Thoughts on “The 360 Leader”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

The 360 Leader.jpg
The topic of leadership is my passion. I love devouring books and articles on leadership. The topic can be discussed from Christian authors or even secular authors – it really doesn’t matter because any leadership principles that work in the world are always biblical principles.

John Maxwell is known as the guru on this topic in the Christian circles (always debatable). I guess after teaching and speaking on leadership for the last 35 years has some weight and credibility.

I have always appreciated his short one word definition of leadership – “influence.” So many people are so caught up on the position of leadership that they fail to see that the true measure of leadership is simply to see if we have “influence.”

In our church, I have been constantly talking about how we will all be in leadership roles in the future. Whether we will become parents, managers in companies, community project directors, helping out with small groups and etc. – we all have some level of influence with people.

Out of myriad of books on leadership, I think this book is probably the most applicable for anybody in any organization. In fact, I felt as if this book was Maxwell’s compilation of many of his leadership principles and lessons.

The basic premise of this book is learning how to develop your influence from anywhere in an organization. One hard fact is: not everyone will be the CEO (top guy) in an organization. In reality most people will be either on the entry level trying to work their way up or they will be in middle management. But the question is: can you be a leader that has influence with people above you (your boss), around you (peers), and below you (employees)? Hence, the 360 title.

Maxwell starts off by giving 7 myths about leading from the middle of an organization. He was dead on with every single one. I am amazed at the number of people who have bought into some of these myths. The stronger they hold on to these myths, the worst they are in being able to influence people from the middle.

Maxwell also tries to empathize with people who are caught in the middle management role (this is probably one of the hardest roles to play in any organization). He describes 7 challenges that most people from the middle face when it comes to influencing people around them.

In the rest of the book, Maxwell lays out principles so that a person can “lead-up,” “lead-across,” and “lead-down.”

The thing that caught my attention throughout this book is how hard it is to find people who are in the middle of the organization but that they love the vision of the organization and they are willing to do anything to see it become a reality. Whenever we are leading something, it is always easy to give 100% to it. But when we are not the ones calling the shots, it is hard to give everything. But when you find people who are just as passionate and committed to the vision (even though they are not the top-guy), then we need to do everything and anything to retain them and develop them. They will help the organization to reach the next level.

I think this book is a definite “must-read” for leadership teams in any organization. It will really shed new light to some of the struggles that people face as leaders.

If “everything rises and falls with leadership” then it is imperative that we start learning how to be a 360 leader.

Thoughts on “Communicating for a Change”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

Communicating for a Change.jpg
For some reason, reading Andy Stanley’s book, “Communicating for a Change” was a painful but yet pleasant experience. Maybe it is like running. It is painful as you run (especially if you haven’t ran in ages), but then at the end it feels good knowing that you got a good work out.

Stanley started off his book by sharing a story (it sounded pretty fictional) but nonetheless it was effective as I started to understand the points that he was trying to make throughout the book. The second part of his book was more practical and gave some hands-on advice on learning how to communicate effectively.

The book was definitely geared more towards pastors and their preaching, but I think the principles can be applied to anyone who has to communicate something to an audience. Therefore, this book can be useful to those of you who are in the business world and even in the teaching world.

The part that was painful was when Stanley addressed some of the famous or particular “styles” of preaching (I don’t he is a great fan of the alliterations). He also stripped away all the excuses that pastors might give when it comes to their weaknesses in preaching.

He shares that there are only three possibilities for why a preacher would preach:

1) Teach the Bible to people
2) Teach people the Bible
3) Teach people how to live a life that reflects the values, principles, and truth of the Bible

You can probably tell that he believes in the last one. In fact, I think this is what all preachers want but the reality (how they preach) says that most of us are either #1 or #2.

Stanley says, “Preaching for life change requires far less information and more application. Less explanation and more inspiration.”

The big challenge was – “what is the one thing you want your members to know after your sermon and what do you want them to do with it?”

I couldn’t help but to ask myself this question and I started evaluating the last few sermons that I gave – “did people know the principle and wanted to obey it?”

It is truly challenging for every preacher.

If you want to hear some of Andy Stanley’s messages click here.

Thoughts on “Freakonomics”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals


The subtitle of Steven Levitt’s and Stephen Dubner’s book, Freakonomics is: “A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.” This is an appropriate subtitle in light of what they try to present in their book. If you are a cynic or a skeptic, then you will love this book. As a cynic, I found this book fascinating.

In a nutshell this book exposes and reveals things that we might not normally notice or things that we take things for granted. Their premise of their book states, “If morality represents how people would like the world to work, then economics shows how it actually does work.”

They make some extraordinary connections.

Here are just a few of them:

1) What do school teachers and Sumo wrestlers have in common?
2) How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real-estate agents?
3) Is abortion linked with reducing crime? (this is their most controversial connection proposal)

Levitt and Dubner show the power of the incentive principle – there are definitely positive aspects of incentives, as well as the dark side which always leads to cheating. It was fascinating to see how they caught various people in cheating situations. The biblical principle in action is the depravity of man.

They also argued that nothing is more powerful than information. Once a person has specific information, it allows them to really see things for what it is.

They even have a section on the importance of naming your baby. With a lot of numbers and statistics, they try to show that certain names have a greater advantage over others.

With every page turned, I couldn’t help but to be introspective and also analytical of things around me.

The prophet Jeremiah said, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve” (Jer 17:10).

Thoughts on “The Jesus Creed”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

The Jesus Creed.jpg
Recently, I finished reading Scot McKnight’s book, “The Jesus Creed.” There are just some books that cause you to love God more – this is one of those books. There are a handful of books that are in the same caliber – Knowing God, Loving God, The Pursuit of God, and Desiring God. Hmm… they all have God in the title… maybe that is the secret.

McKnight establishes the premise of his whole book on how Jesus came and gave a “creed” for people to follow. The creed was rooted in the shema. It is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This was the creed for Jewish spiritual formation. This was the first prayer that every Jewish child was taught to say. It is believed that if a Jewish person lived by the shema then they would be blessed beyond imagination.

In Mark 12:28ff, when Jesus was asked by a teacher of the law what the greatest commandment was, He answer by giving the shema (love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all our mind, and with all your strength) and then added Leviticus 19:18, “love your neighbor as yourself.” This became the Jesus Creed and it transformed people’s lives and it still does today.

Even though the greatest commandment is so simple, it is not always easy to live out. McKnight breathes a fresh wind into this simple but yet profound commandment.

Following Jesus requires following this Creed.

Thoughts on “The Big Moo”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

The Big Moo.jpg
I really enjoyed reading Seth Godin’s book, The Big Moo. The subtitle of this book is: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable. I think the desire to be remarkable is built in to every human being because it touches on the issue of significance. We all want to make a difference. We all want to know that we have touched a person’s life or that we have made the world a better place.

The interesting thing about this book is that it was written by the top 33 people in their fields, all ranging from bestselling authors to business giants. These people are affectionately known as, “The Group of 33.” They are like the who’s who of the business world.

This book was a fast read. All of the 33 people wrote like a 2 page tidbit of wisdom. It was all from their experience and their expertise. There were some incredible insights and principles. Something that I have always mentioned to people is that many of the business principles that work are biblical principles. If something works in the business world, you will definitely be able to find a biblical principle that correlates to it. It was fun trying to connect some of the insights and principles in this book with a biblical story or a principle.

So many thoughts and ideas came forth from reading this book. In fact, it is a good primer for any organization or individuals who want to start taking steps towards a realized destiny. This is a book worth reading with your leadership team and board to strategize and come up with some fresh ideas to direct the organization into a new future. But like with all things in life, there will always be a cost to bringing forth change – but at the end it will always have great rewards.

One cool thing about this book is that all (100%) proceeds will go directly to charity. You can check out the website:

Thoughts on “The Present Future”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

I finished reading Reggie McNeal’s book, “The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church.”

Whenever we are on the beginning stages of a new movement, there seems to be couple of things that become apparent. First of all, things in the movement change very rapidly, therefore it is hard to keep current with the writings. Secondly, some of the writings are just predictions and usually based on the writer’s experiences.

Nevertheless, we must listen carefully to the Holy Spirit. So often people are either too far ahead or too far behind God that we miss Him completely. When we are inside the will of the God, it is the best feeling. In fact, it is like catching a wave in surfing (so I hear) and catching a gust of wind in sailing (I can testify).

I was encouraged by this book knowing that Reggie McNeal has more than 20+ years of experience, both as a pastor and a practitioner of church movements. Some of the things that McNeal shared grabbed my attention. He address six important realities in our generation:

1) The collapse of the church culture
2) The shift from church growth to kingdom growth
3) A new reformation: releasing God’s people
4) The return to spiritual formation
5) The shift from planning to preparation
6) The rise of apostolic leadership

A lot of times we think we are headed toward the future but in reality the future is headed toward us. Many of us hold to the view that the present makes sense only as we see it from the past. But the truth is that the present makes the most sense in light of the future. It is amazing to think that God creates history ahead of time… as McNeal said, “God always backcast. The future is always incipient in the present.” God begins with the end in mind.

One new movement is the “rise of apostolic leadership.” As a matter of fact, it is just going back to the original pattern that we see in the Book of Acts, when the early church was explosive and transformed their known world in their time. In Ephesians 4, it talks about 5 specific functions (roles) that are used to build up the church towards maturity – prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers and apostles (Eph 4:11). All of the roles have been reclaimed in our generation except the gift of apostleship. This is a new day.

I am pretty pumped to hear McNeal speak at our AMI Leadership Summit in New Jersey hosted by Acts Community Church and Remnant Presbyterian Church. Hopefully, we will hear a fresh voice to what God is already doing.

Thoughts on “Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

I finally finished Ed Stetzer’s book, “Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age.” It was a highly touted book by all the church planting gurus. In fact, many of them mentioned that this is the “one book” that needs to be on the shelf of every church planter.

This is a very practical book. It has many chapters on the “how to” of church planting. It is pretty humbling to know that there were a lot of things that we in HMCC did not do when we planted our first church in 1996. But then, it is reassuring to know that it was really a “God thing” because we did not follow a lot of the expert’s principles – not that we were rebellious, but it was more out of ignorance. We just had a vision to “transform lost people into Christ’s disciples who will transform the world.”

The section on the biblical basis of church planting was excellent. Stetzer perused through the book of Acts and followed the pattern of the 1st century model (Apostle Paul). It was very insightful. It is interesting that there seems to be a re-surfacing of the 1st century methods of church planting. Even though in some Christian circles the term “apostolic” is not used or even shunned, we are seeing more people accepting the validity of the function (role) of the “apostle” (Gk: apostolos = “one sent forth”). This is what we are trying to do in AMI (Acts Ministries International). It is our desire to recapture the “apostolic” model of missions and church planting in our generation.

Stetzer in one section of his book tried to talk about planting ethnic churches. I thought that it was a bit too general. Maybe because he is not from an ethnic minority, some of the principles and comments did not account for a lot of the various issues that ethnic communities face in a church plant. But one thing we are seeing all over the world is more multi-ethnic church plant starting up with ethnic leadership.

It was interesting that even though this book was published in 2003, it was a bit outdated. This shows that the spiritual landscape is constantly changing. Even the various practices of the post-modern generation are constantly changing. We have to remember that “biblical principles never change, but the methods do” and we have to be ready to flow with the Spirit.

Towards the end of the book, Stetzer FINALLY mentions the importance of prayer and the importance of the Holy Spirit leading every church plant. It would have been more encouraging to see the prayer mantle in the beginning as well as interwoven throughout the book. If there is anything that we need to keep on reminding ourselves with is that fact that without prayer, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5).