Leading Happy

Where Leadership and Happiness Collide

Category: Mentorship (page 2 of 5)

The Pickled Priest and the Perishing Parish: A Review

What an oddly enjoyable book. I am sure you have heard, never judge a book by it’s cover, but I did. In a good way. I mean, come on, what an odd title – The Pickled Priest and the Perishing Parish. I thought to myself, either this guy Hal West is either uber creative or he’s just mad at the state of the church and trying to sneak in judgment through creativity. First impressions had me leaning towards the later. For those that know me, I am man enough to admit defeat and say I was wrong, and boy was I wrong.

Hal West in The Pickled Priests and the Perishing Parish is like traveling with a older, wiser, and humorous mentor who has watched and participated (and at times shunned) the radical changing trends of the church through a life of faithfulness. Nevertheless, when many boomer-aged pastors are looking for the greener pasture of a ninth hole fairway, West feels his time to truly make an impact is now. Not only is this a solid read for pastors who are just now coming into their own  and needing advice on what church was in the past by a true practitioner, but it is also a wonderful read for boomer age pastors to realize the value they still can add to the church. West is truly the humorous and whimsical Gandalf for the hobbit-like pastors who need guidance on their journey and for the elders who still need to stick around to share the wisdom of the past so we all do not make the same mistakes previous church leaders have made.

Before we go too far, one important note, Hal West is not a priest and has not ever lived in a parish. He utilizes this terminology because of the power it elicits for spiritual guidance and the longevity inherent within.  Pastors are to be the long term, spiritual leaders of their community. With modern pastors moving and changing jobs so often, no wonder little to no impact has been made over the last decade or more. Being the constant figure in the community someone can go for spiritual insight and reprieve from a world gone wrong, this is the message many boomer pastors can pass down to their proteges. Instead of lamenting the rise of the young, rock-star, self centered pastor, those who have pastored faithfully for years can pass on wisdom only found in the truly faithful – those on whom we build our legacy.

The overall message is one all spiritual leaders must face – to get past our “pickled” perspective, regardless of tenure perspectives to approach the transformation of the church with an open mind as to proved spiritual vision and restoration to the modern church and to the souls they serve regularly. West does the best I have seen from a boomer leader through humor and through poignant experiences that qualify him to be a coach and consultant to other boomer leaders and especially to the rising generation of spiritual leaders.

I highly recommend this book to two major groups – boomer age pastors and young pastors. Truly the book does such an amazing job speaking to the issues of older leaders fighting change and younger leaders feeling like everything must change. There is a middle ground that is often ignored, but not by West. I also recommend this book to anyone who feels that their aging pastor has become too “pickled” to change and transition which can be hurting the overall health and growth of the church. West understands how they feel and where they are coming from and his book can offer needed advice to change for the betterment of their spiritual journey as well as the church they love and serve.

The Pickled Priest and the Pershing Parish is a humour, heartfelt read by a pastor with a huge, humble heart for his contemporaries and the next generation of rising spiritual leaders. Younger pastors need the wisdom of the experienced pastor and seasoned pastors need to hear out the new perspectives the next generation brings so that everyone can reach their full redemptive potential in the communities they serve.

This book is a wonderful primer for such a timely, needed conversation!

West, Hal. The Pickled Priest and the Pershing Parish: Boomer Pastors Bouncing Back. Nashville: Westbow Press, 2016. 130pp. $15.00.

*I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. 

Sharing Your Faith at W.O.R.K.

Note: This post originally appeared at Empty Church

Typically, sharing faith at work has been seen in two diametric opposites. Either it’s the incredibly passionate religious zealot others run and hide from or the lazy, religious hipster who finds anything other than prayer and contemplation beneath him. I am pretty sure through my journey as a Christian I have been in both groups. Obviously, this is a gross exaggeration because there are so many nuances in-between. But you get the point.

For us, we want to look at productive and healthy ways to share faith at work – that place we spend 40 plus hours a week or more. Many separate out their life as work, family, and recreation. Yet, when added up, we spend a huge amount of time at work around the same people for months and years on end. When I realized this, I found that my work relationships and contacts were much deeper than I first realized. There was time created influence there that I had not tapped into for the kingdom of God.

So I came up with the acronym W.O.R.K. to help me and later others become more gospel-oriented at work.

W – Work Diligently  

I recall my first job as a young teen. I was 13 years old and volunteering for a local hospital. I remember setting back and reading or goofing off with other volunteers while the “paid guys” did the work. I will never forget what my direct report said to me.

“David, I know your parents, and I know you are a Christian. You setting around being lazy makes you look bad. It makes us Christians look bad. We should be the hardest workers. We serve longer and with more care than others should!”

Rudy, the chief of security at the hospital, knew my parents well as he and my dad worked around each other for over 20 years. His words affected me. That summer ended up being awarded the hardest worker merit for us “candy striper volunteers.” When I gave the thank you speech, I was able to thank Rudy, and I was also able to speak about my faith in Christ to the hospital employees present.

The writer of Proverbs provides us some insight into the value of hard work:

“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.” (Proverbs 12:11)*

“Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.” (Proverbs 12:24)

In other words, hard work is what leads to promotion, to more freedom in your work-life balance. Working hard allows you to move up the ladder and the further up you go the more platform and influence you hold.  Work hard, gain respect, and become the leader God desires you to become.

O – Opportunity Wise

As I moved up the leadership ladder, I found I had more time and space to influence people. So I began to pray that God would open my eyes to opportunities to share my faith.

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” (Colossians 4:2)

I wanted my mind to alert to when those I worker for, alongside of, and especially above to know I was here for them. Not just as a colleague but as a caring friend. I prayed I would not be opportunity blind, an idea I first heard of from pastor and author, Mark Batterson. I was willing and I was ready!

“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Be ready to answer those who need hope. I knew I needed to focus on making Jesus real to people with real work, family, and life issues. I was learning to be a pastor in a company, which can be trickier than in a church. New mission; new methods!

R – Reinforce Values

Every work culture has values. Most of the time, they are plastered all over walls, business cards, and their webpage. Nevertheless, having values printed doesn’t mean the values are imbedded and lived out.

One thing I have done for years is to learn the values of the company or church I was working with and then to fold those values into how I worked and lived. This has never let me down.

Plus, values are something that Christians are taught to take to heart, think on, and live out. Values shape and mold us. As above, Rudy instilled in me the Christian value of hard work and servanthood. Further, Paul teaches that they are worthy of praise!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)

For example, the current company I am with values health, wellness, and vitality. Many of the employees can be seen multiple times a day walking around the property. They walk for health benefits, but walking with others builds comradery. I’ve been able to share my faith at various times walking around with co-workers. Embracing the values of the company may allow you unique ways to share with others.

K – Kindness Matters

Finally, kindness matter isn’t simply a nicety, but the way we should approach anything we value. When you value someone you care for them. You are willing to put up with some junk to stay in relationship with them. You correct them when they are off the path.

The author of Ephesians explains, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

The same is true for us. We must first show we care for others before we can hope to share Christ with them. Think of it like this. If I am a jerk for a boss or a really incompetent leader, and then I go to others and share my faith, how much credit would I hold? Sure, the gospel has intrinsic value and worth in and of itself, but in today’s culture, the messenger matters. If you desire to carry the message of Jesus in the workplace, kindness must come naturally.

So to conclude, sharing the gospel at W.O.R.K. can be a stressful endeavor only because we try to do so in ways that don’t feel natural. Applying what we have discussed here can help you find a more natural fit to sharing with those you work with and lead.

Go ahead. Try it. You won’t regret it!

*All verses are from the New Living Translation.

Great Gift for that Leader in Your Life

 

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Maxwell, John. Leadership Promises for Every Day: A Daily Devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2016. 390pp. $19.99.

So I will confess I am a John Maxwell junkie. I have encountered his teachings at so many conferences, DVDs, podcasts, and round tables, not to mention my entire shelf of Maxwell books. I have even been talking with a rep with his consulting certification as a Maxwell Team Coach. I like to admit my biases up front. It’s a fault, but people love me for it. Yet, I will also admit up front, I am not a fan of devotionals. I am that guy that tends to smile when a devotional if given to me, and then uses it for a paperweight the rest if the year.

(If you have given me a devotional, I am sorry.)

Nevertheless, when I was sent this copy of Leadership Promises for Everyday by Maxwell, I was incredibly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I found myself wanting to read 10 or 12 in one setting. The Scripture references with a pithy leadership or ministry ideas for the leader at any level was addicting. Possibly needless to say, I read most of the devotional in about two weeks time. (Like I said, devotionals and I are either in love or we hate each other.)

Why I believe this devotional is worth it is because of John Maxwell himself. His decades of credibility, his endless writing career, and his passion for Christian leadership grants him a place at the head of the table in a leader’s development. Honestly, even if you have never read a Maxwell book, you still glean from his other writings as the devotional takes advantage of his previous books. In other words, you can read a dozen, 300 page books or you can get daily doses to advantageously apply to your life and leadership.

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Why I mention it as a great gift idea for that leader in your life is because of the size, cover, and price. Its cover is made of imitation leather with embossed lettering and a creatively designed, embossed compass. The size is perfect to set on a desk or to carry along in a bag or with one’s Bible as a companion. Many of the pages, even with the smaller size, has room enough to write a leadership idea that comes up and you don’t want to forget. The pages are coated so great for underlining and highlighting without bleed through. Two of my pet peeves with thin pages in books made for note taking and idea generation. Don’t judge, you know it bugs you too!

Plus, the price is a perfect price point for a gift. At under $20, you cannot beat the look and content you get. I worked in retail in my younger years, and we always had people coming in looking for a good gifts for their boss, pastor, or leader in their life. Hey, all you have to do it click on the link above and BOOM Amazon delivers the gift right to you (or even them). I know, but no thanks necessary. I am there for you!

Now if you are really an over-planner (it’s okay, this is a safe place to share), this is a great idea for that graduation you know is coming in May 2017! Mind Blown?!?! I know, but stay calm. *Digital Hi-Five*

So do yourself a favor or get that leader in your life a worthy gift. I have yet to go wrong with a Maxwell book to my leader friendships and now they have one that’s just perfect for gifting.

So lead on and lead happy!

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