Leonard Sweet is an engaging author -- a "theological poet" as Shane Clairborne dubbed him. His new book,I Am a Follower is a work of theological poetry.
This book is vintage Sweet -- packed to the hilt with wonderful quotations, poems, and insights that, alone, make the book worth buying. I copied many of them into my journal.
Sweet's primary mission in this book is to challenge readers to stop fixating on leadership, and begin focusing on being followers of Christ instead.
This is a good corrective to the evangelical church which has, in recent years, overemphasized organizational leadership to the neglect of spiritual formation. We need to remember the essence of why we are doing all this in the first place. We are called, after all, to make disciples (followers) of Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
In making his case, however, I believe Sweet goes too far with his anti-leadership rhetoric. His Jim Collins and Willow Creek bashings, for instance, are unhelpful, and actually hinder the effectiveness of his point. Both Collins and the folks at Willow have excellent insights to move organizations forward, and should not be so quickly dismissed or discounted.
Contrary to this author's opinion, I believe we need more good leadership - -not less. Those who lead churches should be on a constant quest to grow as leaders and to improve their skills. The enormous mission before us demands it.
Effective leadership is not the essence of our message -- but it is a tremendous vehicle to multiply it. We can improve our leadership ability by learning from others who lead (both positively and negatively) and there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so.
Still, despite his anti-leadership stance, I think it's a good read, and especially appreciate Sweet's emphasis on followership first - -which is really what we should be. Followers first and leaders second.
By the way, his challenge to explore what the New Testament specifically says about leadership was an eye opener for me. I plan to use this exercise to spark conversation the next time I teach my Church Leadership Course.
Everyone deals with financial setbacks from time to time. Money doesn't buy happiness - -but the lack of it can sure bring a lot of stress. My father, talking about the lean years of the Great Depression, said they pinched pennies so tight, Abe Lincon hollered! George Washington has hollered in my hands a few times!
When facing hard times financially, it pays to remember these are the only times we have. We need to keep a proper perspective. Here are some important reminders as we face adversity:
1. God is far bigger than the problem. If a financial crisis looms like a mountain, remember -- God is the mountain mover! There's no challenge too great for the Almighty. There is not one situation beyond His ability. Instead of telling God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big God is!
2. Hard times teach us wisdom. Difficult days force us to stop and evaluate where we are, what we're doing, and why we're doing it. Nobody becomes wise with ease. It takes trouble t…
I was ordained July 10, 1987, when General Superintendent, Dr. Earle Wilson, laid hands on me, shook my hand, and thundered, "Take thou authority to preach the Word!"
I was thinking about this a while back, and wondered how far back I could go with the succession of my ordination. So, I did a little research.
* I was ordained by Earle Wilson
* Earle Wilson was ordained by Pilgrim Holiness General Superintendent, William Neff.
* William Neff was ordained by the Pilgrim founder, Seth Rees * Seth Rees was ordained by Nazarene founder, Phineas Bresee (Note -- Rees was initally "recorded" as a Quaker, because they did not ordain their ministers. Later, he moved over to the newly formed Church of the Nazarene, and I am taking a leap by assuming that when he became a Nazarene, they ordained him. Rees was certainly worked beside Bresee as his contemporary.)
* Phineas Bresee was ordained by Methodist Bishop, Levi Scott
* Levi Scott was ordained by Elijah Hedding. …