By Blake Atwood
Greg Atkinsonâ€™s Twitter bio neatly summarizes the many ministry hats heâ€™s worn over the last 20 years: â€œGreg is a servant of Christ, husband, father, pastor, author, speaker and consultant.â€
In those two decades, heâ€™s learned much about what it means to be a church leader. Heâ€™s now taken those lessons and has distilled them intoÂ Church Leadership Essentials: What Every Pastor Needs to Know.
For an opportunity to win a print copy of Gregâ€™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 pastorâ€™s library.
Why did you writeÂ Church Leadership Essentials? What makes it unique compared to the many church leadership books already on the market?
I wroteÂ Church Leadership EssentialsÂ because, after speaking at numerous conferences over the last 14 years, Iâ€™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, â€œThe world for which we were trained no longer exists.â€
Whoâ€™s the ideal audience forÂ Church Leadership Essentials?
The audience is pastors and church leaders of all types. Whether youâ€™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 Iâ€™ve learned over two decades of ministry.
What chapter inÂ Church Leadership EssentialsÂ 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. Itâ€™s close to my heart because I share that God uses weak, broken, messed up people for His glory.
Church Leadership EssentialsÂ 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 ofÂ WorshipIdeas.comÂ 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, â€œDude, you have got to start blogging. Church leaders would really benefit from what youâ€™re sharing with me.â€
That night Don went online to GoDaddy and bought the domain name: ChurchVideoIdeas.com and said, â€œHere you go. Now get to blogging!â€ 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. Itâ€™s been through several design changes over the years.
The â€œwhyâ€ is simple. I have a heart for the Church (capital â€œCâ€). My heart and passion is for the Kingdom and equipping Church leaders â€” thatâ€™s why I write, thatâ€™s why I consult, thatâ€™s why I speak at conferences. I love Christâ€™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 Iâ€™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. Iâ€™ve taught on this in the past and tried to answer it numerous times. I used to just simply say, â€œYes.â€ Now my answer has evolved and I donâ€™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. Thatâ€™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, â€œGo for it!â€
Aside from the Bible and your book, what other five church leadership books should every pastor have in their library?
- Deep and WideÂ by Andy Stanley
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of LeadershipÂ by John Maxwell
(actually anything by Andy Stanley and John Maxwell Iâ€™d highly recommend)
- Simple ChurchÂ by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
- Spiritual LeadershipÂ by Henry and Richard Blackaby
(one of my favorite books all-time)
- 7 Practices of Effective MinistryÂ by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones
(a classic book that I read and re-read often).
Youâ€™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 itâ€™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 atÂ Christian Media MagazineÂ where Iâ€™m Editor. I believe that pastors and church leaders should definitely be on Facebook (thatâ€™s why I wrote the Foreword toÂ Facebook for Pastors).
Being on Facebook is a way to be reachable, approachable and let your people see that youâ€™re a normal, regular guy or gal. It breaks down the barrier between the pulpit and the pew. If youâ€™re going to your kidâ€™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 Gregâ€™s book â€œChurch Leadership Essentials: What Every Pastor Needs to Knowâ€ to your church leader library, check out his blog atÂ GregAtkinson.comÂ and read more about the book atÂ ChurchLeadershipEssentials.com.
Comment below with one defining characteristic you think every church leader should have, and youâ€™ll be entered into a drawing to win a print copy of Gregâ€™s book.