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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Warren’


I’ve been doing a series of posts on the various Mistakes Leaders Make. They are me thinking out loud about the mistakes Dave Kraft addresses. I’ll finish with those posts, but I’ve finished with the book. Since I didn’t really review the chapters so much as process them, here is a review.

Dave has been in ministry for many decades. He previous book, Leaders Who Last, addressed the character traits that leaders need to have and cultivate. This book addresses the common mistakes that he’s seen leaders make. In the Afterward, he mentions 10 more he thought of which may comprise a follow up to this book.

“As leaders we all make mistakes- it’s part of being human. Some mistakes are innocent and are no big deal. Others are serious and are a big deal.”

Jesus is the only leader who never made a mistake. All others have made them. If you learn from them you will become a better leader. If you ignore them or don’t change you will stagnate and become a bad leader. This book wants to help leaders turn the corner and learn.

He works all of these mistakes through the leadership team of Covenant Community Church, a composite of different churches he has worked with in the past. One leader will be used to understand how that mistake can affect ministry and one’s personal life. Sometimes the person changes. Sometimes they don’t. So, it is realistic in that regard.

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I really like Matt Chandler’s preaching. He’s a little edgy, and has that Baptist almost screaming things at times. But I benefit from much of what he says. He also experiences similar reactions to the gospel as I did in small city Florida. He just experiences it on a much larger scale in the Big D. His frustrations with people being inoculated for the gospel ring true in my time in Florida.

I’ve read Jared Wilson’s blog for some time now. I like how he tries to keep the gospel central. You have to like a guy who moves to Vermont to pastor a church, especially when he adopts the local sports teams. That’s good missional thinking, right?

Well, they wrote a book together. Matt was the primary author, and Jared helped him out. The book is The Explicit Gospel, and it has blurbs filled with praise from the likes of Rick Warren, D.A. Carson, Mark Driscoll, David Platt, Ed Stetzer and more. A literal hodge-podge of famous (and some might say infamous) pastors. Incidentally, CavCorollary #167 is don’t believe the blurbs.

I am half way through the book, and thought this would be a good time to process it. The first half focuses on “the gospel on the ground.” The second focuses on the “gospel in the air”.  Think trees versus forest. It is the same gospel, but from different perspectives, or angles.

“If the gospel on the ground is the gospel at the micro level, the gospel in the air is the story at the macro level. … One crucial thing that viewing the gospel on the ground helps us do is distinguish between the gospel’s content and the gospel’s implications. … On the ground, the gospel comes to us as individuals.”

The gospel on the ground, according to Chandler, distinguishes between the gospel and its implications. It focuses on the personal aspects of the gospel instead of the cosmic aspects of the gospel. We need both. But we need to distinguish them or we get all messed up. This is one of the problems that he mentions in some “gospel” preaching- they talk as if the implications of the gospel (social justice, good works, community etc.) were the gospel itself. So they distort and obscure the gospel as a result.

But let’s get back to the beginning.

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I watched a fair amount of the Presidential Nominees’ Forum hosted by Saddleback Church.  I both liked it, and didn’t like it.

What I liked was that both candidates answered the same questions, and didn’t interact with each other’s answers.  They were able to stay on task and not get caught up in attacking one another.  I also liked that the audience was well prepped.  They applauded both nominees, and did not boo them.  They were respectful.  Their reactions will be reserved for the voting booth, which is great.

What I didn’t like is the notion that they were somehow trying to win the “evangelical vote”.  I don’t care if either of them can share the right terminology to explain their understanding of Jesus.  I’m not looking for them to be my pastor, but to be our President.  That has a very different set of criteria.

Both candidates playfully pandered to Rick Warren.  I have no problem with that- it helped set people at ease and it was for show.  They knew they weren’t pulling something over on people, nor were they trying to.

For me, the big differences between two candidates was the Obama certainly came across as more personable.  But McCain’s answers (whether or not you agree with him) were more clear and decisive.  Obama sounded thoughtful, but that doesn’t help me know how he’s going to lead us as a nation.  For a candidate proposing change, the notion that Edward Kennedy will be one of his most trusted advisors is shocking.  He is the ultimate insider, and stands behind some of the most messed up moments in American politics in recent memory.  Not a good move by Barak.  Nor was hemming & hawing about abortion.  Women don’t get abortions because they have inadequate healthcare or don’t know they can easily and quickly find someone to adopt the child.

I thought McCain had a better grasp of economics.  I also thought Obama doesn’t get that people don’t mind taxes for roads and schools (unless they fail).  It’s all the entitlements and earmarks that people are frustrated with and don’t want to see their taxes raised to continue.

Obama also didn’t seem balanced his view of America, or other nations.  Yes, we are FAR from perfect.  We are not the only nation to deal with racism- it is a problem in every nation in which people of different ethnicities live.  But I’d take our track record with the poor and disadvantaged than any other nations’.  Are we jailing and murdering political dissidents?  No.  Religious people?  No.  This is, by and large, a generous nation.  Think of all the humanitarian aid we provide each year- even to nations that don’t like us.  Think of the numerous people, mostly Christians, who’ve given their time and money to rebuild New Orleans and other areas devastated by Katrina.  Just one of my pet peeves- only mentioning the bad we do, and never acknowledging or downplaying the good we’ve done.  Yes, we have some really dark marks on our record, but also some good ones.

I thought the forum was helpful, mostly.  Any thoughts?

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I have been meaning to read Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community since it came out last year.  I wish I could have read this about 3 years ago.  But it was not available at the time.  Overall, this is a very good, and important book that most pastors need to read.  Oh, and their elders too.  Pastors don’t have their lay leaders read enough books.  The pastor needs to get these men on board to begin shifting the culture of the local congregation.  I’ll begin with my pet peeves, and then hit some of the highlights.

Annoyances: At times the book was a bit repetative and sometimes abstract.  I don’t have a whole lot of patience for factual errors (“North America is the most diverse nation in the world.”  page 14.  North America is a continent, not a nation.)  The editors missed lots of mistakes in spelling or punctuation.  I guess I expect more- they are professionals.  Perhaps it is my theological heritage, but I’m uncomfortable with calling living people apostles.  I know the Bible uses the term for the office and a role (essentially church planters).  But to use it in a book can be confusing.  Lastly, I’m not sure if they are perhaps a bit too broad in their grasp of orthodoxy.  It was hard to tell, but they seemed a bit too gracious toward some people I would be uncomfortable with.

The Intro: Stetzer and Putman discuss how evangelism and missions are connected.  They lay out their basic premise: “Evangelism is telling people about Jesus; missions involves understanding them before we tell them.”

The Emerging Glocal Context: The main point is that “there are cultural barriers that blind people from understanding the gospel.”  They affirm the spiritual barriers.  But most conservatives underestimate the cultural barriers.  So, one of the tasks of church leaders is to identify those barriers and then remove them.  The problem (which they keep bringing up) is that too many Christians “love their preferences and their strategies more than they love the people whom God has call them to reach.”  This is one of the most important things for church leaders to hear.  Our problem is that we live in fear of the surrounding culture.

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