Books I have read: Building a Strategic Church

Building a Strategic Church

David Beer was one of those church leaders you wanted to learn from, one who I had the privilege of meeting and hearing speak several times.  In Building a Strategic Church he allows us to sit in a coffee shop with him and chat about lots of different areas of church ministry.

The book covers a huge number of areas with eleven chapters, each subdivided into little sections only a few pages long:

  • Why be strategic?
  • Strong leadership
  • Team spirit
  • Relational structures
  • Application preaching
  • Training and equipping
  • Exponential thinking
  • Generous attitude
  • Involvement with the local community
  • A caring heart
  • Putting it all together

After serving as Senior Pastor at Frinton Free Church (a church with approximately 600 members) he went on to head up the Purpose Driven Church movement in Europe.  This does mean that some parts of the book come across as overly American and reliant on the acrostics and structures that come from Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church.

The book left me wanting more in several areas, I would want to bounce ideas with David Beer, understanding why he does things in certain ways, and what he thinks about some of my ideas.  If you’re looking for a helpful overview to the how of church then look no further.

Dibden Minis, Kids & Youth – 2013 in summary

DibdenBrand_Logo(colour)

The children’s and youth ministry I help to lead has had a fantastic 2013, check out these facts to give you a flavour for what’s been happening:

  • 197 children attended our Monsters Stink holiday club – the biggest summer holiday activity for children in Hampshire
  • 78 assemblies, 29 RE lessons, 104 lunch club sessions and 8 pupils mentored weekly in local schools
  • 150 year 6 children helped with transition to secondary school
  • 225 children visited the church for RE
  • 388 tweets on Twitter
  • 97 Facebook Likes for Dibden Minis
  • 100 Facebook Likes for Dibden Kids
  • 129 Facebook Likes for Dibden Youth
  • 25 young people went to Soul Survivor with 6 young people becoming a Christian
  • 30 young people went to Fairthorne Manor
  • 290 attendances at iDen and jDen
  • 769 attendances at Uncover Tuesdays
  • 13 services led by the Youth Worship Group
  • 50 at the Dibden Youth Christmas Social
  • Over 23,000 watched a testimony video the week before Easter on Facebook
  • 13 young people got Confirmed
  • 1,601 attendances on a Sunday morning and evening
  • 2,115 attendances at Dibden Minis
  • Over 5,420 volunteer hours given, excluding Steph Gray’s time, saving over £50,000 in staffing

Books I have read: Shine on, Star of Bethlehem

Shine on, star of Bethlehem

Years ago when I was first in ministry I picked up a copy of Shine on, Star of Bethlehem by Geoffrey Duncan.  The book is a huge worship resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.

Geoffrey Duncan is well known for producing great prayer and worship anthologies, and this Christmas resource does not disappoint.  What makes this resource so helpful is the variety – both in terms of content – be it welcoming prayers to final blessings to full orders of services; but also in terms of style and age – I’ve felt very comfortable using this with children and young people as well as with older adults.

This is one of the resources I come back to time and time again during the Christmas season – if you don’t have it I recommend you get hold of it.

Books I have read: Leading on Empty

Leading on Empty

This week I’ve been reading Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro.  I was recommended this book by one of my previous colleagues who had been really encouraged by Cordeiro’s honesty and attitude.  The book starts by reflecting on his experience of burnout and how he realised that his life was not sustainable and needed to change.

For me the most helpful aspect of the book was his honesty both as he reflected with what he needed to change – that it ran deep within himself; and the depth at which Cordeiro explained practically how he managed this – especially with the Personal Retreat Days – something I will certainly be taking on board as we move into 2014.

The concept of a dashboard which helps to measure vital systems essential for health and success was interesting, he used: Faith life; marriage life; family life; office life; computer life; ministry life; financial life; social life; attitudinal life; author’s life; speaker’s life and physical life.  I found Cordeiro’s thoughts on the different questions we ask ourselves in our 20s, our 30s, our 40s, our 50s, our 60s and our 70s helpful to realise that after ten years in ministry who I am, and the questions I ask of myself have changed during this period.

With recommendations such as “This is a must-read for all leaders” by Bill Hybels it certainly isn’t one to ignore, and whilst there is nothing that you probably haven’t heard before, it will certainly encourage you and challenge you to make your life more sustainable instead of constantly leading on empty.

Jesus Didn’t Do It All

Jesus is coming“Jesus didn’t do it all. Jesus didn’t meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry. He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do”.

Kevin DeYoung from Crazy Busy.

Ricky Gervais’ Greatest Writing Lesson

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais is one of the most brilliant comedic writers around, he created the award winning series The Office, hosted the Golden Globes twice and much more.  But he learned his most valuable writing lesson when he was 13-years-old, while trying to get back at a teacher.

In the first installment of Fast Company‘s “Creation Stories” — a series that aims to “entertain while shedding some light on the creative process” — Gervais explains his writing process. He describes that while writing “the most boring story in the world,” he actually learned a valuable lesson: “Write what you know.”

What’s the best writing or preaching advice you’ve heard?  Watch the video, and let me know in the comments below.

The Technology Tornado

Tornado

I loved The Technology Tornado post on the Simply Youth Ministry newsletter this last week:

This area has been a particular struggle in our own marriage, and one that we have by no means figured out. We’ve had many talks and constantly wrestle with what boundaries work for our relationship. In this day and age you can’t completely disconnect from the world, but nor should you be so distracted by constant email pings and texts that you’re not present for your family. This technology conversation has a lot of gray areas and so it takes a fair amount of effort and communication to hash out.

Here’s the main goal: Don’t allow screen time to replace face time.

People need attention. They need you to be focused on them, listening, alert, and engaged. There is no formula or set of rules that you can follow to guarantee you’ll be great at paying attention. And chances are that as the capabilities of technology expand and integrate more and more into our daily lives, this will be an area you’ll have to work on a lot.

As you talk with your spouse and family about technology, be sure to listen to each other’s opinions and work together to create boundaries that fit your unique needs.

Here are some things we’ve enacted in our own marriage and family life:

1) No technology at meal times. Phones are off or on vibrate, they are not sitting on the dinner table. Computers and iPads are closed and put away.

 2) No charging devices in the bedroom. It’s really hard to have quality time when things keep buzzing, dinging, and drawing our attention away from each other. Plug in and charge the electronics in another room.

3) Work email goes to a work computer. For us it helped to not have ministry emails dinging into Jake’s phone. It kept him constantly “at work” even though he was home.

 4) The freedom to say no. We each have the freedom to express frustration if we feel the other one is being sucked too much into the technology tornado.

5) One Sabbath day. Technology is turned off and totally ignored one day a week. (In theory! We admit, this one is hard to do.)

Have fun using these new ways to limit the control technology has on your life!

Thank you for loving students,

Jake and Melissa Kircher

@jakekircher      @MKircher83