One “dangerous dude” – John Bishop. John and the team at Living Hope Church are dangerous for good; dangerous for the gospel. I first met John about five years ago just after they accomplished the amazing feat of opening five campuses on one Sunday. Crazy? Perhaps, but birthed from the passion and vision of a leader that is willing to step boldly toward God's vision for the Church. Check out some of the reading and writing insights of John Bishop, author of Dangerous Church.
Why is reading important to you, and how do you find or make time to read books and blogs?
Reading is so important to leading. If I stop reading, I will eventually stop leading effectively. For me it isn't about finding time, but about making time. I always have two books I am constantly reading – usually one Christian book and one business or secular book. Both have always been important to me, and help me continually evaluate my ministry through new filters and concepts.
What books are you currently reading that you would recommend to our readers?
I have several books on the go at the moment, but two that I would highly recommend to leaders. The first is called In Search of Timothy: Discovering and Developing Greatness in Church Staff and Volunteers. It really is a great read, both deep in theology, and yet practical in reality. Any pastor or leader who wants to replicate themselves and see maximum potential from those whoare under their leadership will find this book helpful. The second book is Francis Chan's newest book Erasing Hell. It is a desperately important book in the wake of Rob Bell's book Love Wins. I actually got the book from Francis at a small gathering of leaders in Oregon. I heard his heart why he wrote the book and loved what I heard. It is gaining massive popularity in the evangelical world, and I hope it can help bring good theology back to people.
How do you make time to write books or blog?
For me writing has always been a passion, and it hasn't been until the recent success of Dangerous Church and the response from Pastors wanting to build their churches on a passion for reaching the lost, that I have decided to be more intentional in writing. I am currently working on a second book with Ruth Graham, and I believe if you are called and gifted to write you have to make it a priority. Blogging….let's save that question for a different interview….. I am blogging semi regularly at www.dangerouschurch.com specifically about reaching, evangelism, and cultural issues as related to reaching, etc.
What is the “big idea” of your latest book in a Leadership Network book series?
Less than 5% of churches in North America or seeing increased attendance because of people coming to Christ. Most churches that grow (which is staggeringly small) grow because of transfer growth. The big idea is we have to stop talking about reaching lost people and get better at it. It is incredibly simple and yet massively overlooked. The book is not a book about methods, it is the story of a church that was a “good” church and became a Gospel centric church. Is that simple enough?
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 forward by Rick Warren! No, just joking, but I would read the introduction. Originally that was slated to be the first chapter. If you had just time to read one thing, that would be it. I ask four hard questions that I myself had to ask to transition Living Hope from a good church to a dangerous church. Four questions that will cause you to redefine the bottom line, and reconnect with what matters MOST to the heart of God. It was only when I was willing to ask, and answer, these four questions with honesty and humility that God changed the direction of our church. Since that time, we have seen over 6500 people baptized in just 6 years. A dangerous church begins with a dangerous leader who aligns him or herself with the life changing, eternity altering message of Jesus Christ.
Stay tuned for next week's notes from Larry Osborne, author of Sticky Church.