The E-Myth

e-mythI heard communication expert, Nancy Duarte, talking about this book she’d read which had been formative for her business. I got hold of a copy and have just finished reading. It’s called The E-Myth and is by Michael E. Gerber. Written in 1995 it explores why some small businesses succeed and others don’t. In terms of my interest in how these insights might be profitable for church leaders I think large parts aren’t quite relevant, but some things were very stimulating. Here are a few of the ideas and quotes:

– leaders are a combination of the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. The entrepreneur comes up with the vision and ideas; the manager thinks about implementation and strategy; the technician gets on with doing the task in hand. The problems come when one of these personalities dominates the others. All three are necessary and must be well balanced for a vision to come to fruition.

– “key is to plan, envision, and articulate what you see in the future . . . If you don’t articulate it – I mean, write it down, clearly, so others can understand it – you don’t own it.”

– a mature company is about building a business that works not because of you but without you

– “the difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next.”

– don’t fear losing your business. Fear losing your Self.

– create an organisational chart for what your business will look like 7 years from now and start actively working it out now

– “the work we do is a reflection of who we are. If we are sloppy at it, it’s because we’re sloppy inside. If we’re late at it, it’s because we’re late inside. If we’re bored by it, it’s because we’re bored inside, with ourselves, not with the work . . . How we do our work becomes a mirror of how we are inside.”

Now, there’s lots of things there that are not easily compatible with a view of servant leadership and a sovereign God, but there are some things which I think are thought provoking. Which of those thoughts or quotes speaks most to you and your situation?

What I learnt from my senior pastor’s sabbatical

thinkingSo our senior pastor returned this week from three and a half months on sabbatical writing a book. I wasn’t expecting it to be a time when I would necessary learn a whole load – I was just trying to keep the thing going and not lose too many people to be honest. But as it turns out I’ve probably learned as much in the last 3 months as in the previous 3 years. So here’s what I learnt (apologies if its glaringly obvious to you already!):

  1. His job is really really hard. So many plates to spin, so many demands, so many people issues to keep on top of. I need to support and respect him more in view of this.
  2. He must handle a whole load of toxic stuff that he protects us from. He never moans about it or gossips. He’s just quietly gets on with dealing with difficult issues whilst keeping everyone else positive and on track.
  3. Preaching isn’t the hard bit. The extra preaching hasn’t been too much – I’ve enjoyed it (can’t speak for the congregation). It seems to me that you earn your bread in the people and direction stuff.
  4. Busyness and the urgent always seeks to trump the important. Fighting the fires means there is precious little time to read and think and take in the bigger picture. A senior pastor who still manages to do this is a very good thing indeed.
  5. All the people stuff is emotionally draining. Not so much the crises – you can deal with those; but the grumblers, critics, and whiners – they’re the ones you go to bed thinking about and wake up thinking about – and that is far more draining than I’d imagined.
  6. I worry too much about being a people pleaser. I need to develop a thicker skin and do the right thing under God even when some people will be a little upset by that.
  7. I’m so thankful to be part of a pastoral team, with a senior pastor who trains, empowers, and protects. Team ministry is great!

C.S.Lewis on the Resurrection

god in dockHere’s another lovely quote from C.S.Lewis for your Evernote books. It comes from an essay entitled “The Grand Miracle” in God in the Dock, and he’s speaking of the resurrection of Christ.

“To be sure, it feels wintry enough still: but often in the very early spring it feels like that. Two thousand years are only a day or two by this [God’s] scale. A man really ought to say, ‘The Resurrection happened two thousand years ago’ in the same spirit in which he says, ‘I saw a crocus yesterday.’ Because we know what is coming behind the crocus. The spring comes slowly down this way; but the great thing is that the corner has been turned. . . It remains with us to follow or not, to die in this winter, or to go on into that spring and that summer.”

It’s a lovely little book full of similarly lovely thoughts, metaphors, and quotes.

Best resources on Deuteronomy

A part of my PhD thesis has been working through Deut 1-11 and having just got past Deut 7 I thought I’d share my top recommends for resources to help understand and teach the book:
If you want technical help:

  • McConville, Deuteronomy (AOTC)
  • Nelson, Deuteronomy (OTL)
  • Weinfeld, Deuteronomy 1-11 (AB)

If you want theological reflection for preaching

  • Wright, Deuteronomy (NIBC)
  • Olson, Deuteronomy and the Death of Moses
  • Brueggemann, Deuteronomy (Abingdon)

And a couple I’ve only dipped into as yet but will no doubt prove excellent

  • Block, Deuteronomy (NIVAC)
  • Robson, Honey from the Rock.

If I could have only two (ha, ridiculous) I’d have McConville and Wright. If I could have just a couple more it’d be Olson and Brueggemann.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting myself with Deut as a book. It’s like good coffee – rich with a nice after taste. That sucker will preach, so go, go now, and do it.