Tonight I finished Creating Community by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits. This is one of the North Point Resources books and every bit as good as the other two I've blogged about. While this one doesn't include a fictional leadership parable like the others, it is a very quick read. Willits did the majority of the writing and has a very conversational style. Creating Community is a lesson in how to do small groups - NorthPoint-style. It does not go into the nuts and bolts of how to lead a small group or what the meeting itself should look like. It does teach small groups from a leadership, administrative, and overall concept viewpoint. Willits does a great job of laying the foundation for why small groups are necessary and even critical to spiritual development.
One segment that really spoke to me as a leader was the emphasis on word association. Everyone is known for something - something that can usually be narrowed down to one word. Coke is known for cola. Bayer is known aspirin. Starbucks is known for coffee. The chapter titled "Find Your Word" talked about how important it is for an organization to find the word they want used to describe themselves. Willits says, "When people think of your organization, what is the word you hope they will associate with you? Something is going to come to mind. What do you want it to be?" The crew at North Point decided they wanted that word to be relational. They wanted their mission to be encouraging their congregants to pursue three vital relationships - intimacy with God, community with insiders, and influence with outsiders. It just got me to asking myself that question about Living Hope Church. It's something I think our leaders will be trying to formulate in the near future.
I also wanted to share something that I am now a big fan of that I saw on Oprah. She found this new highlighter pen with post-it flags built in to the pen. They're great. As you read, you can highlight portions that you find important and then flag the page so you can find it quickly later. It's all built into one handy pen. Just thought I'd pass it on. I'm loving using it right now and I'm sure it's going to be invaluable in the future when I'm looking for quotes and info from past reads.