Archives For Andy Stanley

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One of the biggest challenges every leader faces is how to continue developing and growing as a leader while still getting things done and moving things forward.

With the ever-increasing demands on our time and energy, often the first thing that goes is investing in ourselves. We know that isn’t wise; it’s really very short-term thinking, but under the pressure of the moment we often make that choice.

One reason we do that is that we don’t see immediate consequences. The consequences of not investing in ourselves now often show up later—a year or more later, when the challenges are even bigger and we aren’t ready for them.

One way to address that is to change our reading habits. We have all heard that “readers are leaders” and that “growing churches are led by growing leaders.” But the average reader takes 4-6 hours to read one book. It can be a challenge to find that time on a regular basis! Most of us end up with a bunch of unfinished (or unstarted) books that we know we should read but just don’t have time to get to.

Maybe it’s time for you to check out Leaders Book Summaries. They summarize books for busy leaders. They condense books down to 12-15 pages, and then also provide a 2-page summary of the summary. An average reader can go through a whole summary in just 15-20 minutes. That’s a lot more efficient than 4-6 hours!

You’ll get summaries of the titles you should be reading. Leaders Book Summaries was started by pastors, for pastors. They are practitioners, not just theorists. They know what it’s like to be in the trenches, and they pick and summarize books that will help you make a difference.

They issue thirty (30) summaries of leadership books each year. The books are written by both secular and religious authors. Recent examples include…

  • Leading Congregational Change, by Herrington, Bonem, and Furr.
  • The Leadership Playbook, by Nathan Jamail
  • Amplified Leadership, by Dan Reiland
  • Be The Best Bad Presenter Ever, by Karen Hough
  • Supersurvivors, by David Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz.

In addition, titles by Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, Henry Cloud, and other well-known leaders fill their library.

A subscription is normally about $7 a month, or $119/year if you want the archives (over 150 titles). Leaders Book Summaries is currently offering a special discount to our blog readers. Instead of paying the full rate, you can get the monthly rate for just $5.95/month, or the Premium subscription, giving you access to their whole library, for just $99/year. And that covers all the new summaries coming out in 2016 as well!

This is a win-win-win. You can save time, save money, and invest in your own leadership development. You can’t do much better than that!

Click here to get the discounted rate. (It isn’t being offered anywhere else!)

By the way, besides providing summaries to those who subscribe, the folks at Leaders Book Summaries go a step further to support God’s leaders. A tithe of the profits is given to church planting efforts in the U.S. and Mozambique. Additionally, they give free subscriptions to third world pastors, who often can’t afford to buy books. When you subscribe to their service, you are also investing in other leaders around the world.

I think a healthy quality for all leaders is being able to laugh at one’s self. This video has rubbed some people the wrong way, but I think it is a funny and deeper look at what we as the Church do each week. This video was created by the talented team at North Point Church – that obviously is able to laugh at themselves. Take a look at this video and see if it upsets you or if you’re able to relate and laugh? More after you watch it…

“Sunday’s Coming” Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

As one who travels the country each week visiting, secret shopping and consulting with various churches, I think I can appreciate this video more than most. This video reminds me of my secret shopper report and the things I rate and look for – it’s amazing how well they captured what I see at 95% of churches in America.

You would think that is a good thing, and I used to, until I heard Alan Hirsch speak at the Velocity Conference back in February. He rocked my world. Alan, in his keynote address, taught on how the contemporary church model that is prevalent in America can only “appeal” to 40% of Americans – NOTE: not reach 40%, but has the ability to appeal to 40%. Meaning 60% of Americans will need to be reached in some other way- some new, unconventional, innovative way.

This past Sunday, I was with my friends at Mosaic Nashville. They had heard Alan Hirsch speak years ago and were already living out this different model of church. For example, this Sunday, I worshiped “in the round” and people were given instruments and encouraged to play along. There was no band up front on the stage – they were in a circle in the middle of the worship space. They are exploring new ways of doing life, community and discipleship together as a fellowship of believers in Nashville.

Is this for everyone? No. Maybe God is calling you to appeal to the 40% with the model we see in the video. BUT – for some of you (and if you get this, it will be revolutionary), you may be called by God to go after the other 60% in new, different and unconventional ways – thought to be strange by others. More on this in my new book coming out next year!

Yesterday I spent the entire day helping produce the Catalyst OneDay Dallas at Bent Tree. Thankfully I didn’t have my hands too full that I couldn’t enjoy it as well.

I must say it is a huge blessing and gift to the Church to have men like Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley share their wisdom and insights into leadership. There are less busy pastors that don’t give back, share and build the Church (capital “C”) like these 2 extremely busy men. 

The thing that stuck with me the most is something that resonates deep within me. I preach it. I write about it. I’ve done articles and workshops about “less is more”. My favorite phrase came from Craig, who said “You can reach more by doing less.”

Years ago I heard Andy Stanley teach on “the blessedness of subtraction”. He also said “no ministry has a forever shelf-life” and that stuck with me all these years. 

I wonder if we, as Church leaders, are doing too much. I wonder if we haven’t killed something that should have died long ago. I wonder (like in their last session) how many ugly couches we have in our churches.

Andy specificially mentioned and joked about handbells. I, having been a worship pastor a long time ago in a traditional Baptist church, can totally relate to that and got a good laugh. Personally, I think today’s “handbells” or “ugly couches” are most dramas. 

Hear me out – I don’t have anything against the art of acting, I just think most of it nowadays should be done in-front of a camera. Use your drama team for in-house video clips like Granger does. Find creative and innovative ways to present the art of drama. Unfortunately, most of what I’ve seen over the years is tired and in need of retirement. 

Your thoughts? I’m sure I upset someone. What are areas or ministries that have had a forever shelf-life in your organization that you wish would end?

Things are busy around my church (Bent Tree). Here’s what’s going down:

  • Last month we had our Grand Opening (pics HERE). 
  • This month we have our annual Missions Festival. This years theme: GLOCAL. I’ve been using that term a lot lately. Our Visual Arts team is transforming our church for this yearly extravaganza! More info HERE.
  • Saturday, Oct 25: We host the Art+Music+Justice Tour. More info HERE.
  • In November we’ll host the “Hymns of Hope” featuring worship leaders (including our own) from 4 amazing churches. Click HERE to see a sneak peak of them on The Worship Network and hear our worship leader, Scott Dyer
  • In December we’ll have some sort of theatric/dramatic presentation in the early part of the month. I’m told we’ll do something “simple” for Christmas Eve. I’m counting on it!
  • In January we host Leadership Network’s Innovation 3 Conference featuring MANY amazing speakers. Be there!
  • Word on the street is that we’ll also be hosting Catalyst in May ’09.  Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel will be on the Bent Tree stage. Watch out!