Book Reviews: Andy’s 2023 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.


Erickson suggests that every man needs these 7 friends in their life to live a full life. Here are his seven friends: a mentor to disciple you, a Peter to encourage you, a best friend to uphold you, a courageous brother to confront you, a faithful disciple to follow you, a lost seeker to hear you, and a gracious Savior to befriend you. He presents some well though out chapters on the value of each one, comparing them to the value of a pit crew to a Nascar driver. While I do agree that most of us men could use more friends, I think it is highly unlikely that any man will have seven solid friendships in their life at the same time. Some of those roles may be played by the same person, or at times we may have a friend in a certain role for a season, yet his premise holds true: Men need to find more good friends to walk through life with.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2023 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.

LEADING WITH A LIMP – by Dan B. Allender, PhD.

Allender states this as his core assumption for the book: “To the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed colleagues.” If you try to hide your failures as a leader, you will need to be more controlling of others around you. He says that in God’s leadership model, “He calls us to brokenness, not performance; to relationships, not commotion; to grace, not success.” While leaders often feel compelled to show they know everything and are definitely the right people for the job, they would be better off admitting their weaknesses since  everybody else can see them anyway, and work more on a good relationship with people than just trying to get the most out of them for the task at hand. Allender offers this great quote as he talks about the difficulty of being a leader and casting vision. “One can speak of vision and mission, calling and opportunity until the cows come home, but when the day ends, most people want nothing more demanding than some television and a few uncomplicated laughs.” He speaks honestly of the hard work of being a leader while giving hope from God’s perspective. A great leadership book that makes one think.

3 Ideas to Renew Your Passion

A while back I realized that my passion for my job was fading. When I started the job, I was excited and could see new opportunities. I loved the vision and purpose of the group I was leading. I loved working with these people because of their heart for the church and their desire to grow in their relationship with Jesus.

There are times in my life as a pastor that I have had to renew and restore my passion for my role. I always want to give my best and be excited about what I am working on, but I realized that initial excitement had faded. So I decided I needed to work on renewing my passion for that role, and here is what I did.

Add Variety

One reason I tend to lose passion is because I get bored with routine. I long for some creativity and variety.

I add variety in my preaching. This is an area that I have control over, so may be one of the first places I can work at renewing my passion. For example, I might use a video or story to help people connect with the sermon. I might use an object lesson and provide those items to each person when they arrive at church. Beyond Sunday sermons, I might identify a project that I could initiate with others to help us work toward our vision.

Celebrate something.

Sometimes the boring monotony can be awakened to new passion when I take a moment to reflect on the exciting things happening. Good things are happening. God is at work. People are being changed. Programs are reaching people. People are responding to sermons and applying what they learn. When I get stuck in feelings of boredom, I can identify reasons to celebrate. I might celebrate by myself, or with my family, or my coworkers or church. It’s amazing what praising and thanking God can do in lift my spirits and reawakening that passion for my role.

Talk to God about it.

There are times I have taken a mini-retreat – maybe even just an afternoon away from my office – where I can stop everything and talk with God. I talk with Him about what is going on and how my passion is fading. I ask him to show me where I need to focus. I ask Him to give direction. Often this time with God reaffirms my calling, renews excitement in me about what God is doing and inviting me into. Sometimes I come away with new ideas, other times it is a re-enforcing of what I already knew I was to do. But the time with God reminds me of my role and what I need to be doing.

There is often an ebb and flow in the intensity of our passion for the work we are doing. Don’t let it fade too long. Choose to renew your passion again and again so that you will enjoy your role and will continue to contribute well to the vision you and your team or church are pursuing.

What are some ways you have renewed your passion? Let me know.

Keep looking up,


The Inadequate Leader

If anyone is following you, then you are a leader.

Some of us are natural leaders. Our personality and character attracted others who willingly followed us even as a child.

Some of us are reluctant leaders. We have been pushed into positions that we were not looking for. Maybe we were just a little more qualified than others, or the only one who said yes. But all of us are “inadequate leaders”.

Inadequate leaders are those who recognize that they don’t have all the answers, or all the skills needed for their position.

Many leaders lack experience. You only get experience by doing something. That means there is always a first time, a time when you have no experience, but you lead anyway. You may have experience in similar situations or in a similar role with less responsibility, but all of us at some point will be moving beyond the experience we have. If you never get to that place, then you are never growing as a leader. Maybe you are okay with that, but you still had to do something for the first time to even get to the level you are at.

If you lack experience, that means you may be inadequate for the task. So, what can you do? If you are an analytical person, you can try to come up with a perfect way to move even if you haven’t been in that situation before. You could ask for advice from others who have experience where you are lacking. Invite them to speak into your situation, and even though their experience isn’t yours, find some ideas to try in your own case. Gather your team and invite them to collaborate with you to find the right way ahead, and build on the experience you – and those around you – already have.

What if you realize you don’t have the skills you need to lead? Not only do you not have the experience to lead in this situation, you also lack the skills needed. There may be some ways to learn and develop those skills. Education is always an option. Find a seminar or a book or a class that will train you in this new skill. Again, as in the situation of lacking experience, invite someone who has the skills to train you. Ask for time with them to talk through how the skill works and spend time observing and learning from their example. Another option may be to bring in someone on a short-term contract or invite someone to join your team who can fill in the areas you lack. There may be times you step away from a situation to allow someone more suited to lead.

You may feel like an inadequate leader because you are responsible for more than you can accomplish in the time you have. First, make sure you are not carrying responsibilities that are not yours and hand them off to the appropriate people on your team. Second, find someone to work with you. May leaders have strong assistants who may be good leaders in their own right, but who love supporting you in your leadership role. You need someone who will respond to delegation, and who gets to know you well enough to do things the way you would if you had the time.

Sometimes we feel inadequate because of what people say to us or about us. There are times to listen to others and times to recognize if they are an authority in your life or not. No one can please everyone all the time. Be clear on what your role is, your job description, the vision you are pursuing, and don’t be distracted by those who want to speak into your life but truly have no right to.

Every leader will feel inadequate at times. If not, then you are no longer growing, and if you are no longer growing, you are quite possibly falling behind. Others will come along who will bypass your leadership because they are continuing to grow and learn and develop. While we cheer on those who are excelling next to us, we want to continue to be the best that we can be. The value of recognizing when and where we are inadequate is that we recognize where we need to grow to continue to lead well.

If you are an inadequate leader, that’s okay. Just look for ways to grow.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Moms – and Other Mentors In Our Life

Whoever you are as a person – who you are right now – you didn’t get to become this person completely on your own. There were people along the way that helped you become you, who shaped you intentionally and accidentally.

One of the great shapers of our life is often our Mother. The one who gave birth to us is usually the one who cares for us from birth to adulthood. While not all are fortunate to be raised by their mother, mothers impact who we are and who we become. Moms are there to help us learn the skills of life. From learning to walk to how to care for our hygiene. They, usually in tandem with your father, prepare you for adulthood. Many do it with great care and direction.

My mom was a “stay-at-home” mom, so she was always there. She was there when I woke up in the morning. She got breakfast ready and packed our lunches for school. She was there after school waiting to hear how the day went. And along the way I learned things like sharing and looking both ways before crossing the street. My siblings and I are most likely not even aware of all she taught us.

Many of us have others who played significant roles in our life. For example, maybe there was a teacher who took time to explain the math question until you finally got it, or the one who encouraged your creativity as you learned to draw. Or maybe you remember a camp counselor who listened to you and encouraged you as you were hurting. For me, there was a man in the church, a friend of my Dad’s, who I never spent much time with but whom I looked up to. I watched how he handled life, his business and his involvement in the church.

Some of us became leaders because someone encouraged us. I remember my brother being told at a young age, “you are a leader. Be careful where you lead people.” Other kids just naturally followed him, and did what he did. I was much more a follower. Some of us became musicians because a band teacher affirmed our musical abilities and encouraged us to do well with that.

I am a pastor because the president of my bible college, Reuben Kvill, encouraged me to consider a pastoral internship. I was not interested in being a pastor, but he encouraged me in that direction. It was during my internship that God affirmed that calling in me to become a pastor. Mr. Kvill took a personal interest in me and spoke words of encouragement to me. This had profound impact.

Another significant man in my life was Phil. Phil was a full-time missionary. He had served overseas and was now reaching out to the Hindu community in Edmonton. He taught an Evangelism Explosion class, where the curriculum taught us how to share our faith, but also included “field” practice where we went out with another more experienced person to share our faith and invite people to come to know Jesus. The casual conversations along with the formal classes instilled in me a desire to reach people for Jesus that has impacted all the years since.

We all have people who have helped us along the way. Some of us have a few, others have many, but we need to recognize that we did not become who we are on our own. We each have had help to become who we are and develop some of the skills we have.

Will you do the same? Will you look for people whom you can pass your knowledge and information on to? It may be in a formal setting like my Explosion Evangelism class. It may be in meaningful conversations where you encourage and affirm what is good in the other person’s life. You can suggest they consider a new opportunity in their life. Take time to slow down and notice the people around you. And then, when you can, speak into their lives in the way that your mom and other mentors did for you.

I want to finish with one final recognition. A large part of who I am is because of God in my life. There are times when I have felt God speaking or impressing something on my heart that caused me to shift direction in my career. God has encouraged and affirmed me even when many around me did not. I thank God for the people He has put in my path to help shape me.

Let’s thank God for the people who have helped us, and then look for whom to help next.

Keep Looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Confronting Carefully

Like most leaders, I am in a position in which I must occasionally have conversations with people that I would much rather avoid. I had to confront someone recently. I had to address a problem that had come up. This is never an easy conversation to have and one that could easily go wrong. A conversation like this should not be rushed into quickly, but prepared for carefully.

Here are a few things I have learned over the years about how to confront carefully.

Engage the Person Respectfully.

No matter what the issue is, or how terribly they may have messed up, when you meet with the person be respectful of them as a person.

This is not a time to make them feel inadequate, but a time to be clear on what they are doing wrong and how it can be fixed. Ideally, the goal is to fix the situation even as you maintain a good relationship.

Confront Prayerfully.

One of the ways to make sure that you are being careful is to ask God to guide your conversation. Ask God into the conversation. Ask God for wisdom. Ask Him for the ability to listen and truly hear the other person to make sure you are not making assumptions as you confront. Pray about this beforehand, and during, and even after so that neither you nor the person you spoke with will misconstrue things that came up in the conversation.

Clarify the Issue.

It helps to clarify the problem. Make sure you know what it is that you are addressing. This is not about some vague feeling something is wrong, or doing something because someone else is pressuring you. If you are going to confront someone, you must be clear on what the issue is. Clarify the issue in your mind, and then be clear when you address it in your conversation. If you need to, write down a few key points, or even the main statement you want to make so you don’t waffle in the middle of the conversation and back off the issue to the point the person has no idea what you are addressing. You want to make sure you address the issue correctly.

Determine a Solution.

If you are addressing someone about a problem, it is essential that you have an idea of how to fix the problem. Simply pointing out a problem doesn’t solve the problem. Once you are clear about the issue, then become clear on one or more ways of addressing it. If the issue demands one specific response – for example, “be on time”, then be clear that is the response required. If the issue allows for a number of solutions, identify a few options that the other person may choose from. Make sure that the solution matches the problem.

Arrange the Meeting.

Where you meet will determine the atmosphere, and even the conversation. If there is a specific problem about a role at work, then meet in your office, or the board room. If there is an issue with someone you know well, and you want to be less confrontational, you might do it over a coffee, or a meal. Remember that when and where you have the meeting will play into how the confrontation will go. It might be good to give the person a heads up about what you will be addressing.

Listen as you Converse.

As you point out the problem, listen to the response from the other person. You want to make sure, first, that you are correct in your own understanding of what they did wrong, but also listen to make sure they understand what you are telling them.

Be clear and precise on the problem. Allow them an opportunity to defend their actions or clarify why they did what they did. Present the solutions as you see them, and then invite a response to see if they understand and whether they will respond as you need them to.

Know Your Next Steps Ahead of Time.

When you confront, you need to be clear on what you will do based on how they respond. If they agree with you and accept a solution to try, then you have made good progress. If they deny everything you are saying and try to blame others, you need to know if you will give them another chance or if it is time to part ways. If you are willing to move ahead together, you may want to set up follow up meeting with them soon after to see if issues have been resolved or not.

Confront carefully. You want to be clear what you the problem is and what the solution can be. You also want to be clear that you are focusing on the work the person is doing or how they are relating to the rest of the team, without putting them down personally.

Yes, we do need to confront occasionally. Hopefully we do it well. We want to honour the person and honour Christ even as we have the tough conversations.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

If I Believed In Luck

Good thing I don’t believe in luck. If I believed in luck, I would have no luck at all. Here’s some of my good luck bad luck story from my last few weeks.

Bad luck – I got caught behind a snowplow on the highway and the pickup behind me rammed into me.

Good luck – My wife and I, as well as the people in the other vehicle, were banged up a bit but okay.

Bad luck – It was the weekend and no rental cars available, not even any cars at the place my insurance sent me.

Good luck – another rental place did have a car.

Bad luck – the rental car had to be returned to where we picked it up. It was a 14 hour round trip to drop it off, and then how would I get home?

Good luck – we were allowed to return the rental car to another spot which was only about a 9 hour round trip. Saved a little time.

Bad luck – in order to come home, my wife had to rent a second car to drive down and pick me up.

Good luck – we found a car to replace the one that was totalled on the highway.

Bad luck – within two weeks it was in the shop, for about 2 weeks.

Good luck – they finally got it fixed and we could use it again.

Bad luck – in less than two weeks we hit a deer with the new car and back to the shop it went.

Yesterday was another bad luck good luck situation.

Bad luck – my prescription for my medication had run out. We don’t have a family doctor and go to a walk in which was totally booked by the time I got there.

Good luck – I was referred to another walk in that evening.

Bad luck – by the time I arrived all the spots were taken.

Good luck – they put me on a cancellation list in case there was room and they would call me back. And they did!

Extra good luck – I ended up seeing a doctor who specializes in helping people with chronic pain. Being I was the last patient of the day, she took extra time to walk through what my pain is and had some suggestions to help me. She was the first doctor in a long time who actually understood me and my symptoms and the medication I was taking. She is looking for how she can assist me further!

Okay. I have no place for luck. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in a God who loves his people and takes care of them. Yes, we live in a world where not everything goes our way. At times God allows certain things into our live that are not pleasant, even painful and discouraging. But I am convinced that God is walking with me. When it seems that good luck shows up, I believe it is God stepping in again and again doing those good and wonderful things for us!

This is important to understand in our personal lives and also in our church or business life. God is interested in everything we do. We can go to him with our needs and He will step in. He doesn’t always fix everything, but he definitely walks with us in it. And sometimes, as Psalm 94:12 says, “Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord.” God uses the different situations we go through, not to punish us, but to help train us to become more like Him and more effective in what He wants us to do in life. Instead of seeing life as bad or good luck, ask God what he wants you to learn along the way.

If I believed in luck I would feel pretty discouraged by now.

Luck? No way! God stepping in? Definitely!

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2023 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.

GETTING NAKED – by Patrick Lencioni

Getting Naked: a Business Fable, by Patrick Lencioni is exactly that. It is a well written story of a businessman sent to check out a smaller company that has just been acquired by the company he works for. He expects that, because it is a small company, it will not have anything to teach him. He is surprised by the things he discovers. He learns that they have a much better way of handling clients and doing their work than what he is used to. Lencioni concludes the book with a few key points that are already clearly shown at work in the story. A great book on how to benefit from being vulnerable in business.

7 Steps to Becoming a Disciplined Leader

Last week I wrote about what it is like to be a disciplined leader. Today I want to continue focusing on that topic by showing how you can develop that discipline in your own life.

Step One: Determine where you lack discipline.

Know your strengths and your weaknesses. If you have no problem showing up to work on time, count that as a strength. If you are always struggling to meet deadlines, that is a weakness. Choose only one or two weaknesses to work on at a time. If you are really brave, you may ask a colleague what some of your weaknesses as a leader are and work on those.

Step Two: Clarify your motivation.

As you consider the weakness you want to work on, what is your motivation? Why do you want to become more disciplined in this area? Is because someone else told you improvement was necessary? Or do you recognize the value discipline could bring to this area? If you are struggling to meet deadlines, your motivation for more discipline may be to have less anxiety or to have time to do a review of the project before the deadline so you do better work. Make sure you are convinced this is an are where you actually want to improve. Then your possibility for success will increase greatly.

Step Three: Sort out the problem.

Why is this an area of weakness? For example, why are you not meeting your deadlines? Are you procrastinating and putting in little effort until just before the deadline? Is it because of an inability to accurately estimate the the amount of time it will take you to work on the project? Once you figure out what the problem is then you can develop steps to improve.

Step Four: Develop a plan.

Let’s say you struggle to meet your deadline because you procrastinate. Develop a plan that gets you working on the project as soon as you take it on. Work back from the deadline and establish your own deadlines. You could also create your own deadline a week before it’s needed to give you time to review it. When reviewing your deadline, you can also break the job into smaller steps and set personal deadlines along the way that get you working on it sooner and keeps you going. These dates can lead up to your personal deadline and help you stay on track.

Another strategy is to actively develop better habits and create rituals that keep you on task. This could be creating more shorter deadlines for smaller parts of your projects. Maybe it could be working on your task first thing in the morning and checking emails or engaging in other tasks only at noon or at the end of the day.

Step Five: Remove distractions or temptations.

Why are you procrastinating? Are you always on you phone? Are you taking too many coffee breaks or constantly chatting with co-workers? Maybe set an alarm on your phone that reminds you to get back to work after a coffee break. Or leave your phone in your coat. Don’t check personal emails at work. Turn off notifications on your phone that continually remind you to check I through the day. Sometimes, it may be beneficial to close the door and pull the blinds so that you are not distracted by others who are walking by your office or chatting with each other. Find ways to remove distractions.

Step Six: Find an accountability partner, coach or mentor.

It helps to know that someone will be checking in on you. Ask someone on your team to check in with you occasionally to see how you are coming along. If you are the one in charge, maybe you have a secretary or personal assistant who can check in and remind you of deadlines you have set. Or hire a coach to check in with regularly.

Step Seven: Just keep on keeping on.

One who wants to learn discipline will continue to push through an try again and again even if they fail occasionally. Keep reminding yourself of your goals. And as you make progress, remind yourself of how far you have come. Did you meet that last deadline? Then celebrate it. If not, then figure out if some adjustment is needed and get back to the next task at hand. Don’t get down on yourself if you fall short. Forgive yourself and recommit to the plan.

Becoming a disciplined leader takes hard work, but you can do it as you work on one or two weaknesses at a time. As you do, you will become the disciplined leader you want to be.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Develop the Leadership Character of Discipline

Discipline is something you develop in yourself by deliberate and consistent decisions. It is not something a person automatically has but is a characteristic that must be learned and developed. Discipline is what helps maintain what is good in life and build on it to improve even more. It is developed by regularly choosing to make the necessary decisions and take the correct actions. A disciplined person may live by a rule or system of rules governing their conduct or activity. As you live by these good choices, you become a disciplined person.

A disciplined leader gets more done.

Many people put in the expected hours at work. Some get much more done in those hours than others. One reason is that the disciplined person knows how to keep breaks short and focus back on the task at hand.

A disciplined person starts on time, but also ends on time. Whether it is the start of your day or running a meeting, a disciplined person is prepared, ready to start when it is time, and focused enough to accomplish what is needed in the necessary time.

A disciplined leader develops good habits.

Self-discipline is the ability to control your behavior in a way that leads you to be more productive or have better habits. Systems or rituals can help you organize the activities you regularly do into an orderly fashion that eliminates time spent deciding what to do next or how to do it. These rituals can be as simple as cleaning off your desk before going home at night so it is not cluttered when you return in the morning. A ritual could include taking 10 minutes to plan the next day so you are ready when you arrive in the office the next day.

Systems are the habits that are packaged together, like a series of procedures.  An example may be a system for tracking meeting decisions and action items. This might include transferring all dates discussed in the meeting onto their calendar, and adding your responsibilities to your to-do list, and adding time to work on these items to your daily schedule. In this way, within minutes of your meeting, you have all the pertinent information on the right calendars and to -do lists.

A disciplined leader excels at self-management.

A disciplined person is a self-starter. They don’t need someone else to regularly check in to remind them of the next job to do. They know how to determine what needs to be done and what can wait. They know where to go to get answers or expertise they don’t have. A disciplined person sets their own direction for the day rather than waiting for the supervisor to give them their jobs. A disciplined leader manages their time in such a way that everything gets done and they still have time to dream and plan for the future.

A disciplined leader keeps going when things get tough.

Being a leader is not always easy. Pushback can come from many angles, including some of your own staff or even those you serve. Financial issues can become a big concern when money isn’t coming in as expected. A time crunch can also be tough, when the amount that needs to be done seems to be greater than the time available. Things can get tough too, when a leader feel like they are leading beyond their limits. In all the different ways that things can get tough, the disciplined leader will never give up. They will push through. They may arrange for deadline extensions or make some financial adjustments. They may get outside help, whether personal coaching, or more staff, to push ahead when they feel they are in new territory and unsure how to proceed.

Discipline is a valuable characteristic of anybody, but especially a leader. This characteristic will help a leader get through many situations when an undisciplined person may give up or just panic and do a poor job. Work at becoming a disciplined leader, one good decision, one good habit, after another. If you want to lead well, develop the character of discipline.

If you are looking to become more disciplined, checkout next week’s post on how to develop discipline as a leader.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe