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Seven Practices of Effective Ministry (North Point Resources) Hardcover – August 18, 2004
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About the Author
Communicator, author, and pastor, ANDY STANLEY founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995. Today, NPM is comprised of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network 30 churches around the globe collectively serving nearly 70,000 people weekly.
As host of Your Move with Andy Stanley, with over five million messages consumed each month through television and podcasts, and author of more than 20 books, including The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating, Ask It, How to Be Rich, Deep & Wide, Visioneering, and Next Generation Leader, he is considered one of the most-influential pastors in America.
Andy and his wife, Sandra, have three grown children and live near Atlanta.
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For Ministry, highly recommend pastors and lay leaders to read this book. Stanley does not mess around with sugar coating things - which is great - he is up front with the challenges and approaches for stronger ministry today ... He starts with a "story" in the first 1/2 of the book and finishes with the tactical explanation of the 7 practices. The style at the start is similar to books like "The Anatomy of Peace" or other books that teach through a story - very effective.
Then his hands on and practical direction for applying the practices is easy to follow and consider what that looks like for your organization. Highly recommend this book. We listened on audio and then bought the book because there were so many things we wanted to reference and review.
Part I: Getting in the Game: Ray's Story
1. The Best-laid Plans
2. Throwing Strikes
3. Keeping Score
4. Getting on Base
5. Staying Focused
6. Teaching the Fundamentals
7. The Roar of the Crowd
8. Developing New Talent
9. Managing Your Way to Victory
Part II: Putting the 7 Practices to Work
10: Clarify the Win
11. Think Steps, Not Programs
12: Narrow the Focus
13. Teach Less for More
14. Listen to Outsiders
15. Replace Yourself
16. Work On It
Epilogue: A Final Challenge
I measure a nonfiction book by the amount of highlighting I do, and my copy of this one is very colored. The deeper into this book I read, the more excited I got about working through it with my ministry leadership team. In fact, I put my money where my ideas were and bought each of them a copy so they can read it for themselves before we regroup this summer and plan our fall session.
When Jesus fed the five thousand he had the disciples sit the people down in groups of 50. Nothing magical about the number but when you are dealing with large groups of people, there are organizational principles that you have to employ or chaos will be the result.
This book is written to ministry leaders and pastors with the expectation that they should understand the underlying principles from a Biblical perspective. God had a plan before the world was created to achieve His goals. He invited us to be part of His ministry so that we could be the hands and feet of Jesus. Jesus had a simple methodology to making disciples: invite to follow, follow to believe, believe to obey, obey to repeat. During Jesus ministry, he declared his goals several times in different ways. Towards the end of his ministry, he restated the vision for the church in multiple ways.
Jesus also taught the value of pruning, that sometimes you have to remove good grapes to produce excellent ones. The same goes for ministry, Jesus focused on his mission to the Jews rather than the Gentiles even though He wanted to save the Gentiles too. In three short years, he had to focus on a narrow group of people in a narrow geographic area.
We only have a short lifespan so our discipleship must be done with the intent to replace ourselves for the next generation. Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper not only to make us remember his death but to celebrate His resurrection. The feasts in the Old Testament were similar in remembering the victory that God has won.
There is just as great a danger in spiritualizing what needs to be done practically as there is in practically doing what needs to be done spiritually. Our job is to create the environment where we can maximize a person's encounter with Jesus. Only the Spirit can affect the heart.