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 […]


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 […]


How Churches Become Generous – Dave Smith, Kingsgate Church #NextLevel

Preach Disciple Celebrate Model – GENEROSITY  How are we doing in these areas? PREACHING is absolutely foundational. We must preach about what God says about generosity and money. A lack of boldness holds us back, so God’s people are held back! We must not filter this through our Britishness. We must be biblical about it. Some of our churches just never talk about money. There’s a mindset to that. When I became a Christian I went to everyone I could to share the grace of God in my spirit and about salvation. But I heard a preacher talking about the blessing of God and he had justification, and salvation, and healing. Then he tried to talk about the blessing of God in provision. God has to free us from all wrong cultural mindsets. 500 years ago there was a reformation! Based on sola scriptura. The ultimate authority is God’s word. Not our reason or experience. And their primary foundation they focused on was about justification. But the Bible has a lot to say about money too. We must get convinced, and bold on […]


Happy Reformation Day! Ready For The Next One?

In a newsagents today I was amazed how many magazines are still writing about the effects of the Reformation, 500 years on. This one in the New Scientist is fascinating. It’s widely held that Martin Luther never aspired to be a great theologian or meant to start a revolution, he just wanted a conversation about salvation that led to the Reformation (did you notice that rhymed? I should have been a rapper!). Reading Nick Page’s recent funny and informative book on the Reformation reminds me Luther was not particularly original either, he combined the ideas of others with the questions he had from reading the Bible for himself and posed some questions about the church in his day that was so far removed from the people it was meant to reach. The new technology of the printing press took his ideas viral and set ablaze a conflagration leading to movements formed that continue to multiply to today. I thank God for that. I thank God for the Reformation today. I thank God for those who gave their lives so that […]


Efrem Smith – KINGDOM DREAMS IN A BROKEN WORLD at #Exponential

Revelation 7: After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, 10 as they shouted, “Our God, who sits     upon the throne, has the power to save his people,     and so does the Lamb.” 11 The angels who stood around the throne knelt in front of it with their faces to the ground. The elders and the four living creatures knelt there with them. Then they all worshiped God 12 and said, “Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom,     thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God     forever and ever! Amen!” 13 One of the elders asked me, “Do you know who these people are that are dressed in white robes? Do you know where they come from?” 14 “Sir,” I answered, “you must know.” Then he told me: “These are the ones who have gone through     the great suffering. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb     and have made […]


Shout Out To My Ex-Gallbladder

‘Are you going to be sick? You look like you’re going to be sick.’ I couldn’t open my mouth to say to Zoe, ‘Of course I’m not going to be sick’, just in case. A  minute later I was so sick, so loud, my son heard me from upstairs and thought I was shouting with rage. That was two days ago and I’m sitting on the couch now feeling queasy with a ‘just in case’ bowl next to me. I had my gallbladder removed a few days back. Now I have an impressive array of stab wounds across my abdomen. One day the grandchildren may believe this was from when Poppa fought in the war so we all could be free, and I’ll never know how they came to believe such a thing. But finally feeling well enough to concentrate on something other than Netflix (hours I’ll never get back) I thought I’d pull together some ramblings and if it doesn’t make sense put it down to the tablets. I never thanked God for my gallbladder, till it was gone.  What a […]


7 Steps To Create A Missional Culture – Dave Ferguson

Great session from Dave today at the Growing To The Next Level gathering at Kingsgate Church, Peterborough – and I suspect the seven steps below could be adapted for many  things you might want to change in a church, organisation or business  This is not just about having some missional practices (like BELLS or BLESS) – but how do you create and sustain a missional culture? We’re on a journey with that at Community Church, Chicago. We want a Come and See environment (Near) But also Go and Tell. (Far) MC + MP = MM Multiplying Churches plus Missional People = Missional Movement 7 steps to create a missional culture Name it – we are not where we need to be. This cannot stay the same! Brand it – do the hard work of making hard things to do simple to understand. Give the people a clear understanding of the problem, the mission, and clear missional practices. Do it! YOU are the culture creator. You will reproduce who are, and get the culture you deserve. When you can say ‘I am […]


You Can Build A Ship, But You Can’t Make The Wind Blow. Matt Chandler

My notes from a stand out talk from this year’s Exponential West 2016; At conferences, you see the speakers up there, like they have something special going on, and then there’s’ little old me.’  Like they have these great big ocean liners and you’re in your little rowboat. But that’s not what matters. We can all aim to implement great practices; we can try to build that a bigger, better ship.  But… we can’t make the wind blow.  We can gather, we can motivate, but we can’t transform.  We are so much in need of the Holy Spirit to blow that wind, in the hope that we move forward. We must not think though, that He isn’t a magical genie in a lamp that you simply rub and it will happen! What we can do is look at the place where the wind blows. If we position ourselves where the wind has a tendency to blow, it will happen. Amid the books, the conferences or podcasts we can all think ‘the Church needs Tim Keller, or someone…’ but he put Keller […]


IF God is so good, why is the world so bad?

Every day for weeks we have been bombarded with horror stories. Orlando and then various cities in the USA, Baghdad, Syria (of course), then Nice – a place where Ivy has mission partners that I have visited so it feels a lot closer to home. It really wasn’t that long since Zoe and I sat on the Promenade des Anglais, looking out at the sea and praying together. A beautiful place – and then irrational, unfathomable evil is unleashed and the innocent suffer again. How are we supposed to deal with it? And whether you believe in God or hate the idea of God, you have to deal with it. Sociologist Peter Berger said we all have to come up with a solution to this for ourselves in some way, or we’ll find the world unbearable. We’ll crack up. That’s one reason the world is so hopeless and fearful right now. People are still trying to figure it all out, and they can’t… Last night at Ivy I addressed the issues in a talk entitled How can God be good, when […]