LEADERS ARE READERS – MY TOP TEN LEADERSHIP BOOKS

My friend Steve Barnett who runs St Andrew’s Bookshop has asked me to put together my top ten recommended books on Leadership. This is very hard! There are more books on leadership than anything other than romantic fiction. Thankfully as I never read the latter I have lots of time to spend on the former, so here goes (these are just Christian ones, when I teach on Transformational Leadership at Westminster Theological Centre I have many more eclectic, business focused and academic suggestions for students too). I’d love to know which ones you would add to the list? Leadership Axioms Bill Hybels Willow Creek’s founder distils decades of leadership at the sharp end on issues such as envisioning others, people skills, financing the dream and releasing the power of everyone. My favourite axiom? ‘Don’t say anybody else’s no for them.’ 76 short chapters to dip in and out of over and over again. Down to earth and actionable – itself a model for leaders and communicators. The 360 Degree Leader John Maxwell I was going to say I’ve read everything Maxwell […]


The Characteristics Of A Strategic Mission Mindset (Acts 2) – Dr Kate Coleman

This was an incredible talk that I will return to over and over. Its implications for the church and its mission are inestimable.  Dr Kate Coleman The characteristics of a strategic mission mindset (Acts 2) There are themes here for us all. Main event = PENTECOST Acts 2:1-13 Acts 1:13 tell us the disciples were gathered. Doors locked. In fear. This room = their place of security and bonding together. They had encounter and hope there. They got fired up there! They were where Jesus told them to be. They were united there! It was very special place – but also potentially a very dangerous place. It had the potential to become their prison. We have to be willing to engage in ‘the mission before the mission.’ To keep an ‘upper room mentality.’ Attached to the last encounter, the last paradigm, the last place Jesus spoke to us. Waiting for lighting to strike the same way, twice. People say ‘This where God did this and that, I loved it then, it used to be packed out.’ Hoping for a repeat […]


BE A BOTH/AND CHURCH – Dave Smith (Kingsgate)

Face the challenge – and seize the opportunity. How? Hold together attractional and missional Both/and Come and see and Go and share church From the outside in AND Equip to go from the inside out. Because we want to see the multitudes around us saved! COME AND SEE This isn’t new and invented by Willow Creek! It’s in the OT. Isaiah 2. The mountain of the Lord that many peoples come to it! Direction there = outside in. Temple, tabernacle. Jesus, the Word became flesh – tabernacle among us. So – ‘Come and see’ is there in the gospel. Jesus is the living temple. Acts 2, and 11. Multitudes converted to the new temple – US! Living stones. We have to rediscover the wonder of gathering as God’s people and increase our expectation of what can happen when people ‘come and see’ a church alive! Full of the presence of the living God in the gathering. This needs INVITATION. Someone bold enough to say ‘Come and see.’ We want to be part of God building something that people come and see. […]


What If We Got John 3:16 Wrong?

I was reading a post written by my friend Ian Paul on his fantastic blog today as I prepare for my talk on Sunday night where I’ve been going through the Lord’s Prayer. At theological college Ian was always the smartest guy in the room, and I highly commend you subscribe to the blog as I do. There’s always so much to think about even in the throwaway lines, as he boldly goes where Anglicans usually fear to tread. In this example, Ian mentions as a Greek scholar something which has quite profound implications that I want to ponder. Ready? “John 3.16 does not mean what most people think: ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son…’ but rather ‘God loved the world in this way that he gave his only Son…’ That was the meaning of ‘so’ in 1611 but is no longer today—but the traditional rendition is so powerful that even Bible translators have lacked the courage to make this clear.” I love it! It’s the manner of love that’s being described and not the […]


What A Great Question!

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the farthest you have ever felt from God, 10 being the closest you have ever felt to God) what number would you give to how close you feel to God today? Why? Kevin M. Watson. The Class Meeting (Kindle Locations 333-334). Kevin calls this The Transformation Question and suggests we should ask it of each other in small groups so that we are not just meeting for affinity or information, but transformation. I LOVE IT! I’m going to use it. How about you? What do you think? AND if you have time… what number do you give yourself today – why?  This is Quickblog. I read a lot and make a lot of notes, and through quickblogs I hope to share some of my pondering more regularly.


QuickBlog; Your Brain’s Appetite

The brain’s appetite for energy is enormous. The brain represents only about 2 percent of most people’s body weight, yet it accounts for about 20 percent of the body’s total energy usage— about 10 times more than would be expected. When the brain is fully working it uses more energy per unit of tissue weight than a fully exercising quadricep. In fact, the human brain cannot simultaneously activate more than 2 percent of its neurons at any one time. More than this, and the glucose supply becomes so quickly exhausted that you will faint. Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (p. 20). Pear Press. Kindle Edition. (These quickblogs are from things I read and find interesting – feel free to comment or share if you do too!) By the way the answer to how to fuel your brain better now is NOT to get some glucose from a can of soda. Exercise creates new pathways so your brain works more efficiently.  


QuickBlog- something I’m learning (this one’s about kids learning)

I read a lot. I make notes a lot. I want to start sharing some of the things that grab me as a ‘Quickblog’ post. Here’s one that strikes me as pretty obvious as someone who grew up playing out from Brain Rules by John Medina  EXERCISE IMPROVES CHILDREN (research by Dr Antronette Yancey) Physically fit children identify visual stimuli much faster than sedentary ones. They appear to concentrate better. Brain-activation studies show that children and adolescents who are fit allocate more cognitive resources to a task and do so for longer periods of time. “Kids pay better attention to their subjects when they’ve been active,” Yancey says. “Kids are less likely to be disruptive in terms of their classroom behavior when they’re active. Kids feel better about themselves, have higher self-esteem, less depression, less anxiety, higher academic performance and attentiveness.” Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (p. 18). Pear Press. Kindle Edition. I bet this isn’t just true for kids! If you want to stay young and live happier, exercise and […]


How To REALLY Change The World?

I love a good TED talk and this one is awesome – you have to click on the link up there or here.  It turns so much of how we think about changing the world through charities and non profits (including the church!) on its head. Or perhaps the right way round? There are some very challenging thoughts from Dan Pollotta here. but I found myself saying “YES! YES! YES!” at various points. Here are my favourite quotes – what do you think? “People are weary of being asked to do the least they can possibly do, people are yearning to measure the full distance of their potential on behalf of the causes they care about deeply. But they have to be asked.” “When you prohibit failure you kill innovation.”  “We confuse morality with frugality.”  “Our generation does not want our epitaph to read, ‘We kept overheads low…. we want it to read that we changed the world.”  “Next time you look at a charity don’t look at the rate of their overhead, ask about the scale of their dreams.”


Have A Better 2018 The Tim Ferris Way – Without Resolutions

Fascinating post at the end of Tim Ferris’ 5 Bullet Friday about what he says when asked about New Years resolutions. My first book was called ‘The Don’t Have To Do List’ so this resonates – I’m going to try a PYR this weekend instead – not so much about people though, but reviewing my projects and priorities.  The truth is that I don’t make them anymore, even though I did for decades. Why the change? First, I realized that without accountability to someone else, resolutions rarely get accomplished. This led me to experiment with working with a close friend to mutually assign each other resolutions (with deadlines), which worked. Second, I have found “past year reviews” (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable than blindly looking forward with resolutions. It looks like the following and only takes 30-60 minutes: Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week. For each week, jot down on the pad any people and activities that triggered peak positive or negative emotions […]