Joe Miller is a college professor, church planter and devoted family man. In his book "More than Cake: 52 Meditations to Feed Your Teams" he writes out of a passion for helping other church planters and pastors avoid some of the challenges he has faced in ministry.
One issue many leaders must deal
with is our human tendency to not like certain kinds of people. Joe challenges
his readers to consider if , "Maybe, like Jonah, there are people in our own
lives whom we hate, and so we just don't bother to share Jesus." This is
unacceptable to God and if we hope to start effective churches, we must learn to
love even those we hate. When the entire leadership team learns to love those
they hate, churches can really begin to impact their
According to Joe, one of the reasons we struggle to love
others as we should is because "Christians have hurts, they have fears, they
have struggles, and yes, they have sin too." To illustrate how challenging sin
is to deal with, Joe tells this story:
Have you ever tried to sweep up
leaves when the wind was blowing in all directions? Just when I got one area
clean, another gust would come and bring in more leaves. As people walked by
they would laugh and say, "Give it up. Don't you know a lost cause when you see
it?" The answer, of course, is simple. Wait for the wind to stop, then clean up
the leaves. The problem with life; however, is that sin is part of our nature
and will not stop creating disasters. But there is hope for those who fear the
wind and leaves.
According to Joe, the way to overcome our sin is to
understand that "genuine faith knows that God will never fail, but I might. The
risk in following God is not that He will ever let me down, but that He may ask
me to let go." Most of us are not willing to let go so God can be in charge. If
we cannot let God be in charge, it will be hard for us to ever control our sin.
If leadership teams cannot get a grip on their own sinfulness, how will the rest
of the people in the church learn to deal with sin?
Joe also talks about
how "far too many people who are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the
perfect time, the perfect plan and the perfect promise of success before they
will get out and follow after Jesus." The best time to serve the Lord is right
now. There will seldom be a perfect set of circumstances, so we must just work
with what and who we have and trust God to do something big with it.
must make sure we keep Jesus in the center of all we do. Joe observes, "I see
lots of people who are passionate about politics and reform and compassion, but
where is Jesus? I apply the same question to my own vision for creating an arts
center in my community. What, if anything, in my actions will lead people to
salvation in Jesus Christ?" This is a challenging question. After all, we can
only consider servant evangelism effective if we actually do some evangelism
while we are serving.
Joe challenges his readers with 52 of these team
building meditations. At the end of each "meditation" is a list of 4 questions
the leadership team is to discuss. They include:
1. MEANING: What meaning
does this devotional have for you?
2. CONNECTION: As you think on this
meaning, what passage of Scripture has special significance? Why?
3. CALL TO
ACTION: What message does this devotional have for your team?
TOGETHER!: After you meet with your team, write the ending to each
a. "Based on the challenge of this devotional, my role in the
b. "Based on the challenge of this devotional, my vision for the
This book is easy to read. It challenges the reader to think
about how our human nature interacts with our leadership efforts and how we can
shape those efforts so we can be more effective leaders.