Reflections

Normally this time of year I become very reflective... I look back on the past year and I pray that God would show me things that He has taught me.  I find this very important so that I do not forget what I've learned and, more importantly, that I actually put it into practice.

I learned this from the Bible.  In Philippians 4:8-9 the Apostle Paul writes:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
"Put it into practice".  It's not enough to just hear from God and learn great stuff... as Christians, and especially as Christian leaders, we need to put it into practice.  Over the next few days I'll be writing about what I believe God has taught me this past year and how I hope to put these learnings into practice in 2017.

LEADERS ARE READERS

In many different ways God reminded me this year that Leaders are Readers.  He did this through school courses, seminars, mentors and in personal reading.

For pretty much my entire life I have been a HUGE reader.  I was always reading.  In fact, at one point before going into Pastoral ministry I would read 2-3 books a week!

But something has happened over the past couple of years...  Somehow, and I really don't know when, I began to struggle with reading.  I couldn't stay focused on a page long enough to absorb anything from it.  I would rarely, if ever, finish a book.  And instead of 2-3 books a week, it would be 2-3 books every six months.

I've become distracted.  With so much on my mind, and so many sources of distraction in email, texts, phones, social media and whatever else, I have lost discipline in being able to focus and to be still.

Going through the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course with our church has greatly helped me realize the importance of getting this skill back!

In order to return to my love of reading I've put together a leadership reading plan which I learned from Nelson Searcy's book, The Renegade Pastor.  In order to be a well balanced leader I need to be reading different types of books from different types of authors.  This is what the plan will look like.

  • Every day includes Bible reading.  In order to track this, I'm using a One Year Bible reading plan provided by YouVersion.
  • Each month I will read one "Best Practice" book, focused on growing and improving either ministry or my personal devotional life.
  • Each quarter I will read another book.  These four books will be 2 Theology books, 1 Church History book, and 1 Philosophy book.
My hope and prayer is that God will use this new discipline to help me love and shepherd my family, my church and my community at even greater levels in 2017.

So if any of you have book suggestions for any of those categories, I'd LOVE to hear from you!

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