Surviving and Thriving After Losing Your Job: a book review

Little
did David F. Jones realize when he
was asked to share his experiences about his recent job transition that
Americans would be facing the toughest job market in many decades. In the book Surviving and Thriving after Losing Your Job,
Jones shares of being transitioned out of an upper leadership management position; after
almost 30 years in the same industry with the same company.  Throughout the book we are invited into the
personal journey that Jones was forced to take. We get a glimpse of the
emotions that filled the days right after receiving the news and the
intentional decision to let the ‘past be the past’ and quickly move on.

 

There
is much more to the book than just a personal story because most of it is
filled with practical advice that could help anyone with a job search, whether
you are recently unemployed or seeking a job for the first time. Included in
this advice is: how to prepare a resume, building a network of business
relationships, discovering you passions and purpose, and developing a game plan
toward your next position.

 

Practical
suggestions for a positive job future run throughout the pages. One that is not
business related but repeated often is the author’s dependence on God.  It is very clear in this book that Jones
understands and knows he has a personal relationship with God.  So here is a business book that gives
practical advice, yet  doesn’t sell the
reader on the fact that it is an all up to ‘me’ approach; but that there is a
higher power we can place our trust.

Worship ‘for another world’

"If I find in myself a desire
which no experience in this world can satisfy,
the most probable explanation is that
I was made for another world."

CS Lewis

Related Posts:
Worship: Method vs. Person
Worship is Recognizing God
Worship…recognizing the presence of God
Preparing For Worship…from the inside out

Does the Team You Lead Perform?

The challenge of any leader: “is the team I lead getting enough done and in the right way?”  In other words do they PERFORM? A leader of teams is all about the people versus the product. When a team is performing they are working together, recognizing and valuing each one’s uniqueness and abilities. It is only then that a great product is produced. 

As we recruit, establish and train teams what measures our process?

Alison Hardingham and Jenny Royal, in their book Teamwork in Practice, take the word PERFORM, using each letter as marker for evaluation for a team.

  • Productivity: is the team getting enough done?
  • Empathy: do the team members feel comfortable with each other
  • Roles & Goals: do they know what they’re supposed to be doing?
  • Flexibility: are they open to outside influence and contribution?
  • Openness: do they say what they think?
  • Recognition: do they praise each other and publicize achievement?
  • Morale: do people want to be in this team?

    From the book Teamwork in Practice, by Alison Hardingham and Jenny Royal

I have the privilege of leading a variety of teams at ClearView Church, Franklin, TN. Teams of staff and teams of volunteers. I consider it a great privilege and responsibility. As a part of that process of leading I constantly evaluate my efforts. The acrostic of PERFORM is another way I can continue with that evaluation.  It cannot be the only way, because ministry is about making God’s glory known which brings in a whole other set of criteria. (A subject for a future blog.)

I am challenged daily in my efforts as it relates to keeping the team on track; allowing the team to soar in their abilities and skills.  I will continue to ask the question: “are the teams PERFORMing?” “Am I doing the right things to facilitate the process, encouraging the people and making God’s glory known?”

Book Review: Mad Church Disease, Overcoming the burnout epidemic

From personal experience and evidence of a heart bathed in God’s grace, Anne Jackson takes us on a journey through the life of one called to ministry. In her book Mad Church Disease, Anne relates personal stories of how a life called to minister can be weighted so much toward doing good for God and others that life becomes out of balance and very unhealthy.

Early in the book, p 37, we see a diagram of four circles, each representing a part of life: physical, social, mental and spiritual. The object of the diagram is to show that life is not balanced unless attention is given to each area. Anne’s frankness about her own struggles made me want to continue reading and see how she brought and continues to strive for balance in her life.

Part two of the book is a more practical way to look at risk factors of burnout and a challenge to examine our own lives for lack of balance. It is in this part that we also find some short interviews with other ministry leaders which reveal their struggles and success as they seek balance.

Throughout the book Anne demonstrates her sense of call to ministry, desire to minister and totally relying on God helps her accomplish what she is called to do. It is in the last pages, the epilogue where she places strong emphasis on the source of strength and balance: relying on God. This is not taken as cliché, but as a fact.

Anne Jackson continues in ministry today and continues to write.  You can follow her journey of faith and ministry at www.flowerdust.net.

Mad Church Disease is not a book just for those in ministry as a vocation, but for anyone who is seeking true balance in their lives.

Worship Songs: It is all about the words

For those
who know me you will probably find it hard to believe that at one time in my
ministry I was the president of a local chapter of the Hymn Society of America.

 

In the
worship tradition in which I was raised a limited number of songs were used.  In that tradition we did not sing Praise to the Lord the Almighty or A
Mighty Fortress, or I Heard the Voice of
Jesus Say
. Those songs are filled with great theology and poetry. These are
songs that have survived, and I believe will continue to survive, in churches
for generations.  On the other hand,
there are other songs from that era and from other past generations that have
not survived.

 

Today more
worship songs are being written than ever before and these songs, because of
technology, are getting to the local congregations faster than ever before.
There are some that will come and go and then there are others that will be
around for a long time.

 

What makes
songs stick? It is all about the text. What is the song saying? How is it being
said?  Is it theologically correct?

 

When we
choose worship songs, we first read the text. 
There could be a moving melody and great arrangement, however, if the
text is not worth singing then none of that matters.

 

In the end,
song text must line up with God’s Word, which is the ultimate guideline for
anything we sing in church. It is God’s Word that should be the guide for any
element of the service.