leadership

The Best Leadership Book You've Probably Never Read

The Best Leadership Book You've Probably Never Read

One of the best parts of getting a PhD in Leadership was being required to read widely on the subject. From time to time, I get asked what some of my favorite leadership books are. So, I thought I would take the time to answer that question here and accompany my answer with a fairly through review.

If stranded on a desert island and given only one book from which to teach leadership, I would choose a lesser known book called Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership by Lee Bolman and Terrance Deal.

Less Talk, More Action: Moving Past the Rhetoric of Multiplication

Less Talk, More Action: Moving Past the Rhetoric of Multiplication

“We need more planters.”

I can remember, only a few years ago, speaking with representatives at some of our national church planting agencies and hearing they were at capacity. At the time, the conversation was centered on increased efficiency in equipping. Processes needed to be streamlined in order to run through more planters. Capacity was the issue back then. Now, it's scarcity.

With both of these sending problems, the answer lies in the way we think—and more importantly act—as sending churches. How do we move past mere rhetoric to actually become sending churches?

Stewardship of Power

Stewardship of Power

Why is this discussion of a leader’s power so important? Recent issues have made this question extremely pressing for us. Power is possibly the greatest asset towards leadership. It provides leaders with the potential to do good or bring harm. Power allows leaders to build trust and thus gain the voluntary and legitimate permission of people to influence them, or power can be used in such a way that it undermines trust and legitimacy. Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, “Nothing is more useful than power, nothing more frightful.”

Since this is true, the way a leader uses power is the truest test of his or her character. God gives power and position for the sake of his people, not for the privilege of the leader.

What the Church Must Do to Protect Its Most Vulnerable

What the Church Must Do to Protect Its Most Vulnerable

I just finished the 1st of The Houston Chronicle 3-part series on sexual abuse within Southern Baptist churches. Like other SBC pastors and church members, my response is one of grief and sadness for the victims and frustration for those who were never brought to justice. Yet, I also understand that while calls for a response and a denominational fix have been given for years, the nature of church autonomy—as addressed briefly in the article—puts the SBC in a unique position as compared to other denominations. Nevertheless, denominational polity is not something that will concern most readers of the story. For those who are victims of such abuse, it shouldn't. 

Where Does Your Year Start?

Where Does Your Year Start?

If I were to ask the people of your church, “Why do you do what you do?” I’m sure I would get a gospel-related response. But the true litmus test of the Great Commission motivation in a church is less about whether or not we make disciples as a matter of obedience—which is good. Instead, it's more about if we're making disciples out of genuine urgency and concern that a person's life be radically transformed by the grace and mercy of their Savior—which is better. I have been challenged by this idea in recent months, and this experience has helped me firm up my “why” for UBA and our churches.

Amateur's Guide to Coordinating VBS (English & Español)

Amateur's Guide to Coordinating VBS (English & Español)

In 2016, my sister and I decided to take on the responsibility to plan our church's first Vacation Bible School (VBS). We've learned quite a few things along the way and are still learning. Hopefully, these thoughts and tips can be helpful to those of you thinking of planning VBS, no matter how big or small.

En el 2016, yo y mi hermana, tomamos la responsabilidad de hacer una Escuela Bíblica de Verano (EBV) por primera vez. Hemos aprendido varias cosas y espero que estos les ayude a planificar EBV, grande o pequeño.

Work for Those Who Work for You

Work for Those Who Work for You

Leadership is a learned skill. Much of the learning takes place experientially, but books can also provide valuable learning. Since reading Steven B. Sample's The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership, "Work for Those Who Work For You" (Chapter 8)  has become a guiding leadership principle for me. More than 20 years after first encountering Sample’s work, I still have 2 green sticky notes marking pages in that chapter. On one, I wrote ”service” and on the other “access.” They are reminders that help me even today.

Calling the Callers

Calling the Callers

For most of us who have been called into ministry, that calling wasn't as simple as hearing God's audible voice from heaven as we prayed. More often than not, God uses his people to call and clarify calling for the next generation of leaders. In spite of the barriers that exist, we should be the callers for the future of the church.


That's why we're incredibly excited for Houston Baptist University's opportunity this Feb to better understand what a calling is and the options available to those looking to enter ministry. It's going to be an excellent event for ministers and the next generation both.

Does Your False Self Preach a False Gospel?

Does Your False Self Preach a False Gospel?

We all have different masks—or false selves—we put on, versions of ourself we wish were true. These identities can range anywhere from helpful, to innocuous, to even detrimental to our spiritual health. Let’s take a moment to examine the dangerous false selves we present and how they might damage not only our walk with Christ but also our witness and community.

Five Tips for Rising Leaders & Mentors

Five Tips for Rising Leaders & Mentors

Identifying, developing, and supporting rising young leaders is an important part of any organization and no less for the church. Robert Kidd, Director of Spiritual Care & Values Integration for the Methodist Hospital System, delivered a paper on this topic at a recent conference for Chaplains. UBA believes that pastors and mentors in the church must be alert to identify and nurture the next generation of leadership. Excerpted here are five points from the seminar for both mentors and rising leaders to consider.