I recently asked Reggie McNeal, Missional Leadership Specialist at Leadership Network to answer a few questions regarding his reading and writing. His third book, Missional Communities: The Rise of the Post-Congregational Church, was released a few months ago as part of the trilogy exploring the popular missional movement. Reggie has worn many hats over the years including best selling author, pastor, noted lecturer and development coach. This experience makes him an invaluable resource to churches all over the world.
1. Why is reading important to you, and how do you find or make time to read books and blogs?
Reading informs, inspires, and imaginates me. I'm certain that most of my thoughts are the result of something I've read somewhere. I use a lot of my travel time to read–airports, plane trips have lots of down times that are put to good use this way. I stack up magazines, books, and make a list of web stuff I need to get to.
2. What books are you currently reading that you would recommend to our readers?
-The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton. This book, by the Chairman of Gallup, is a great read for those interested in being engaged in more meaningful ways to make a difference in their communities. Just a wealth of information–not just opinion–and synthesis that makes sense.
-Coming Apart by Charles Murray. This is a culture study, specifically of white America over the past half-century. It reveals the culture divide that has occurred. Two huge implications involve marriage and religious engagement–both are plummeting among the white population that is high school grads or less, blue collar workers. Enormous implications for understanding/reaching our culture. Murray studied whites but says the same dynamic is at play among other ethnicities.
3. How do you make time to write books or blog?
I have to schedule this time like everything else. I used to look for whole days I could write. I have found this to be harder and harder to do, so I look for mornings or afternoons. Sometimes long flights allow a sufficient block of time. I need at least two hours, because it is necessary for me to “quiet” all the voices in my head clamoring for attention.
4. What is the “big idea” of your most recent book in a Leadership Network book series?
Missional Communities: The Rise of the Post-Congregational Church talks about how critical it is for the church to nurture new life forms that are going to be necessary for the gospel to be present in every crack and crevice of our culture. I give readers a half dozen looks at how missional communities are emerging to be part of this solution.
5. If leaders only had time right now to read one chapter of your book, which one would your recommend… and why?
I would read the first chapter–it describes the need for this new life form in the church and helps describe church leaders' challenges of going forward with a vibrant gospel witness in our culture.