facts that you can both agree on. For example “You said x and why to this person” or “You said you would do this and you didn’t”
    3. Talk about your feelings. Without being overly emotional describe the way the issue made you feel. For example “When you said this I felt hurt.”
    4. Talk about the way forward. You have to define the way forward and make it very clear. For example “If this happens again we will have to put you on probation and if it happens again after that we will have to fire you.” Be as clear as you can in this step.
    A few days later make sure you follow the person up. Especially if you are their leader. If you are their leader they need to know that you are in their corner and you want them to flourish. Make sure you tell them this!
    And finally here are two books that I found of great use to me in this area are:
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  • 6 Books That Will Grow You As A Leader

    Leadership books are extremely hit or miss. I love to read books that help me with my leadership but it seems like for every book I read on leadership there is another book I read that is a waste of time.
    With that in mind I thought I would compile my list of leadership books that I have read that I highly recommend. Buy them, read them and change your leadership because of what you learn!

    Conviction to Lead, The: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters – Albert Mohler. Mohler is the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The big idea of this book is that all leaders lead out of their convictions and that a Christian leader leads out of convictions borne out of the gospel. This book is a very refreshing take on leadership!

    Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time – Susan Scott. Do you find it hard to confront someone when you need to? Then buy this book and read it! Scott’s book teaches you to have Fierce Conversations that help you and the other party explore truth in a way that is not emotionally charged. This book was revolutionary for me. Yes it is that good!
    Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward – Henry Cloud. Pruning needs to happen in churches, lives and organisations for them to flourish. Cloud shows you how to to know if a necessary ending is required and how to bring relationships, employment, businesses etc. to a necessary ending well when needed
    Replenish: Leading from a Healthy Soul– Lance Witt. All pastors have a danger of burning out because they aren’t taking care of themselves. In this book Lance Witt does some real work on our souls and lives. It can be a painful read but it is a necessary one.
    Take the Lid Off Your Church: 6 Steps to Building a Healthy Senior Leadership Team – Tony Morgan. Tony Morgan has written a very short e book on senior leadership teams. He says that the senior leadership team is the determining factor whether the church is healthy or not. In the book Tony gives us hard questions to ask about our current senior leadership teams and helps us think about who should be on them in the future.
    Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry– Paul Tripp. Paul Tripp has written a book that all pastors should read. Reading Dangerous calling  is like having someone open up your soul and making you assess where you are at emotionally, spiritually and physically. This should be required reading for every pastor, bible college student and ministry apprentice/ intern
    What leadership books have you found helpful lately?
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