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Change Agents: 25 Hard-Learned Lessons in the Art of Getting Things Done Paperback – Bargain Price, September 25, 2007

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Change agents are pioneers, entrepreneurs, innovators. They can be difficult, annoying, and demanding. But their calling is demanding too: to take a vision and wrench it into reality. When Steve Chalke was asked to be the senior minister of a dying inner-city church, he knew what he wanted: to make it into a Christian equivalent of a first-century synagogue. A place where the community gathered, not just to pray and hear sermons, but to be educated, entertained, and find help. Making it all happen was the harder part. In Change Agents, the author shares twenty-five lessons he learned during this work. He had to teach himself to respond, not react; say no more than yes, give up being everyone's friend, and accept that any success was only a short respite between two crises. Employing wry humor, personal examples, and a large helping of practical advice, Steve Chalke reminds us our enterprise, not our caution, with the Word of God is what's rewarded. Christ waits and watches for us to take risks and create change in the church, the community, and the world at large.

About the Author

Steve Chalke is an ordained minister and the founder of Oasis, which over the last 25 years has developed into a group of charities working to deliver education, training, youth work, health care and housing around the world. He is the senior minister of Church.co.uk, Waterloo and a UN Special Advisor working to combat people trafficking. In 2004 he was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his work in social inclusion.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310275490
  • ASIN: B003D7JZMQ
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,251,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Chalke is an ordained minister and the founder of Oasis, which over the last 25 years has developed into a group of charities working to deliver education, training, youth work, health care and housing around the world. He is the senior minister of Church.co.uk, Waterloo and a UN Special Advisor working to combat people trafficking. In 2004 he was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his work in social inclusion.

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Format: Paperback
In this book Steve Chalke steers a path away from the controversy of his last book and into fairly safe territory - that of the difficulties in running a church or other Christian project in the 21st century. The book features 25 principles that Steve has learned in his years as a pastor and leader of organisations including Oasis, offered in short chunks, usually 3-4 pages each. The principles include things such as "vision and frustration are the same thing" and "success is three days between two crises" and are illustrated by events in Steve's life from which he has learned.

This was a surprisingly introspective book and showed very clearly the difficulties of living a life in the spotlight with the criticism and hurtful comments that seem to go hand-in-hand with sticking one's head above the parapet. I had wondered if this would be another American-style self help book but it wasn't that, it read rather more like reflective memoirs of the challenges in running a ministry in today's world. Many of Steve's insights were very helpful, he quotes other writers and notable people such as Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill and more and the book is easy to read with Steve's engaging and confiding style to the fore. I would have appreciated perhaps some more depth and exploration of the principles he offers but it was a helpful and enjoyable book.
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Format: Paperback
There is an element in the young man wanting to get things done but being thwarted by older people who respond with, "We tried that before and it didn't it work." I have certainly experienced that often and was often tempted to introduce new things anyway, by fiat if I couldn't get concensus and collaboration. How else will things change for the better?

It is particularly frustrating if you are a minister and your `flock' are all voluntary. They don't get paid so they don't have to do what they are told. If they don't like the direction in which a church is moving, they can simply vote with their feet and go to a different church.

How many clergy get bogged down, trying to keep everyone happy and, in the process, lose their cutting edge and settle for mediocrity.

Chalke admits that you can't please all of the people all of the time, that evy `yes' to something requires a `no' to something contradictory. He does, however, say that people and more important than programmes - if you are going around upsetting people then you have to ask whether your vision is genuine or just an ego trip.

A leader needs to remember that you can only take people with you if they can see `your working out.' Someone who is visionary has `mountain peak experiences' but other people only know what they see and hear from him. And they don't know about the sleepless nights when the visionary wrestles with ideas and wonders what practical steps can be taken to put them into practice. Visionary experiences convert the visionary but the visionary then has to convey that experience as a motivator for change. `People follow people, not disembodied principles.

Don't be too impatient for change: the journey with others is slower than the journey alone.
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Format: Paperback
Say what you will about Steve's theology, but his work as a change agent and community activist can't be questioned. This book offers some good thoughts on leadership and was a great read.
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