BOOK REVIEW: The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker by Brad Lomenick. Thomas Nelson. 2013. 288 pages.
Brad Lomenick led and directed a movement of young leaders called Catalyst for 12 years. He is now in a strategic advisor role with Catalyst, along with several other organizations. In this book he gives us a road map, filled with stories from his experience of leading Catalyst, offering practical advice the readers can incorporate into their lives and work.
Lomenick partnered with the Barna Research Group on this project. Through a series of questions, Barna was able to probe the thoughts, opinions, and passions of 1,116 self-identified Christians ages eighteen and older. The survey data is included in the appendix to the book.
Lomenick writes that becoming a catalyst leader means becoming a change maker—someone who leverages his or her influence for the betterment of the world, the collective good of others, and the greater glory of God. He states that this is possible by developing the eight essentials for becoming a change maker.
He begins by discussing the first essential – Called. He writes that only about one-third of Christians feel called to the work they currently do. The definition of calling that Catalyst used was: God’s personal invitation for me to work on His agenda, using the talents I’ve been given in ways that are eternally significant.
He recommends that leaders develop “Calling Statements”. Lomenick’s calling statement is: To influence influencers through gathering, inspiring, connecting, and equipping them to become change makers.
Lomenick discusses the eight essentials for becoming a change maker. You might be a good leader with only a few, but in order to be a true catalyst leader you need all eight. They are:
Lomenick includes many helpful resources throughout the book, including “8 Questions on Calling for a Year-End Review”. He ends each section with a pertinent list of “Five Leaders You Should Know”. He includes several profiles of leaders, and fifty change makers on the rise. I found this to be a very helpful book.
Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- On Leaving Things Better Than We Found Them. Scott Sauls, author of Jesus Outside the Lines, the next book my wife and I will read together after completing Tim Keller’s Prayer, writes “Our work doesn’t feel meaningful but because our perspective about work lacks a biblical imagination. Dorothy Sayers says that the church is largely at fault for this crisis.”
- Why I Wrote My New Book. Stephen R. Graves writes about his new book The Gospel Goes to Work. It looks interesting and I plan to read it soon. Look for a review in the coming weeks.
- What’s Next on Your Leadership Journey? Mark Miller writes “I believe there are four primary domains in which leaders must ultimately demonstrate competence if they want to maximize their influence and their impact. Although circumstances beyond our control often mess with the natural order of things, I do believe there is a logical sequence of steps or stations in a leader’s development.”
- What is the Most Meaningful Job in America? Would you believe that there was a three-way tie in PayScale’s list of the most meaningful jobs that also pay well? Top 30 Must Read Leadership Articles from October. I always look forward to Paul Sohn’s compilation of the best leadership articles each month.
- Top 30 Must Read Leadership Articles from October. I always look forward to Paul Sohn’s compilation of the best leadership articles each month.
- The Road to Humility: An Interview with John Hawkins. Bill Peel interviews John Hawkins, who states “I’m called to serve Christ—and, by the way, we build homes.” Hawkins is president of Hawkins-Welwood Homes and 30-year veteran of the real estate/homebuilding industry.
- 12 Ways to Rise After Being Thrown Under the Bus. Dan Rockwell discusses how leaders might deal with being thrown under the bus, which he defines as someone elevating their status and lowering yours in front of others.
- A Prayer for a God Honoring Work Life. I first read this wonderful prayer in Kevin Halloran’s new book Word + Life: 20 Reflections on Prayer, the Christian Life, and the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I highly recommend.
- Put Fear In Its Place – Lessons From a Former Airline Executive. Scott Dickson is the former CEO and president of Vanguard airlines, a position he took in early 2001 with full understanding that it was a turnaround situation. The airline was in trouble, and it was his job to reverse a bad situation. Then 9/11 changed everything. In his book, Never Give Up: 7 Principles for Leading in Tough Times, Scott shares lessons he learned and biblical principles he implemented at Vanguard and other airlines where he served. Here’s an excerpt from the book.
- Collaboration. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks about the value of collaboration.
- Which Job Should You Get Based On Your Personality Type? [Infographic]. Paul Sohn writes “Does your current job fit your personality? Or the better question is, should I find my job based on my personality type?” Check out his interesting infographic included in his article.
- Ten Differences Between a Boss and a Leader. Eric Geiger writes “Some bosses are leaders, but not all of them. It is possible to be a boss and not be a leader, or be a leader without being a boss.”
- Cultivating Gospel Readiness at Work. Tom Nelson, author of the excellent book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, writes “I believe Jesus’s parable of the talents encourages us not only to gospel readiness but also to more seamlessly connect our Sunday faith with our Monday work.”
- 3 Ways to Eliminate Your Stress. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Are you feeling too much stress on the job? Are you feeling pressured to do more and more? You may even be wondering whether it’s worth it.”
- Five Ways to Stop Spending Time Managing Time. Rick Segal shares five applications Christians might employ for buying back time for the purposes for which they were given it by God.
- Life Always Triumphs in the Garden. Carey Bustard interviews Louise Brewer, who lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she is part of a flower team, a women’s bible study, and an ESL program at her church.
- Art for Whose Sake? Art can broadly be defined as human skill applied to give shape or “form” to “something.” With that in mind, is it possible to avoid art in the church? In this video message entitled “Art for Whose Sake,” Dr. R.C. Sproul teaches us the proper place art has in the church and our lives.
- Scott Rae: Calling, Work and Vocation [The Gospel and the City]. Watch this helpful 43-minute lecture.
- A Powerful Lesson from Jesus in Handling Conflict. Ron Edmondson writes “When you’re facing conflict in life and leadership — when you’re angry — take time to make a whip. It changes everything.”
Faith and Work Quotes
- Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it. Lou Holtz
- Your career is never going to die for you. If you don’t fulfill its dictates, it will punish you all your life. Tim Keller
- One often sees a call only in retrospect. This too is God’s design. God often reinforces our faith after we trust Him, not before. Ravi Zacharias
- Over and over we’ve seen that people cannot achieve beyond what they really believe. Andy Andrews
- All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. Coach K
- We are most likely to succeed when ambition is focused on noble and worthy purposes and outcomes rather than on goals set out of selfishness. John Wooden
- Take time for silence. By beginning and ending each day peacefully, you’ll help everything in between remain under control. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
- Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Saint Augustine
- People want leaders to model the values of the organization daily, not occasionally. Mark Miller
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.
It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 13 – Pathway 4: Participate in Your Church’s Targeted Initiative:
- Can you image a congregation that targets a particular community for long-term, deep investment and then “plugs in” marketplace professionals for meaningful and strategic service? Or envision a slightly different story, one of a church that doesn’t pick a particular place for radical, long-term engagement, but rather, a specific issue. Are any churches actually doing these sorts of things? An honest answer is, well, not many. But there are some.
- In this chapter, we’ll look in detail at two congregations-Southwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Huntsville, Alabama, and Crossroads in Cincinnati, Ohio-that are testing out, in the real world, kingdom-oriented transformational initiatives that involve vocational stewardship. One has targeted a specific neighborhood in its city; the other, a specific issue. Both have been at their labors for several years; neither is anywhere near finished. Their stories offer us much by way of inspiration and instruction.
- The two have some things in common when it comes to mission. Both are externally focused. Both believe that a narrow and deep outreach ministry focus is far more effective than the mile-wide, inch-deep approach that characterizes many congregations. Each has committed to long-term investment. Additionally, at both Southwood and Crossroads, church leaders had to be captured by the missional call of the gospel of the kingdom before they could launch into their impressive initiatives. And leaders and congregants at both congregations had to experience punched-in-the-guts compassion. At both churches, attention to mobilizing congregants for service according to their specific skill sets and passions has evolved over time.
- Southwood’s journey into robust, holistic community development ministry in its city began with painful repentance. Roughly three years into his pastorate, Mike Honeycutt became convicted that Southwood had “become a church very much inward-focused … and not really reaching our community very well.”
- At Crossroads in Cincinnati, the central focus of the church’s inch-wide, mile-deep outreach is not on a particular neighborhood, but on a pressing cause: promoting justice in the face of the evil of international sex trafficking.
- Let’s look at several lessons they’ve learned. First, leaders at both churches recognize the importance of preaching and leading with an emphasis on the kingdom-on the church’s external focus for mission in the community and the world.
- A second lesson from these churches is that a narrow and deep strategy makes sense not only because it is more effective in terms of tangible results for the people or communities served; it also makes progress more visible. And that contributes to the ongoing motivation of the congregation.
- Third, the stories of these churches reveal that success requires significant financial commitment. To mobilize such commitment, intentional leadership and directed preaching were required.
- A fourth lesson learned is that, while both churches strongly affirm the value of mobilizing congregants by their skill sets, they do not see vocational stewardship as their exclusive method of lay mobilization. There is a call for everyone to serve, for all to take responsibility. And there are many opportunities for service that require no particular professional training or experience. In short, there’s a place for everyone, not just white-collar professionals.
- Finally, this pathway, particularly as expressed in neighborhood-targeted ministry, requires a mindset of mutuality. When a church of largely middle- or upper-middle-class congregants, many of them white-collar professionals, gets engaged in a low-income neighborhood, the risk of paternalism is high. Church leaders must work hard to help their highly talented laity to see their own poverty and need. A great way of doing so is to teach the biblical definition of poverty, namely, “the absence of shalom in all its meanings.” Poverty is not only material; it is relational and spiritual as well. Given the universal implications of the Fall, all humans-including those materially non-poor-are poor in one way or another. This understanding can help congregants who are not economically poor to avoid considering themselves as superior. It also can help congregants find places of commonality with the members of the target community.
Next week we’ll conclude our look at this outstanding book.