Book Review: The Most Excellent Way to Lead by Perry Noble

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I read and reviewed this book before the news came out about Perry Noble no longer being the Senior Pastor of NewSpring Church. However, my opinions on this book, what I learned from it, and what I liked about it, hasn’t changed. I am heartbroken over the news and what has happened in the life of Perry as well as NewSpring Church but believe we can all still learn something from this excellent book.

One of the books I just finished was Perry Noble’s newest book on leadership called The Most Excellent Way to Lead. I have always enjoyed Noble’s leadership stuff as well as his books (his book Overwhelmed was a game changer for me personally) so I was excited to read this one.

When most people hear “1 Corinthians 13” they automatically think of the “love chapter.” It’s a chapter that is usually tied into the topic love in the context of marriage or a relationship. However, Noble argues (and I would agree with him) that it seems like this is chapter is better suited for the context of leadership. As Noble says, “In 1 Corinthians 12, the emphasis of Paul’s writing to the church is on spiritual gifts, leadership, and the importance of working together. In 1 Corinthians 14, he continues this line of reasoning as he encourages leaders to sound a clear call for their followers. But right in the middle of these two chapters we find 1 Corinthians 13” (page 5). Noble continues by arguing the context of chapter 13 then is leadership. He says, “Paul is continuing his discussion about leadership here, and when he says he’s going to show you the most excellent way, I believe he’s saying, ‘I will show you the most excellent way to lead” (page 6).

Throughout this book, Noble uses Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 13 to show his readers how to become better leaders. In this book Noble addresses the heart of the leader. Like Paul shows us in 1 Corinthians 13, the heart of the leader is most important. The way to become a better leader is through having the right heart attitude.

I want to change up the way I do the rest of this review. I want to share three things I really liked about this book.

First, it focused less on what leaders do and more on who leaders are. This book focuses on the heart of the leader. If the heart of the leader is in the right place than correct and loving leadership will flow out of them. Noble shares very practical leadership advice throughout this book but the theme throughout is the heart of the leader. Through this book, God showed me a lot about my heart in regards to my leadership. I was encouraged, challenged, and convicted. It was just what I needed for this season of my leadership journey.

Second, it included a ton of great leadership one liners. One of the things I have always enjoyed about Noble’s leadership stuff (podcasts, articles, etc.) is his great leadership one liners. These are simple statements that contain a wealth of leadership knowledge and advice. At the end of each chapter this book includes a page of “summary statements” from that chapter. Just having these pages to look back on and read the leadership one liners is huge!

Third, I appreciated Noble’s honesty and humility throughout this book. Noble shares a good bit of his leadership failures and mistakes. He even shares about seasons in his life that were very dark and things that most leaders with his platform would like to keep quiet. I was encouraged by his authenticity and humility. He isn’t a guy who is claiming he has it all together and he has done it all correctly and we should follow him. He shares his failures, faults, and mistakes but continually points to God and how God has continued to shape him into a better leader.

The book is very straight-forward, easy to read, and will impact those leaders who take the time to read it. I’d encourage anyone who finds themselves in a leadership position to read it.

Books I’ve Read Recently

pic.001Overwhelmed by Perry Noble. This is the first Perry Noble book I have ever read. I really enjoy listening to him preach and reading/listening to his thoughts on leadership so I was excited to dive into one of his books. The overall theme of this book is pretty straight forward-we all face overwhelming circumstances that cause stress and anxiety, but through Jesus we can have victory. Throughout the book Noble uses the story of Daniel to illustrate how God can work in our overwhelming circumstances. One of the things I really appreciated about this book was Noble’s transparency and honesty as he shared about his story of depression and anxiety. As someone who struggles with worry and stress very often, this book helped me a lot and I would recommend it to anyone who feels overwhelmed (which is basically all of us). I plan to read Noble’s other book Unleashed soon.

Criticism Bites by Brian Berry. About two years ago I read Brian’s book As For Me and My Crazy House and loved it (click here to read my review). So when I saw Criticism Bites at SYMC this past year I knew I had to grab a copy and read it. Criticism Bites is a book about dealing with criticism. It’s written with youth pastors in mind so most of the illustrations and ideas are geared towards those in youth ministry. However, the book is still very applicable to those not in youth ministry. Berry dives into why criticism hurts us so bad and how we can effectively handle it when it comes our way. Youth ministry is a ministry that seems to attract criticism. You have parents, students, and other adults in the church who all have an opinion on how the youth ministry should be ran. Many times those opinions are very different than yours and usually are masked in criticism. Youth pastors need to know how to handle and respond to criticism. In this book, Berry does an excellent job at explaining how you can do that. I’d recommend this book to youth pastors and anyone who ever finds themselves on the receiving end of criticism.

A Youth Ministry Volunteer Speaks His Mind by Rick Williams. I picked this book up a few years ago, but have always left it on my shelve. It may be because the title scares me. I want to think I am pretty good at leading a team of youth ministry volunteers. I want to think I have it all figured out and that my volunteers think I am the greatest youth pastor on the face of this earth. But that’s not always true. I have a lot to learn when it comes to leading a team of volunteers and one of the best ways to learn is to listen to them. Ask them how I am doing and what I could do differently. What I loved about this little book is that it was like sitting down at a table with one of my volunteers and asking them to be brutally honest with me. At times, it made me mad and at other times it made me feel very encouraged. In this book, Rick Williams, a youth ministry volunteer since 1981, tells youth pastors what their volunteers are really thinking. I picked up a ton of practical things from this book on leading better meetings, recruiting volunteers, communicating to volunteers, and more. I’d recommend every youth pastor pick up a copy of this book and read it so they can better lead their volunteer team.

Up next on my reading list is to finish A Call to Resurgence by Mark Driscoll and to start The Starbucks Experience by Joseph Michelli. Reviews coming soon.

Book’s I’ve Read Recently

I enjoy reading and writing reviews of what I have read here on my site. However, I do not always review every book I read. Some books I simply read and put them on the shelve. But in an effort to review and recommend more books here on my site I will be posting “mini-reviews” from time to time of recent books I have read. So today I want to share some quick reviews of three books I have recently finished.

FURT_9781601424563_jkt_all_r1.inddCrash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick. Crash the Chatterbox was a good read. I read a chapter a day during my devotional time and learned a lot about how Satan and his lies can cause me to loose focus on my Savior and His promises. Furtick is one of my favorite preachers to listen to and I have enjoyed reading his books. In this book Furtick considers some of the “chatter” Christians hear in their heads from Satan that often times trips them up and causes them to fail. He gives Biblical principles in how to overcome the “chatter” and reminds readers of the promises of God. This was a really easy read that I would recommend to anyone that is looking for a book to help them in their spiritual growth. Overcoming the lies of the enemy is important if we want to believe and live out the promises of God for our lives.

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Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples by Duffy Robbins. When it comes to youth ministry, I love reading and learning from Duffy Robbins. This guys has been around for a long time and is full of youth ministry related wisdom. It’s evident from his books (and when you hear him speak) that he loves Jesus and teenagers. He is also passionate about helping youth pastors follow the Great Commission in making disciples, which is what this book if all about. In this book, Robbins shares how you can build an effective youth ministry that builds teenage disciples. This by far was one of the best youth ministry books I have ever read. It was practical, but very theologically sound. Robbins doesn’t just share how to attract teenagers, but how to pour into them and help them become fully-devoted disciples of Jesus. I really enjoyed chapters 2 and 3. In chapter 2 Robbins talks about how youth ministry is more about the youth pastors relationship with Jesus than anything else. Then in chapter 3 Robbins talks about how youth ministry must be incarnational. With Jesus ministry as the blueprint, Robbins helps youth workers see the important of being with teenagers and how healthy relationships with teenagers make for great ministry. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone in youth ministry both full-time or as a volunteer.

cotw-cvrCreature of the Word by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger. We need Gospel-centered local churches. Not many pastors (or Christians for that matter) would disagree with this statement. But what does a Gospel-centered local church look like? How does a Gospel-centered church operate? Those are the kinds of questions this book addresses. The local church is all about Jesus. He built it, runs it, and owns it. The Gospel, the good news of what God did through Jesus, is what should drive the church. The Gospel, the person of Jesus, should be at the center of it all. The first few chapters (chapters 1-5) unpacks this truth while the last section (chapters 6-12) get more practical in dealing with how the Gospel impacts everything from church leadership, ministry, preaching, and contextualization. I really enjoyed chapter 8 and what the writers had to say about children and student ministry. As well as chapter 9 and the discussion on what is Biblical, Jesus-centered leadership. I’d recommend this book for anyone who is in church leadership and is passionate about building a Gospel-centered church.

I’m currently reading The Judgment Seat of Christ by Samuel Hoyt and plan to start reading Perry Noble’s new book Overwhelmed this week. Reviews coming soon.

Saying No In Student Ministry

One of things I am learning in my first student pastor position is the value of saying no to certain things. For ministry leaders, and student pastor like me, simply saying no can be one of the hardest things to do in ministry. In his book, What Matters Most, Doug Fields says, “While saying no results in many personal benefits, it’s a difficult word for most ministry-minded leaders to utter because their ministry culture values yes.” A lot of times student ministry culture says “you have to do more” and student pastors are falling for that lie left and right. I’ll admit, I’m not an expert at this. Being fresh out of college and in my first student pastor position, it’s easy to “always make sure I have enough on the calendar.” I’m in the process of learning how to say the word no. I am learning that there comes a time, usually it’s a lot of the time, when I need to say no because there is more important stuff to focus on. Here are some times to say no in student ministry.

1. When it takes the place of your own personal relationship with God. In a post awhile back called The Hardest Person to Lead, I quoted Chris Finchum as he said, “It’s easy to fall in love with the work of Christ rather than the person of Christ.” Student pastors must say no to something if it will get in the place of their personal walk with God. Doug Fields said this about his early years in ministry: “Because in the busyness of my first decade of ministry, I abandoned my first love (God) and developed a love affair with doing ministry.” The number one key to successful youth ministry is being a student pastor who is in love with Jesus and walking consistently with Him. Many student pastors are missing this important key because they are too busy with youth ministry to invest in their own walk with God. Revelation 2:4 says, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Say no if it will get in the way of personal walk with God.

2. When it puts your character and integrity at stake. Another time we need to say no in student ministry is when it puts your personal character at stake. The first qualification for a leader given by Paul in 1 Timothy 3 is to be “above reproach.” As student pastors, we must guard our character. From example, don’t say yes to taking a student of the opposite sex home if it’s only going to be yourself and the student in the car. Your personal character is more important than a ride home. Some may disagree with me on this point, but I believe a student pastor’s personal character is more important that ministry to teenagers. We are called to be holy and must say no to whatever puts that at stake.

3. When it gets in the way of your family. I remember listening to a Perry Noble leadership podcast as he talked about the topic of putting your spouse before ministry. One statement he said that stuck in my head was “Jesus will take care of His church.” God called student pastors to be pastors to their spouses and children first. We are to be leaders at home, before we are leaders at church. At the end of the day, Jesus will take care of your youth ministry. God has called us to be pastors of our home before pastors of the students at our church. Don’t sacrifice your family on the alter of student ministry, it’s unbiblical and not worth it. Say no if it gets in the way of your family.

These are just a few times I believe we need to say no as student pastors. You may have noticed, I didn’t say anything about programing or even the student ministry, I focused on the leader as a person. I believe building a person is more important than building a ministry. Ric Garland says, “Build the man and God will build the ministry.” When student pastors focus on growing in Christ as a person, God will grow the ministry.

I mentioned Doug Field’s book What Matters Most a few times in this post. This is a great little book that I would recommend anyone in ministry to read. It will help you underatand what matters the most and how you can say no to all the other stuff. Click here to purchase a copy of it from Amazon.

2 Reasons You Need Check Out Code Orange Revival

The past two nights, Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC has been seeing God move in their Code Orange Revival. Code Orange Revival is a twelve night revival put on by Steven Furtick and his church Elevation. It is simply amazing at what is happening there! They are streaming the services live for anyone to watch. People are watching from all over the world and with just two night in the stories that are coming out of this revival are breathtaking.

I personally believe that this could be the start of the next great revival. With the technology we have today and the ability to stream a revival that is taking place in one area to the rest of the world, joining millions of people together in prayer and sitting under sound preaching, this could be the way the next great revival takes place. I am sure there are people out there that don’t like Elevation or Furtick because of silly “preferences” they can’t let go, but when God is on the move like He is in this revival it’s time to drop our preferences and get in on what God is doing! Here are two reasons you need to be a part of Code Orange Revival either live in Charlotte or online from wherever you are.

1. It’s a real move of God. Honestly, as believers, shouldn’t we want to get in on anything that is a real move of God? I have committed to be  a part of this revival online because I believe God is in it and if He is in it, I need it! I desperately need God to move in my life and I am excited about being part of something like this. If you don’t believe me or believe the magnitude of this revival, here are some amazing facts.

The hash tag #codeorangerevival was the number one trending topic on Twitter the first day and has been a top trending topic since.

People are tuning in from all over the world via live stream and TV stations that are showing it. 

People of flying and driving into Charlotte from all over the world just to be a part of this revival live. Last night two men flew from Seattle because they wanted to be a part of it!

People are camping out and getting to the Elevation campus throughout the day just to get a seat inside.

This is not your typical revival. This is a move of God! Wherever you are, tune in on TV or watch the live stream, do whatever you need to do to be a part of this move of God. I have already been blessed, challenged, convicted, and changed by the first two nights!

2. Good Biblical Preaching. This is the part that makes this revival so amazing. Furtick managed to bring in some of the best speakers from around the country to share God’s Word. Here is the line up: Craig Groeschel, Jentezen Franklin, Matt Chandler, Christine Caine, Ed YoungIsrael Houghton, Perry Noble, Stovall Weems, Kevin Gerald, T.D. Jakes, and James MacDonald. The moment some people read this list they will write off this revival because they don’t agree with some of the speakers. I personally do not agree with all of them, but that is not a reason to not be a part of this move of God. There comes a time when we need to drop our preferences and opinions so we can hear God speak. So far the preaching has been the focus and center of this revival. I believe that is Furtick’s heart and I am encouraged by his passion to make God’s Word the center of this revival.

Here are all the links you need to be a part of the Code Orange Revival:
Elevation Network-This is where the live stream can be found as well as the rebroadcasting of each service if you mis the live stream.
Code Orange Revival-This is the main website for the revival. On this site you can find all the info, schedule, and speaker bio’s.
Elevation Church-The main website for the church.
Steven Furtick-This is his personal website and blog.