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20 Truths From ‘Attentive Church Leadership’

Attentive Church Leadership

I recently wrote the foreword to a helpful new book called “Attentive Church Leadership.” In a sense, the key is to know what time it is—and how we might react.

We’ve listed 20 truths—quotes from the book—that give you a feel for the book. You can also listen to a podcast we did with Kevin and Jim here

And, enjoy these quotes from the book.

20 Truths From ‘Attentive Church Leadership: Listening and Leading in a World We’ve Never Known’ by Kevin Ford and Jim Singleton 

“A major shift began in the early 1990s, taking us from a broadcast culture to a digital one. It started slowly, with people suddenly talking about the World Wide Web and America Online (AOL)’s infamous ‘you’ve got mail.'” (5) 

“People upload approximately 500 hours of video to YouTube every minute…[I]t would take a human more than eighty-two years just to watch the amount of video footage uploaded onto YouTube in one single day. Never before in human history have people experienced this constant bombardment of potential distractions.” (6)

“This book is not primarily about change. It’s about being attentive and knowing when circumstances demand that we pivot. It’s also about discerning when to ignore the myriad of voices distracting us and how to stay true to your authentic path. The first task of leadership is to discern what needs to be preserved versus what needs to change. You will make changes, not for the sake of being trendy, but because of God’s mission.” (7)  

“A frog waits for food to come to him, but lizards seek out their food. Churches today need to be more like lizards and less like frogs. Now the call is to go where people live, work, and play with the Good News of Jesus.” (33)

“Today many churches are struggling and the Attractional churches have plateaued. The Attractional Church was directly crafted for the cultural moment of the Baby Boomers. But it has not quite fit later generations in the same way. This is a world we’ve never known.” (34) 

Throughout Paul’s epistles, the ‘indicative’ always precedes the ‘imperative.’ Who we are in Christ precedes what we are challenged to do. As ministry leaders, we need to move toward a posture of being attentive to our souls before we can lead others in a world we’ve never known.” (40) 

“Two types of conflict exist: a mission-focused conflict, which we call the Blue Zone, and a person-centered conflict, which we call the Red Zone. Blue Zone issues do not become personal nor personality-driven. Instead, they focus on issues facing the church.” (70) 

“The well-defined leader continuously pursues internal alignment, embracing their true self before God. They allow the Lord to define who they are more than the expectations of individuals or the apparent successes or failures of any organization.” (77)

“One key differentiation between how participants of Red Zone vs. Blue Zone conflict behave is the following: Leaders in the Blue Zone accept responsibility for their part of the discussion, issue, or need without becoming the victim or rescuer. In Red Zone conflicts, individuals act out of the desire to protect and promote self—and they look to others to protect them as well.” (74)

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is the Dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola Univeristy and Scholar in Residence & Teaching Pastor at Mariners Church. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. Dr. Stetzer is the host of "The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast," and his national radio show, "Ed Stetzer Live," airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates.