A Review of Ronnie Floyd's "10 Things Every Minister Needs to Know"

by Terry Wilhite

At the start of every year in this column I like to take a look at a book that I believe can make a big difference in how we lead and communicate.  In the spotlight currently is Ronnie Floyd's new book, 10 Things Every Minister Needs to Know. Long-time readers will recall that I wrote about Brother Ronnie's blog, Between Sundays, last year and I still consider it the best pastor blog (Internet Web log) that I've ever seen. You should check it out at www.betweensundays.com. He's proven to me through his communications skills that he understands building relationships in the 21st Century.

As pastor of First Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas, and The Church at Pinnacle Hills, Pastor Floyd has more than 30 years experience from which to write. While the churches he serves are quite large, this is not a book written from "on-high," that is, from a "mega church" point-of-view. Any pastor can benefit from this book, whether he has a congregation of 50 or less, like Floyd did when he started out, or thousands, like he enjoys now.             

I figured out a long time ago that one of the best ways to grow as a manager, a leader, and a communicator is to find out the secrets of the successful. I want to do what they do, read the books they read, and hang out with the people they associate with. That's the essence of what you'll get with 10 Things Every Minister Needs to Know (2006, New Leaf Press). It is a glimpse inside the personal and pastoral life of Ronnie Floyd.

The chapter titles clearly tell what you'll glean from this book. Chapter one, "The Power of One Hour" explains the power of focus, which those of us in ministry cannot be reminded of enough. Chapter two explains, "Who You Are Is More Important than What You Do." Chapter Three reveals "Practice Determines Play." Chapter four is a poignant reminder that "Building Family Is More Important Than Building Ministry." Chapter five says "You're Not Thinking Big Enough." Chapter six is my favorite: "Not Every Hill Is Worth Dying on." Chapter seven, "Relationships Move Your Ministry." Chapter eight, "Decision-Making Is Not About You." Chapter nine, "Balance Draws Masses." And in conclusion, the book challenges ministers with "How to Believe God for Your Future."

The stories he tells are real, such as the one about a business meeting scrap over a new air conditioner that took place early in his pastorate. Out of that experience he says he learned that despite negativity, people do want to be led to the next level. However, Pastor Floyd says the greatest leadership lesson he's learned is that "not every hill is worth dying on."

"I think about the times I could have carried so many people along with me on the vision path if I had only been more patient and personal along the way," he writes. "In the name of urgency' or reaching,' we can at times hurry matters in a church when hurrying up is not an asset, but a liability."

This is not a "preachy" book but is reminiscent of a fireside chat that carries with it a warm cup of wise counsel and a side dish of stern warnings.

"If Satan cannot get you to do the wrong thing, he will get you to do the right thing in the wrong way," Floyd writes. "When you think you always have to be right, you will have to die on needless hills."

I particularly appreciate how Pastor Floyd stresses our need to pursue excellence, both personally and in church leadership. "Our motto should be, Excellence in all things and all things to the glory of God!'", writes Floyd. "Lazy preparation, sloppy attention to details, and mediocrity have cost many churches influence in the lives of people. Details win championships for teams. Details attended to during the week will result in details being tended to on Sundays."

One can read this book in a single setting, but it would be wise to take your time. 10 Things Every Minister Needs to Know is a great book to start out 2007, but it will be nourishment the whole year through.

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