In light of my recent article at Lifeway Leadership, here are a few books I recommend reading if you feel exhausted by ministry, lackluster about the church, or distant from Jesus:
On The BrinkÂ – This book blends empathy, challenge, and biblical exhortation very well. An excellent help to anyone who feels “on the brink” or wants to better understand what pastors, in particular, often face.
Leading on Empty – This book combines science with sage advice. It contains some great best practices from an experienced pastor.
Near Unto God – A life-giving devotional by Abraham Kuyper. His brief devotional entries are packed with spiritual insight and stir religious affection.
In his stirring book, David: Man of Prayer, Man of War, Walter Chantry contrasts the life and leadership of David with the life and leadership of King Saul. Consider the contrast between the two men:
|Heart after God
God uses the unexpected, unimpressive, and inexperienced to accomplish remarkable things. Saul was a head above most men. David was ruddy and small in stature. Saul was driven by an evil spirit and died a crazed, God-forsaken man.David drove an evil spirit from Saul with the sound of his lyre. Saul hid out in his tent when Goliath taunted the Israelites. David stood up for his people and his God and defeated Goliath. We could go on. What made the difference between these two men?
Their Difference is the Spirit
What made David such a remarkable leader? The Holy Spirit. The chronicler of Israel’s history reveals the primary difference between these two kings: “And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul…” (1 Sam 16:13-14). The ultimate contrast between these men was not their appearance or experience; it was their spirit. We’re told that the Spirit rushed upon David, while the Spirit departed from Saul. One man was Spirit-filled and led. The other was Spirit-devoid and distrusting. Chantry comments on their difference: “God is showing us a man filled with the Spirit in bold relief against a man without the Spirit.”
Implications of Spirit-led leadership
Consider three differences in leadership between David and Saul:
- God’s Spirit Incites Zeal – In the face of Philistine blasphemies, David was incited with zeal for the Lord: “He was stirred to the depths with concern for the glory of God.”
What is stirring you? Are you stirred to depths…for the glory of God? Do hide out in your tent, your library, your office, or are you incited with zeal for the Lord to pursue his glory in pastoring, in mission? Are you passionately pursuing God’s glory or your own?
- God’s Spirit Incites Faith – Saul relies on bribes to get others to fight Goliath. Saul discourages young leaders like David (to not fight Goliath) because he is motivated by fear not faith.
Are you leading your church, your leaders, based on fear or faith. Do you insist on control or relinquish control to let others press ahead in faith? Are you dreaming beyond your own abilities or restricted by what you can see?
- God’s Spirit Incites Wisdom – David’s zealous faith was marked by self-control. When mocked by his brothers, he did not pick a fight, defend his abilities, but channeled indignation towards his enemies.
Instead of getting side tracked by petty issues, comments, and complaints, Spirit-led leaders learn to lead with “one blind eye and one deaf ear.” We detect distractions from God’s calling with wisdom and prudence. We don’t do everything. We are compelled by Spirit-led discernment, not human-led drive and ambition.
Tonight we had our first of three sessions on deacon training. I was moved by the number of quality of potential deacons sitting in our house. God has been so kind to Austin City Life! In preparation for training our deacons, I did the following:
Then I wrote and mailed a letter of invitation to potential deacons, gave them a copy of Driscoll’s booklet, and developed a teaching outline for our three session Deacon Training. In all of this I borrowed heavily from Bob Thune and David Fairchild. Thanks guys! Here’s the list of topics we are covering each month:
October 5, 2008 1st training meeting @ Dodson’s house
Discussion topic: A Theology of Deacons
Assignment: One Page Reflection Paper on 1 Tim 3:8-13
November 2, 2008 2nd training meeting @ Dodson’s house
Discussion topic: The Practice of Deacons
Assignment: One Page Dream Ministry Description
December 7, 2008 3rd training meeting @ Dodson’s house
Discussion topic: Holding to the Mystery of Faith
Next Assignment: One Page Summary of the Gospel
December 8-14, 2008 Interviews and Installation
In preparation for our Fall Deacon Training, I found these interview questions from Tim Keller very helpful:
- Purity. Are you leading a sexually pure life? (What do you consider a sexually pure life?)
- Possessions. Do you understand the Biblical tithe to be for Christians of the giving to the Lord’s work? Are you giving out of your income in Biblical proportions, or are you moving toward that standard?
- Personal walk. Describe your prayer and devotional life. Has God been real to you in prayer of late; is your relationship with him vital? Is anything hindering your communion with God? Are you making progress against it?
- Ministry Involvement. Tell us of how you have been involved in people’s lives in ministry through _____ or through other organizations in the City. Do you have any non-Christian associates that you are regularly praying for and sharing faith with?
- Office affinity. Describe for us the duties of deacon/deaconness. How do your gifts, abilities, interests fit this office?
Taken from the Redeemer Church Planting Manual