I promise I have never talked with Thom Rainer. He has never interviewed me, yet several of the stories in his powerful new book Who Moved My Pulpit Leading Change in the Church (B&H Publishing Group, 2016) sounded familiar. He talked about people I know. He described scenarios that I've been involved with over many years, in churches, and in secular organizations. And he did it in simple language that can be understood with having studied Biblical languages and Systematic Theology.
This is a book for pastors, and for church leaders. It's based on years of experience as a church consultant and researcher. Rainer references Scripture, and encourages prayer.
To lead change you have to understand change, and be fully aware that almost half of any mixed group, for whatever reason, are going to resist change: some vehemently. A smaller percentage are going to embrace change, a few eagerly, and others when they hear the reasons, and then there are those who tend to follow whichever side seems to be winning.
Rainer uses stories of things that he has personal knowledge of, and shows how different scenarios might or might not work. And offers suggestions for what the next steps that need to be taken might be. Although anyone in a leadership position might find it easier than not to focus on the trouble makers, the squeaky wheels; it's important to remember that there are so many people in our churches that do love their pastor, and want to help him, not just make his life miserable.
But just like a shepherd likes his sheep, the church leader is called to love everyone in his flock, not just the ones that are always there to help, and never talk back.
And speaking of called, being a pastor is a calling. There's no other reason why anyone would stay for very long!
Although I would have gladly bought this book, I did receive several copies from the publisher as part of the launch team. I still have a couple of copies left for the first church or ministry leaders who respond to the blog.