6 Ways to Engage Your Team in Vision Setting

I love to work on vision. I’m a dreamer. It’s not hard for me to come up with new ideas, and I do it often. Not everyone has that mindset. I also think quickly and I realize not everyone does. In my present role, I work with a different church each year, and lead them through a process of vision setting. This means I’m engaging with a wider range of individuals, some who are excited about and comfortable with working on vision setting, and some who are not.

Here’s the big question: how can you make sure that everyone is able to fully engage in the process of setting vision for your church or organization?

  • Follow a written plan.

When you lead a team through the process of setting vision for your organization, make sure you first identify a written plan. Whether you use something developed by another, or like me, pick and choose exercises from a variety of sources, make sure that everyone has access to the plan before starting the process. Then each person – not just the leaders – can see where the process is heading.

I provide everyone with a booklet they can follow. One of my team has a difficulty hearing, so the booklet helps him know where we are even when he misses some of what is said in the discussion.

In addition to the overall plan document, for each meeting, I also provide a clear agenda, complete with breaks, and times listed for each exercise so everyone can see if we are falling behind. I try to be a little flexible with the time, and even skip some pages in the workbook if we are running behind schedule. The participants can check those out later if they want.

  • Use Variety

I like to do more than just a question-and-answer format. Some of the exercises I like to use for vision setting sessions are multiple choice or circle the best answer. Some are fill in the blank. I provide examples from other organizations that can spark ideas. I do a little leading but prefer to get the team to do most of the talking, especially since I am the consultant and will not be with the church as they move to implement the plan. My job is to make sure they can arrive at a common vision that is truly theirs. This means that I invite a lot of discussion. I do some work on a white board when trying to bring their ideas together so everyone can see any common threads. I even included a few colour charts to help visualize some exercises. I also like to add a few cartoons! Make sure to include times where people can get up and move around a bit. Sitting for too long will slow people’s thought processes down.

  • Go Slow

When leading a vision process, go slower than you think you should. There are always a few who think slowly and need time to think about things. Some ideas may be brand new and might need some mulling over. Some participants will read and process the directions for the next exercise slower so you can’t rush the process. Too much information too fast will not work. Instead, give time to process to keep everyone’s thinking clear.

  • Circle Back

I have found that it is helpful to present exercises that to get the team to see the present reality and the future possibilities from a number of different angles.

As I recently led our team through a visioning process, it was interesting to see some of the same ideas coming up throughout the session, and ideas coming up later that built on what was previously discussed.  As these topics came up multiple times, it resulted in more clarity.

  • Highlight Recurring Themes

When you are working through a vision process, note these recurring ideas so that everyone is aware of them. It’s obvious that these are the themes that will be a major contributor to the final vision statement and vision picture. Listen to how their answers to different questions tie together and form a common theme. As the leader of the session, you are in position to observe these connections and identify them for the group.

  • Listen to God

In the recent process I led, there were a few times where we just stopped and prayed, both talking to God and listening to Him as well. There were a few times where different members of the team felt God was saying something we needed to pay attention to. When there were others that concurred, we took those thoughts seriously and integrated them into the values and vision that were taking shape.

It was very encouraging to me to see our team fully engaged through a 6-hour vision marathon! Everyone contributed to the conversation and was involved in the process right from the beginning to the end.

What are some ways you have found helpful to keep people engaged in process of developing a vision or strategy?

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Growing Your Joy

A new year often brings New Years resolutions. Many people make them, and while few keep them, the idea of making commitments to improve your life is a good one. Resolutions are often about our personal health like losing weight or becoming more fit. Again, not a bad idea. Some may make commitments about their career. Maybe they want to pursue another level at their job or more education hoping that will result in a financial boost in income down the road.

But what about personal growth? What about growing in your joy? We all know that people of joy are much more fun to work with than people with no joy. And we personally feel better if we have joy inside as well.

Are you a person of joy? Do you share joy or do people sense a dark cloud over your head every time you walk by? What is it in your life that affects your Joy?

Our joy can be impacted by a number of things. If you always spend time with negative people, it will be hard to stay positive and maintain joy. It is not always possible to avoid spending time with negative people, especially if your co-workers or family are negative. What you can do, is choose to seek out and spend time with joyful people. If you have to look for them, then do that. Notice the people in life that make you feel just a bit happier and find ways to connect with them. You could even initiate a coffee date to deliberately spend some time with them.

Our joy may be impacted by the news. If you always consume the news, you will have to work at being full of joy because the news rarely shares positive stories. Make a commitment to cut down on how much news you consume. You might need to reduce your time on social media. Rather than cut these habits out completely, identify new habits that can take the place of the time you typically spend consuming new or other media

Some of us have a hard life. Things have not gone the way we hoped and dreamed. Our realities include single parenting, the loss of a child, or unemployment. The circumstances of our life can affect our joy. We can become sad, or discouraged, or even angry about what life has thrown at us. We look around and see happy people with good families and healthy children and perfect jobs and we get even more discouraged. The truth is, there are some things that we encounter in our life that are not good, terrible in fact. And yes, they drain all our joy. What can we do about that? I’ve been there, where I questioned God about what He was allowing to happen to me. I get it.

What do we do when we cannot change our life circumstances right now? How do we find joy?

One of the things that has helped me a lot is my faith in God. Yes, I said earlier that I have had times where I really questioned God, wondering if He really cared for me or not. But I have always come back to God because He and I have history together – a history of him being faithful in the past, and answering prayers. When I come back to God, I can trust Him to take care of me. I know that I am safe in His hands. I remember that He loves me, even when it seems others don’t. I remember that He has a future for me.

I can go to the Psalms in the Bible and receive encouragement there, that begins to open up the possibility of Joy again.

Psalm 62:8

O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

Psalm 2: 12

What joy for all who take refuge in him!

Psalm 4:7

You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Our joy can be affected by our circumstances. Sometimes we can change them, and then we should. Sometimes we can’t. I would encourage you to turn to God. Turn to the Bible. Read the psalms. And ask God to give you new Joy.

As you make commitments for personal growth this year, I encourage you to choose to develop more joy.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Here Comes 2023, Are You Ready?

Here comes 2023. Is this the year for you?

Maybe this is the year where you take proactive steps to reach personal goals (or other goals). You want to do better and do more. I have personally benefited from using a Full Focus Planner from Michael Hyatt and his team. It guides the user through how to set goals for the year that you can break down to steps for each month and each week. Their site has helpful tools to guide your goal setting and strategic planning.

Let me suggest a few goals to pursue in your personal life and then some for your church as well.

Personal

We can set goals in our life in the domains of intellectual, emotional, relational, spiritual, vocational, and on and on. Whatever area of your life you want to grow in deserves a meaningful goal along with a strategy of how to reach that goal.

Could this be the year that you achieve goals you have been thinking about for a while?

One of my goals each year is to read the whole Bible. If you want to get to know God better, you might set a goal of reading the Bible in a year. There are several different reading plans available that help you know exactly how much to read each day in order to read all of the Bible in the 365 days of next year. Find a plan that works or check here.

Are you in need of some growth in the relational aspect of your life? Many people are lonely with few friends. Why not find a way to grow some new friendships. Join a club or a small group at your church. Set a goal of connecting with a few new people to see if some of them become good friends.

Are you looking to grow yourself as a leader? You could make a gool of reading a certain number of books on leadership, or look for a coach to help you process your next steps. A coach may help you sort out areas you want to work on and how to set a plan to do so.

Church

As a pastor, I am always looking for ways to improve what our church is doing and how I as the leader can help us move toward certain goals.

Maybe this is the year you ask someone to help your or your church pursue your God-given dreams. As a pastor or church leader, you have a heart for your church. You wish you could guide the church forward in a significant and organized way. A church assessment might be one way to do this, where a coach assesses your church and gives you a final report with clear ideas of possible next steps.

Maybe this is the year that you and your creative worship planning team become more intentional about planning transformational services. You want your Sunday services to have a greater impact but aren’t quite sure where to start. I would love to walk your worship planning through a process which will guide you in creating transformational and meaningful services your people will love.

I encourage you to find ways to continue to grow as a person and as a follower of Jesus Christ. If you would like to pursue personal growth with a coach, reach out to me. Develop a plan today that will help you to grow this year.

Keep looking up

Andy Wiebe

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 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.


WHAT TO DO NEXT – By Jeff Henderson

I highly recommend What to do NEXT: Taking Your Best Step When Life is Uncertain to anyone who is contemplating a possible move to a different position at work or a change in career or even just a change out of something when you are not sure what is next. Jeff Henderson reflects on his own recent journey of change of career, along with a number of helpful stories, to provide a helpful guide to anyone wishing they were somewhere else or doing something else. Many of us have faced transition in the last couple of years. This book may help make sense of transition you had to make and are now trying to cope with as well. A very helpful book.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 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.


HINGE MOMENTS – by D. Michael Lindsay

Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life’s Transitions is a powerful guide to anyone facing a transition, and in today’s world that is just about all of us. Transitions will happen, whether we choose them or not. Lindsay builds off interviews of hundreds of leaders looking at their transitions and lessons they learned in the process. He builds his book around a diagram of seven stages of transition. Discernment, Anticipation, Intersection, Landing, Integration, Inspiration, and Realization. He uses the example of a door to show how a “hinge moments” are the opportunities to open (or close) doors to various pathways of our lives. A helpful book for anyone facing or anticipating a transition in their life.

One Powerful Tool of a Leader

A Christian leader faces the same challenges that any other leader does. And a Christian leader can help himself to any of the tools other leaders use to help them lead well. But the Christian leader has one powerful tool that others do not. Prayer.

Like any tool, it may take some practice and some skill to access this tool’s full potential. Often when we think of prayer, we think of asking God to do something for us. We come to him with a request. But that is only one aspect of prayer.

Another way to use prayer is to learn to listen to God. We are so used to telling God our problems and asking him to do something about them, and that is often where a Christian leader stops. Yet if we learn to listen, God will do much more for us through prayer than just respond to our grocery list of requests.

Here are some of the ways that I have benefited from this great tool we have.

  • God encourages through prayer.

Every leader faces opposition from time to time in their leadership, and Christian leaders are not exempt. As a pastor, I have faced opposition many times, both from inside and outside the church I have been asked to lead. People have called me names, accused me of being controlling, demanded I be removed from my position, and more. People have not liked what I stood for and deliberately chosen to walk in a different direction. I have faced opposition from within myself. There are times I have been disappointed in what my leadership accomplished. I have been disappointed in goals not met. I have been discouraged and depressed.

These are not uncommon problems for leaders to face. There are times we need encouragement. We might find some of it in books or in encouraging words from other leaders or supporters of ours. But I have found that some of the most powerful encouragement has come directly from God.

God has encouraged me as I listened to him. One time he told me: “you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” This was powerful for me as I had just come through one of the most difficult times in my ministry. Another time, God affirmed that I was on the right track. I was a little unsure of the direction to lead the church and in a conversation with Him, I heard (or felt) Him say, “You are on the right track. Just keep going.”

God encourages the Christian leader through listening prayer where we actually hear God or sense God speaking words of encouragement to us.

  • God directs through prayer.

Every leader needs to know where they are going. They need to know where they are trying to take their organization. They need to know the priorities of the day. Sometimes we get caught up in the urgent needs of the moment and begin to veer off track from our intended goals. I love the fact that I can talk with God about my day and ask Him for direction for the day. I am serving as a Transition Pastor right now and have a limited time to work with the church through the various exercises. There are times when I have had to readjust my schedule because it just was not working. As I talked with God about it, I was able to patiently let him give me the priorities of the week.

  • God instructs through prayer.

One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to instruct and remind the believer of God’s truth. When we pray, we are able to hear God speaking to us through the Holy Spirit. There are times we will be reminded of certain scriptures that speak into a situation that we are facing. There will be times when we will be given an idea or a concept to put into practice that clearly did not come from our own wisdom but from God.

If we pray and read scripture together, God uses those scriptures we are reading to give us insight into how and what we should be learning and doing in our leadership.

There are many tools available to leaders today. One of the best and most powerful tools the Christian leader can access is prayer and hearing God speak directly into their leadership. Pray, not just with a list of requests for God, but with a listening attitude and God will direct your paths.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Surviving Disappointment

Sometimes our dreams are dashed in front of us. We had all kinds of dreams, were convinced that we were doing exactly what God wanted in the place he wanted us, and life is not going as we had planned.

All of us face disappointment. All of us will have times of discouragement. But sometimes the load seems too much. We consider giving up and moving on to something else. We feel that those close to us don’t understand how big the load is that we carry. We feel very alone. We may feel God has given up on us.

I’m reminded of the story of Joseph in the Bible, which begins in Genesis 37 and goes on for a few chapters. Joseph had eleven brothers. They hated him because they saw that he was Daddy’s favorite. Joseph had a few dreams that made it look like the rest of the family, all the brothers and their Dad, would bow down before Joseph. Sharing those dreams didn’t help his brother’s hatred. A few of them arranged it to look as if wild animals killed him, and then sold him to some slave traders. Those slave traders brought Joseph to Egypt and sold him to one of the Pharoah’s top officials.

That would be a terrible experience for anyone. No one would be shocked if Joseph became angry. Instead of being a rebellious and belligerent young slave, Joseph served his master well. In fact, his effort was rewarded by the master making him his attendant in charge of the whole household. Jospeh overcomes being sold as a slave and manages to do good for his master. What an amazing example of overcoming disappointment. Instead of letting the disappointment of the situation he finds himself in, causing him to dwell on his own terrible misfortune, Joseph rises above that to continue to do his best as a person – and as a slave.

Then his master’s wife tries to seduce him, but he runs away in order not to sin in this way. The master believes his wife when she accuses Joseph, and he sends Joseph to prison. A second wave of disappointment must have hit Joseph. No one would have been surprised if he was angry at God or became a hardened criminal in prison. Instead, he overcomes that disappointment by doing good in prison. Like when he arrived at the official’s house, his abilities and attitude are soon recognized, and he is placed in charge over all the prisoners. Yes, God is with him, His blessing is evident, but Joseph overcomes what would have been a terribly disappointing situation and is rewarded. Again, instead of letting the situation push him into despair or anger at God, he continues to do his best in the situation he finds himself in.

After some time, Joseph becomes aware through a dream, that one of his fellow prisoners will be soon released and return to his position as Pharaoh’s cupbearer. Joseph asks the cupbearer to please remember him when he returns to Pharaoh’s palace. Joseph begs him to speak up on his behalf and get him out of prison. The cupbearer gets his position back but forgets about poor Joseph back in prison. As time goes on Joseph realizes the cupbearer didn’t speak up and he remains in prison, experiencing yet another disappointment.  

Two years later Pharoah has a dream. Finally the cupbearer remembers Joseph, and how he was able to interpret dreams for him. He recommends that Pharoah speak with Joseph, and Joseph is brought in to explain Pharoah’s dream. When Joseph favourably explains the dream, Pharaoh ends up making Joseph his second in command!

Joseph survived a few waves of disappointment – terrible things to endure. He made it through and God placed him over all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh.

Some time later, when famine hits the homeland, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt looking for food. Since Joseph is in charge of the grain, they bow down before him – just like the dreams Joseph had as a youngster! And then Joseph makes an incredible statement in Genesis 50: 20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Not only did Joseph survive all the terrible disappointments, he saw that God used what others did to him as a means to accomplish great good!

Some lessons to help us survive disappointments:

1. Trust that God is the same God in both moments of triumph and moments of despair. Joseph never blamed God for what was happening. He even ended up saying God was in all of the things he suffered.

2. Be faithful where you are, no matter how disappointing. Joseph did his best in every situation he found himself in. And God blessed him and rewarded him. Whether the disappointments result in goals left unreached or a position terminated when you still had dreams to pursue, be faithful to God wherever you find yourself next.

Be the person God wants you to be no matter what the circumstances are around you.

3. Find your sense of well-being in your relationship with God rather than in your circumstances. Whether Joseph was head slave in an important official’s house or a lowly prisoner, he did everything to the best of his abilities.

4. Trust that God will look after the future. Serve God faithfully right now, wherever you are, trusting that God knows all the next steps and future twists and turns, and that you are safe in His hands.

Disappointments will come. Sometimes they are small, often they are big. We can survive them if we continue to trust God and know we are safe with Him.

When your dreams are dashed and life is not meeting your expectations, continue to hold onto God in the middle of the frustration and pain.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Budgeting: A Guess, A Dream, Or A Plan?

An organization working through the budgeting process needs to forget guessing, begin dreaming, and develop a plan.

Forget Guessing

If you are guessing what your budget should look like that means you have not done your homework.

The budgeting process can seem a little like a guessing game. Yes, you are looking ahead with no assurance that the money you expect and hope to come in actually will. You do not know what your costs for the year will be.

There are some fixed numbers like salaries, but other numbers, such as utility costs that fluctuate based on weather, aren’t as certain. You can get a good idea of what your office supplies will cost based on the previous year, but those costs go up from time to time.

Doing your homework means looking at the realities of the past and the possibilities of the future. The realities are how much you spent on different things over the last few years. You should be able to forecast based on the trends of the past. Developing a budget is not random guessing but a process of looking at various factors to determine the best budget. As for income, look to the past and how current realities might determine if that same amount of income can be expected next year. In a church, if many people are experiencing job loss or are moving away, you may have to anticipate less income as fewer people are able to give. A budget is a thoughtful forecast based on prayerful dreaming and visioning, and connected to a plan of how to move toward the vision. While budgeting always involves a level of uncertainty, you must create a budget based on real information.

Begin Dreaming

Most churches, like other organizations, hope to grow. That means connecting with more people and running more programs. This means greater costs, but hopefully greater giving as well.

It is important for organizations and churches to dream about the future. I believe that we need to build our organizations and our budgets around “God-given” dreams. Ask God what his desires are for you and the people you work with and the people you serve. Are there needs and opportunities God is calling you to step into?

Dreams often cost more than the expected income. This is where the hard work comes in. Find a way to determine if costs need to be cut or your income can be increased. Whether you are a leader in a church or another organization, determine if God wants you to create a budget that will cost more than your forecasted income. We can’t be irresponsible, yet faith plays a part. If you believe God wants you to do certain things and they cost a certain amount, sometimes a budget can look impossible outside of the fact that God can bring in the necessary funds.

A budget is part of your dreaming as you look at how you can meet the costs of the dreams you believe are from God. A budget is an important part of developing your vision as you will need to pay for the costs of moving toward that vision.

Develop A Plan

As you dream of what could happen next year, have a plan so you know where you will be spending money, and an estimate of how much. Your plan is based on your vision and God-given dreams. Your vision and goals should help you project what will be spent over the next year. In our church we also invite leaders of certain programs to submit budget requests based on their vision and goals for their own ministry.

A budget is not just a guess, is needed to achieved your dreams, and can be achieved as you develop a plan around that budget.

  • Set Clear Goals and Strategic Steps

Defer to your organization’s mission and goals to inform how money will be spent. Your goals and strategic steps will give you an idea of what your financial costs for the year will be. Build on the data from past years to develop a plan for how your finances will support your organization’s God-given dreams.

  • Communicate Your Vision

Communicate your vision and God-given dreams clearly to all stakeholders in your church or organization. Share your dreams with passion and excitement. Help them see how their financial contributions will make a difference in people’s lives. Let them know what they are contributing to.

  • Report Regularly

Use a regular reporting structure to let key people know how things are going financially and how that is helping you move toward your goals. Implementing a reporting plan, including what the reports will look like, who will prepare them, and how often they will be shared keeps people informed and prevents surprises when adjustments may have to be made. Updates keep people connected and donors excited about continuing to support the church. When people see the impact of their giving – perhaps through a connection to real people who are being helped – they will be more likely to continue to give.

The results of not reporting on finances regularly can be detrimental to organizations. One church used a congregational meeting to inform the church that finances were very low, and to meet costs, they would be letting a few staff go. The problem was, they had not informed the congregation of the financial situation before they decided on this solution. If they had done so, people may have been willing to increase their giving. If people think there is plenty of money, they may be spending their money elsewhere. Don’t wait until there is a problem before you inform those invested in your church or organization.

If you are determined to honor God in your church and organization, then make sure you talk with God about your dreams and His dreams and then develop clear plans on how to move ahead. Continue to ask God for the wisdom He offers as you handle the finances of your organization with integrity.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Pursue Excellence: Develop Useful Templates

When you drive to work in the morning, do you always go the same way? Do you go the way that you know is the quickest, or takes you past the best coffee shop, or has the least traffic? Or do you change up your route each day? I always take the same route. In fact, over time it becomes so automatic that I find myself turn toward work when I’m driving those roads on my day off.

Taking the same route is like using templates in the office. Templates are the well-worn tracks that help work become more automatic and less stressful. Templates can be used in many different situations and for varying purposes.

Templates create efficiency:

As a leader, you are probably quite busy. You don’t want to have to re-learn how to do something every time you do it. When you find a good way of doing something, keep track of that method or format, and use that to create a template to follow. When you create a new document or work on a new project, pull out this template and follow the plan you have learned to trust. This saves you from trying to figure out how to put it all together.

In the same way that a familiar route to work ensures you get there on time, templates become familiar paths to work through quickly and save time.

Templates ensure uniformity:

In addition to ensuring you follow the same method, templates help you produce similar-looking documents. For example, I use templates when I am writing job descriptions. In this way it easy to compare one document to another. It also ensures that I include all the pertinent information in the order I want in the job description.

There are times when various team members may independently prepare documents for a shared project. Without a template you may end up with very different looking pieces making it difficult to combine efforts or compare results. A template helps everyone follow the same format. In this way, you can easily compare information across various documents because you know exactly where to look to find the information you need.

Templates provide consistent processes:

I use a template in my sermon preparation. Using a templated provides me with a format and process to follow. My sermons don’t always look the same, but the research and preparation process often does. I know what steps I have benefited from in the past and want to make sure I don’t forget them. For example, I like to ask myself certain questions as I work on the application of the sermon, such as: How does this sermon speak to a twelve-year-old boy?

In addition to sermon preparation, I use templates when working with planning teams for church events. I this way I make sure that we talk about costs, budgets, available resources, plans for prayer, and various other essential steps in planning.

Templates are also effective for more administrative work. For example, when working on Terms of Reference, a template can make sure you have the important details listed. For instance, I want to make sure that if people are working on an agreement for working together, I want there to be no question as to who has the final say. A template reminds me to include a statement about that.

Useful templates:

Pursuing excellence requires a plan and a template can get you there. As you begin to use templates you will adjust and refine them to become the most helpful tool they can be. If a template makes you do more work than you want, if it is not actually useful, then redo it or find a better one. You could start by finding a template someone else has used and adapting it to make it your own.

Templates and creativity:

I have found that adapting and implementing templates to my work has been incredibly helpful. While I would always advise using a template when possible, there are times when using a simplified template – more of a checklist – is a better option. If your goal is creativity, rigid templates may be a hinderance. As a pastor, I have created hundreds of Sunday morning worship services. I love to create each service in a unique way, meaning the different parts in the service can be moved around to accomplish the best result for each service. I joined one church that had exactly the same order of service every Sunday for the last seven years! In this instance, using a service template may restrict some creativity. Instead, a template that focuses on the planning process, or even using a checklist, provides guidance while allowing room for more freedom. As I mentioned earlier, I use a template for sermon preparation, but I have developed it to aid my creativity. While the final sermon is different each week, I use a template to guide each step of the process, which includes adding creative elements. On the other hand, a template makes each order of service exactly the same, but a checklist could be an effective way to ensure all the items to include are included, while still allowing you to be creative. (More on checklists: The Incredible Value of Checklists)

You have probably already figured out that I place a high value on creativity. At the same time, I want to be efficient in my work. Templates save time, and if used in the right circumstances still allow for creativity in the efficiency.

Templates can be very useful if you find ones that fit your situation. Use them well and save time.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 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.


KEEP CHRISTIANITY WEIRD – by Michael Frost

Frost is encouraging the church to return to its counter-cultural beginnings. Instead of trying to blend in under the guise of being relevant, he encourages believers to be different. This is not about being strange to be noticed, but to do things differently than people expect. This is about actually caring for the needy, and being okay with doing things that the average person thinks is strange, if it means being more like Jesus. Frost writes, “Just as business and education is fostering greater creativity and innovation, the church is in a phase of rewarding compliance and conservatism and suppressing eccentricity.” (p. 16) We need to reward creativity, not “toeing the line”. We need out of the box thinkers and leaders.

Frost wants believers to come back to being different in a way that points people to Jesus and a proper understanding of God. “In a world of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, keeping Christianity weird involves recovering our strange belief in a scary God who can’t ever be fully known, who doesn’t need us, whose face we can’t look upon, and whose name we can’t utter.” (p. 158)

This is a great book for anyone who wants their mediocre Christianity challenged!