Fun special event RIGHT NOW exclusively here on MTDB!

You can win one of 25 copies of Mark Batterson’s new book, Soul Print: Discovering Your Divine Destiny. All you have to do is be one of the first 25 people to leave a comment on this post with at least your email address in it. Multnomah Books will use your email address to get your address and send you a free advance copy of the book – well in advance no less, it doesn’t come out until January 18th, 2011. Enter now and instantly win!

In Soulprint, Mark pours the contagious energy he’s known for into helping you experience the joy of discovering who you are and the freedom of discovering who you’re not. The wonderful fact is that your uniqueness is God’s gift to you–and it’s also your gift to God.

A “self-help” book that puts God at the center rather than self, Soulprint encourages you to recognize and explore the moments of your life that determine your future. Along the way, you’ll find that you’re not just turning the pages of a book. You’re turning the pages of your remarkable, God-shaped, world-changing life.

UPDATE: It took just 26 seconds from the time I posted this and Twittered it for them all to go! Holy smokes – and thanks to everyone who stopped by!

JG

Congratulations to the winners of the Almighty Bible Contest last week – you left comments to win and 3 of you just did! Congrats to the following comments:


18. Greg Rhodes, 31. Jerry Varner, 78. Tpitty

Your Almighty Bible will be shipped this week!

JG



This week during HSM’s end of year meeting I encouraged my team to be better at conflict. Being the people-pleasing giant that I am … it doesn’t come naturally to me either. I’m OK with letting some things go or not saying the last 10% in an effort to make peace and keep friendships. The challenge is to rethink how avoiding conflict doesn’t help – in fact actually it hurts relationships. Here’s why a little dose of conflict might be good in our youth ministry culture:

Conflict allows people to grow
Observations and constructive criticism left unsaid is a missed opportunity for someone to grow. When you avoid conflict you marginalize someone’s growth and cap their leadership. Say the tough things so they keep getting better and as a team you become more effective. Not saying it is selfish, especially if it is done to preserve your position or status.

Conflict kills the undercurrent of negativity
The worst part about avoiding the tough conversations is that you’re still going to have the easy conversations with someone else about that person. Too much avoiding people and addressing problems leads to isolation, dysfunction and eventually loss. Keep the team happy in the long run by having a few painful days among the way. The long view of health will push you to push for it on a daily basis.

Conflict follows Jesus example
Jesus wasn’t afraid of conflict. Neither was Paul, Peter and other leaders of the early church. Conflict makes sure we stay on task, onboard with the vision and forces us to truly love and care for each other and the church.

It is never easy … when it is you’re probably broken. But it is a necessary part of leadership.

JG

I reviewed The Almighty Bible last week – they’ve given 3 copies of it to MTDB to giveaway! Sweetness. The first 100 commenters are eligible – I’ve picked out 3 numbers at random between 1-100, so enter by leaving a comment and if you win they’ll ship it to your door!

JG



This isn’t a normal book review for me but from time to time I divert from typical reading to check out something fresh. I was given a few copies of The Almighty Bible (physical copies, though the book has also been released as an app on the iPad and iPhone) to read over and see what I thought. To be honest, it was quite a bit better than I expected – especially since I’ve never really connected with the Anime Bible or the the Bible in graphic novel format.

The Almighty Bible pulls no punches and is honest with the Scripture it depicts and it delivers the first two books of the Bible with vivid art. The recommended age is 8-14 years old, and my 9-year old son will be getting this copy of the Bible tomorrow and I’m eager to see what he thinks. I enjoyed reading the Bible in this format, and as an adult/parent appreciated the attention to the accuracy of the translation as well as the presentation. If you’re looking for a different way to get younger students into the Bible, this might be something to check out, especially as a Christmas gift this holiday.

JG

I couldn’t be more excited to launch a new non-program for discipleship in our ministry we’re calling Grow on the Go (actually we’re revising and bringing this back from HSM past). We’re taking some simple small plastic bins from Target and dropping in some great biblical resources to help our small group leaders challenge students to take a spiritual step. To get a fuller understanding of how small groups are connected to spiritual growth and discipleship, maybe check out 5 Parts to a Typical Small Group Night or 6 Ways to Help Small Group Students Take a Spiritual Step.

So when a Life Group leader recognizes an opportunity to challenge a student to grow on their own, they have some tools right there (or in the trunk of their car) at their disposal. So what’s inside the bins? Glad you asked! We put 1 or 2 of the following resources in the mobile version of our Grow Booth:

I’m convinced that including a little bit of training on these tools at the beginning of the year and putting them in leader’s hands will make a big difference!

JG



In the process of finishing two books on the topic of Jesus. Here are a few thoughts:

The first, Jesus Manifesto:Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, is a challenging read simply exalting Jesus above everything else. They contend that a complete emphasis on Jesus would completely change the world – if we can introduce people to the real, life-changing Jesus, everything else will follow. Lifestyle will follow. Church growth will happen. Discipleship will happen. Simply teach Jesus. Not sure how much of it I’m ready to go after, but preaching and teaching Jesus has to be what the church is all about. Definitely lives up to its subtitle elevating Jesus to the highest place. Pretty academic read, you’ll want to break it into chunks and not speed read for sure.

The second book I’m tackling is Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross by Ryan Dobson and Christian Buckley, and it is a much more accessible read. It attempts to tackle the social Gospel and evangelism question, giving a brief history of the concept and conflict of the ideas of sharing Jesus. The first half of the book is written by the authors, the second is interviews with people in key churches and organizations that are attempting to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Good stuff, drives me to my current thinking – the Social Gospel must be both social (helping people) and Gospel (spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ)! There are many books on this subject, this one probably isn’t the most academic or comprehensive, but by far the most current.

JG

99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders

My new book with Doug Fields comes out this month – it just went up for pre-order! – just in time to get it into the hands of your small group leaders. Want to take a look inside – check out the first few pages for free in the widget above. Hope you’ll think about picking up a few copies for your small group volunteers this fall!

JG