By Blake Atwood
Greg Atkinson’s Twitter bio neatly summarizes the many ministry hats he’s worn over the last 20 years: “Greg is a servant of Christ, husband, father, pastor, author, speaker and consultant.”
In those two decades, he’s learned much about what it means to be a church leader. He’s now taken those lessons and has distilled them into Church Leadership Essentials: What Every Pastor Needs to Know.
For an opportunity to win a print copy of Greg’s book, comment on this article with something you think is a defining characteristic of a church leader.
FaithVillage spoke with Greg about his book, one that would be a welcome addition to any pastor’s library.
Why did you write Church Leadership Essentials? What makes it unique compared to the many church leadership books already on the market?
I wrote Church Leadership Essentials because, after speaking at numerous conferences over the last 14 years, I’ve seen that many pastors and church leaders were not properly and practically prepared for real ministry in Bible college or seminary. This is a leadership book that is specifically geared toward the church and ministry in general.
As my former boss and pastor Pete Briscoe once said, “The world for which we were trained no longer exists.”
Who’s the ideal audience for Church Leadership Essentials?
The audience is pastors and church leaders of all types. Whether you’re full-time, part-time, bi-vocational or volunteer, there is a nugget of wisdom or two in the book for you, which is full of leadership lessons and principles I’ve learned over two decades of ministry.
What chapter in Church Leadership Essentials is your favorite? Why?
My favorite chapter is the last chapter. It is a look back on 20 years in ministry. I share my heart and reveal what God has taught me as I look back over the last two decades. It’s close to my heart because I share that God uses weak, broken, messed up people for His glory.
Church Leadership Essentials is a direct result of your blogging. Can you recall why you started blogging in the first place?
In the summer of 2006, my friend Don Chapman of WorshipIdeas.com was visiting me in Dallas. I was driving to Oklahoma City to speak at a conference and Don came with me. It was about a three-hour drive and I started sharing some ideas, resources and new companies that I had come across. Don directly and boldly said, “Dude, you have got to start blogging. Church leaders would really benefit from what you’re sharing with me.”
That night Don went online to GoDaddy and bought the domain name: ChurchVideoIdeas.com and said, “Here you go. Now get to blogging!” I started a cheesy-looking WordPress blog and the rest is history. Thanks to my great Charter Sponsors, I was able to give my blog a face-lift. It’s been through several design changes over the years.
The “why” is simple. I have a heart for the Church (capital “C”). My heart and passion is for the Kingdom and equipping Church leaders — that’s why I write, that’s why I consult, that’s why I speak at conferences. I love Christ’s Bride and want to be a friend, helper, encourager and equipper to Church leaders around the world.
Praise God, people actually care what I have to say. Almost every day I receive an email from a church leader asking me a question. Many of you reading this who have sent me an email hopefully have seen that I try to answer your email promptly and to the best of my knowledge. I wrote this book to answer many of the problems and scenarios that I’ve seen or heard of all too often from leaders around the world.
Do you think all pastors should blog? Why or why not?
Good question. I’ve taught on this in the past and tried to answer it numerous times. I used to just simply say, “Yes.” Now my answer has evolved and I don’t think blogging is a good fit for every pastor.
One, to be a good blogger, you have to have something to say and you have to blog regularly and consistently. Lots of pastors and church leaders have started blogs with the best intentions, and then I check on them months later and their last post was weeks or months ago. That’s a sure-fire way to lose an audience and momentum. But, if you can commit the time and you have something original, useful, practical and insightful to say, I say, “Go for it!”
Aside from the Bible and your book, what other five church leadership books should every pastor have in their library?
- Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
(actually anything by Andy Stanley and John Maxwell I’d highly recommend)
- Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
- Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby
(one of my favorite books all-time)
- 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones
(a classic book that I read and re-read often).
You’re heavily involved in online ministry, and you have been for quite some time. Why is it important for church leaders to be involved in online ministry, even if it’s only through one online outlet?
Being involved in online ministry (social media especially) is essential for communication with our congregations now. We cover this a ton at Christian Media Magazine where I’m Editor. I believe that pastors and church leaders should definitely be on Facebook (that’s why I wrote the Foreword to Facebook for Pastors).
Being on Facebook is a way to be reachable, approachable and let your people see that you’re a normal, regular guy or gal. It breaks down the barrier between the pulpit and the pew. If you’re going to your kid’s recital or ballgame or on a date with your spouse, share it on Facebook and allow your people to see you outside of the guy that delivers the sermon each week.
I use Twitter (@GregAtkinson) mainly to learn from, communicate with and share with peers and professionals in ministry. If you are to be a life-long learner (which I feel strongly about), you can learn a ton by being active and engaged on Twitter.
Now, consider adding Greg’s book “Church Leadership Essentials: What Every Pastor Needs to Know” to your church leader library, check out his blog at GregAtkinson.com and read more about the book at ChurchLeadershipEssentials.com.
Comment below with one defining characteristic you think every church leader should have, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a print copy of Greg’s book.