Yes. Yes I am. Most writing on leadership, especially what I’ve read about church leadership, tends to look like the same business management and leadership fluff that gets recycled from book to book. Too often, church leadership teaching has the feel of teaching people with an unhealthy ego how to promote themselves while maintaining a spiritual veneer. Occasionally, you’ll get someone like Leighton Ford, who gets it right that a church leader must first be a servant, but those examples are rare.
A great leader will find his significance by obeying God’s laws, not man’s opinions
A great leader will prioritize justice, specifically for those who have fewer privileges
A great leader will not allow people to benefit by exploiting others
There are more, of course. Please check them out. If you are in a tradition that has paid/formal leadership, it will be well worth your time to prayerfully consider what David has written. And if you are in a position to exercise leadership, whether in or out of a church setting, there are two other resources I can recommend to you. One is Leighton Ford’s Transforming Leadership: Jesus’ Way of Creating Vision, Shaping Values & Empowering Change. It’s a bit on the Evangelical fluff side, but he does keep humility and servant-hood at the core, so there is value there. The other is Leonard Sweet’s Summoned to Lead. This turns traditional ideas of leadership on their head, revealing the more Biblical model of answering the call of God in a particular situation, as opposed to setting oneself up as a permanent leader who acts like a monarch.
I got into CCM in a big way in the 90s. Since then, it may be my own change in tastes or the result of reading too much theology, but I can’t stand most of what passes for Christian music today. There are rare exceptions, and Caedmon’s call is one of them. Their latest release, Raising Up the Dead, just came out, and is currently available for download at Amazon for $4.99 (11-16-2010 This won’t last).
I hesitate to give any kind of review, as I need to listen to a new release several times and let it soak in, so consider what I write here only a first impression. The sound is very polished without coming off as overproduced like most Nashville music, thanks to Derek Webb. All the songs are good, but I was in more of a rock mood when I listened, so I’ll reserve my negative comments for another day. I will say that She, Family, Miss You, Come With Me, and David Waits stood out for various reasons.
She has a nice pop feel, but it’s so much more. Family is reminiscent of the best of PFR. Miss You features killer vocal work by Danielle Young. Come with me put me in something of a contemplative mood. David Waits is just awesome. All the members had a hand at writing on this release, giving it a sense of variety that is lacking in other bands.
Like I said, these are only first impressions. It’s enough that I can recommend the purchase without reservation, even if the price goes up by the time you read this. Go get it and have a listen.
My dear fellow Christ followers, you can do better than this. It pains me that people fall for this kind of manipulative BS. For too long, our tribe has bought into some horribly false teaching about tithing. For those who don’t know, the tithe was, for lack of a better description, the tax system for Old Testament Israel. The first ten percent of anything you produced was to be given to the Temple as an offering to God, and it also served to fund the Temple, provide for the priesthood, etc.
If we want to take the teaching of the New Testament seriously, then we need to let go of this idea of the tithe. When Jesus calls us to become one of his people, the demand blows the tithe away. Everything we have and everything we are belongs to Christ, and we are called to live generously toward humanity, especially those in need. You read that right: everything. All of it. One hundred percent. This idea that we should be setting aside ten percent to give to "the church" amounts to little more than crass manipulation to prop up power structures that get in the way of true generous life as followers of the way of Jesus.
Please understand, I am not opposed to a local expression of the church choosing to buy a building, or pay for one or more people to dedicate their lives full time to serving and teaching. That’s fine, and if the congregation agrees, they should do so with joy. But if the goal of giving becomes simply paying the pastor to serve you, to meet your "needs," or fund programs that are at best dubiously connected to discipleship, please understand that your dollars could be better spent elsewhere.
Before you spend another dollar toward a church, please ask yourself an important question. Is the church’s primary mission about making disciples, representing Jesus as His ambassadors, and caring for the "least of these?" Think about it, then please discuss here.