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Posted March 23, 2010
Ministry is chaos. Anybody that tries to tell you otherwise is selling something and probably can get you a good deal on some "property" in Florida. In the vast plethora of ministry books and leadership books out there, this one rises to the top. Steering Through Chaos by Scott Wilson is a breath of fresh air in the smog of leadership and ministry books. I wish that I would have had this book when I started in ministry in 1991. There are so many things that I would have done different in ministry had I read this then. I want to thank Chris Fann at Zondervan and Justin Lathrop at Oaks Fellowship for the chance to read and review this book.
Scott Wilson is the Senior Pastor of the Oaks Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. Leonard Sweet wrote the forward and it is brilliant. He uses the visual illustration of dinosaurs and ostriches. He talks about leaders in ministry who have lost their passion and that you can see it in their eyes. I know this is true because it has happened to me. Ministry has a way of taking everything you give it and then some. I learned a couple years ago from Andy Stanley that my family and my ministry are competing for my heart like a lover and I must choose. Scott Wilson does the same with this book by helping leaders prioritize their ministry and make sure their families come first.
In the first chapter he tackles the concept of transitions that we face in ministry and he poses the question, "Is it always this hard?" He challenges his readers to seek calling over comfort. There is a line from the movie, A League of Their Own, where Tom Hanks says, "It's the hard that makes it good." This is true in ministry and this book is exactly what our churches and leaders need to navigate their way through the chaos. It is not an accident that on the cover of the book is a map and a GPS device. The Kingdom of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit are that GPS device that we need to center ourselves around.
This book is great because not only are there many voices that contributed to Scott Wilson's wisdom in ministry. This is a very practical, rubber meets the road, type of ministry book. I honestly believe that it should be required reading for anybody that is thinking about entering vocational ministry or leading in their church in any way.
The concept that most connected with me was on page 85 in his chapter on Authenticity. It is the idea of CASCADING COMMUNICATION. In ministry everything hinges on good communication. I have seen some gifted pastors struggle and fail because of poor communication. I can say this with certainty because I am one of them. In 17 years of ministry, this is my biggest weakness.
Scott's model begins with the staff and board. God has given pastors and elders charge of taking care of the bride of Christ. When the staff and board have a vision for a new ministry or direction and they share it using the Cascading Communication model it just works better. This book is such a vital tool for churches and ministries to help their leadership steer through the chaos of life and the chaos of ministry.
Please consider buying this for yourself and another copy for your pastor or small group leader.
Posted January 13, 2010
By the time most churches choose to change, it is almost too late. They are in crisis and decline. They are experiencing opposition rather than momentum. Scott Wilson's Steering through Chaos offers church leaders valuable insights about how to make changes while their churches are growing and experiencing momentum so that they experience greater levels of faithfulness and fruitfulness in ministry.
Scott is a personal friend; senior pastor of The Oaks Fellowship near Dallas, Texas; and an ordained Assemblies of God minister. The insights he presents in this book are biblically grounded, organizationally savvy, field-tested, and passionately presented. I have read many books on church leadership and church growth. They apply best practices from the business world to the church world with real insight and effectiveness. Scott does so here as well, where appropriate. But he also offers this timely reminder:
"Certainly, we can learn valuable lessons by looking at the way a business organization is operated and led, but ultimately we need to remember that Christ is the head of the universal church and of every local body of believers. The church doesn't exist to make a pastor's plans a reality; it exists to live out Christ's vision for his body and for our community."
I strongly recommend Steering through Chaos. It shows church leaders how to choose, communicate, and implement strategic change when momentum is at their backs rather than decline in their faces. And it does so by contextualizing good organizational practices in the framework of a vital spirituality.
Posted January 19, 2010
No text was provided for this review.