Sunday, May 16, 2010

27 tough questions pastors ask

Every once in a while you read a book and think, "this is a resource I can use." There are numerous books out there for Pastors to use. Many tout answers to the church's toughest questions or a Pastor's biggest issues, few deliver. Dick Hardy's new book 27 Tough Questions Pastors Ask is one of the books that delivers. I am an avid reader and often teased about the number of books I read and those teasing swear that I can't remember all the information I've read. However, 27 Tough Questions is a book I will will remember and refer to often.

Hardy has organized the book in a very easy to navigate fashion. It reminds me of Bill Hybel's book Axioms. Short chapters, with concise and well written points. For example, we are currently in the process of interviewing a new staff member. I have paper clipped this section of his book. Hardy doesn't just "talk" about hiring he gives sample questions and specific guidance. "Get a very specific answer as to why he is leaving his current position. Force him to talk beyond 'I just feel God is moving me on.' In 99% of the cases, there is something there you need to know." And, if we make a mistake, the very next chapter is "Dismissing Staff", we're covered either way.

On a personal note, I am a staff pastor, often our positions are overlooked or negated by others...we're not considered "real" pastors. I have met Dick Hardy in person and through his book you feel his connection with all Pastors. He values the local church and understands the impact that the church has on the community. His heart and goal is to empower ALL Pastors to be the best they can be. Clear out a permanent easy to access space for this one because you'll go back to it over and over again. Each time this book is well worth the read. This books is available at

Monday, May 3, 2010

Friends and shoes

I’ve been laboring over what to write in the blog…I know it’s been a while. Over the past couple of weeks I attended our denominational District council and visited one of my best friends in the world at her home in Dallas. As I reflect on these two occasions I have plenty for which to be thankful. So, debate settled…blogging on thankfulness
At our district council I had the opportunity to interact with and learn from other ministers in our area. God created us to live in fellowship and companionship with other humans. He is all about relationship. I’m always in awe of the men and women who daily live their lives leading others to God. It is such an honor to be able to be in this profession.
However, I want to express and be most thankful for my friends. My friend Emily and I have been friends for almost 20 years! What a gift! We’ve seen each other married, have children and now are living through sending our kids off to college. As I watch some of the young mothers overwhelmed with their little ones’ I think back to the many days and evenings that Emily and I spent together with other friends, supporting each other and asking advice. We shared in a babysitting co-op, our kids attended the same elementary and our husbands worked for the same company. It was a unique God ordained situation. The key in friendship like this is choosing to be vulnerable, making an effort to spend time together and get to know one another. Much the same as our relationship with the Lord, we have to spend time together, stay in touch and be vulnerable. He wants to know us. In John 15 Jesus calls us friend. His description is someone who knows his father’s business, who obeys his commands and learns from Him.
So how do I know God’s business? I stay in touch. The only way I know what’s up with Emily is through communicating with her. We all have our friends with whom we’ve lost touch; the only way this happens with God is if we move. He doesn’t move, he never leaves us, he’s always there and he doesn’t change, but we have to stay in contact. I want to be that friend. I want to be a friend of God! Do you?

I had to have an addendum .... While in Dallas I saw the perfect shoe…maybe not perfect but a great shoe! Emily and I have many things in common, we love TV, a good cupcake and to shop, especially for shoes. I don’t know if it shows restraint that I walked away from these, because I still think about them. Is that obsession? I even drove out of my way to a little boutique to see if they had them in KC. If they did I was going to spiritualize it into some “God ordained” thing I didn’t know if someone else has ever faced a similar obsession? I wish I could get some great spiritual lesson out of this, not sure there is one. But these are a great pair of shoes!