Dave Jacobs is a naked man running. To be clear, Dave is not naked, nor is he a runner but what he has to say should get your attention.
What’s In A Title
Dave Jacobs is a savvy writer and an even better leader. He was a pastor for 28 years before retiring and founding Small Church Pastor. His organization provides encouragement, coaching, consulting and resources for pastors and leaders with a focus on smaller churches.
He writes for pastors, but he shares some good life wisdom for any reader.
The title alone of his latest book tells you he can get your attention and the content will hold it – “Naked Man Running: 100 Ideas That Work In A Small Church.” I purchased his book on the recommendation of a friend and got my money’s worth in the first five of the 100 ideas.
Jacobs got the title idea from the story of Archimedes, a 3rd century BC, Greek mathematician. While wrestling with a problem, Archimedes came up with a solution while at a public bathhouse. He was so excited he ran home naked through the streets yelling, “Eureka (I have found it)!”
Jacobs reflected on the ideas and solutions he developed for the everyday problems pastors face.
He decided to gather all these ideas in one volume and categorize them into something that resembled a reference book that pastors could easily turn to for solutions to their specific problems. He was going to simply call his book, 100 IDEAS That Work In A Small Church.
I like the title he settled on.
Dealing With Conflict
One practical chapter on relationships would help anyone deal with conflict.
So, let’s say you suddenly have a problem on your hands. Something like, a small group leader in your church is teaching some strange doctrine, or you discover that the ex-pastor that’s been attending your church has been talking to other members about coming to a special meeting next Saturday at his house.
Or maybe Wilma comes up to you after the service and tells you she can’t stand the music, it’s too loud, too contemporary, too traditional, too long, not long enough… you get the picture. And then she drops the “And-I’m-not-the-only-one-who-feels-this-way” bomb.
How will you react?”
Great pastors don’t overreact, under react, or react prematurely.
Ask yourself, “Am I overreacting?” Maybe you think you’ve got a problem but you don’t. Maybe you think you’ve got a problem but the real problem is smaller than you imagine it to be. Who do you know and trust that can help you determine if you are overreacting?
Ask yourself, “Am I under reacting?” Just because you don’t think you have a problem on your hands doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem on your hands. It’s easier to look the other way and hope that the problem solves itself. Are you minimizing? Who do you know and trust that can help you determine if you are under reacting?
Ask yourself, “Am I reacting prematurely?” Maybe the situation calls for action, but when, how, and by whom? If we jump on it prematurely, we might miss seeing the hand of God take care of things independent of us. Who do you know and trust that can help you determine if you are reacting prematurely?
Reflect Before You React
Here’s a great rule to live by: Always reflect before you react.
Before you do anything, ask yourself questions such as:
Is there any way in which I might have contributed to this problem?
Has my frustration crossed the line and is now anger?
Never underestimate your ability to be a contributor to the problem but convince yourself that blame rests with the other person.
Very few situations demand an immediate response. Take advantage of that. Give it a day or two. Spend some time in prayer and seek wise and objective counsel. You probably don’t have to respond to that nasty email within the hour after you receive it.
Always reflect before you respond. You don’t want to complicate things by overreacting, under reacting, or reacting prematurely.
Jacobs organized his ideas around eight themes.
Pastoral Skills (1-30)
Pastor’s Personal Life (31-54)
Vision, Direction and Discernment (55-63)
Church Health (64-74)
People Problems (88-94)
Volunteers and Leadership Development (95-100)
The chapters are concise, and the content is practical, and proven. I read through the entire book in under an hour.
“Just because you’re busy does not mean that you’re productive.”
“I believe we have exactly enough time to do the things God asked us to do. ‘Not enough time’ is often an indication that we are doing things God has not asked is to do.”
“You can have your cake and eat it too. The challenge for many pastors, however, is that the slice of (inward focus) cake is larger than the slice of (outward focus) cake. The bottom line, if you are not passionate about reaching new people, it is doubtful that your church will be.”
“In what ways might our current Sunday morning service seem confusing, uncomfortable, or strange to an unchurched person?”
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