Pioneer – that's Larry Osborne. When I think of the pioneers of yesteryear I think of individuals that were willing to venture into the unknown while at the same time being fully aware of the realities of each step of the journey. They were high risk leaders with real life sensabilities. That's Larry Osborne. I first met Larry about 8-9 years ago as Leadership Network was launching its first Leadership Community for Multisite Churches. His pioneering work in the development of video venues was, and is, shaping a significant stream of the multisite movement. In his book, Sticky Church, Larry tells the story of the DNA of his church, Northcoast Church in Vista, CA. In this interview, Larry talks about reading and writing. Enjoy!
Why is reading important to you, and how do you find or make time to read books and blogs.
Reading has always been important to me. I grew up loving to read. I used to tell my kids, “If you can read, you can do anything.” I really believe that.
I find that reading opens up a plethora of mentors that I would otherwise never be able to access. Better yet, I can glean from their knowledge at my own pace and on my own schedule. How amazing is that?
Reading also helps me stay abreast of the ever-changing culture I minister in. It helps me understand the workplace and professions that my people toil in. It challenges me spiritually. And finally, it enables me to get outside the boundaries of my own tribe, education, and experiences.
Frankly, finding time to read has seldom been a problem. Putting a good book or journal down to get on with the task at hand is far tougher. Most of my reading takes place in the morning (I don’t do breakfast meetings for that reason). I also tend to read in the evening as a way to wind down.
I love browsing on the Internet. As a kid, I loved libraries, fascinated by all the knowledge contained on the shelves but totally intimidated and unsure as to how to access it all. Thanks to Google, that is no longer a problem.
What books are you currently reading that you would recommend to our readers?
How do you make time to write books or blog?
I write to a deadline. I am one of those rare writers who doesn’t particularly enjoy the act of writing. I’ve never kept up on a journal more than a week or two. I much prefer having written to actually writing.
But having said that, I love to help people and empower leaders. Writing seems to be the best way to leverage the information and insights God has given me. So I write; usually 4-5 days a week for 2-3 hours per day with early morning and evening the most productive time.
I also currently have the advantage of an empty nest. I took a 13 year break from writing between my second and third book because I felt convicted that I needed to focus my attention on North Coast Church and my three kids. Once all the kids were in college, I took back evenings and weekends as my own and started writing again instead of heading off to an endless parade of their school, church, and athletic events.
By the way. It was a great decision. I have some books that will never be written, but I also have three grown kids who love Jesus, love the local church, and think Dad being a pastor is a cool gig.
What is the “big idea” of your latest book in the Leadership Network book series?
Sticky Church is a simple plea to focus on slamming the back door shut instead of always trying to open the front door wider. It’s not a book about growing a bigger church. It’s a book about growing a healthier church – one where people stick around long enough that we can fulfill the second half of the Great Commission; teaching them to obey everything that Jesus taught us.
Sticky Teams is the corollary to that. It’s designed to show how to build the type of team that can lead a healthy and sticky church. It focuses on removing the landmines that sabotage relationships on a board, staff, and within a congregation.
If leaders only had the time right now to read one chapter of your book, which one would you recommend…and why?
I would point to the first chapter of Sticky Church because it’s there that I explain why this too often neglected concept is so important if we want to truly fulfill the Great Commission.
I would point to the eighth chapter of Sticky Teams (Making Room At The Top: Why Young Eagles Don’t Stay) as a chapter that nearly every church leadership team I’ve been around could benefit from. God is generous. There is no shortage of young eagles. But there is a huge lack of understanding of how to groom, empower, and release them for ministry. The lessons and principles in that chapter can make a big difference for the future of any local church ministry.
Stay tuned next week for an inside view on reading and writing with Alan Hirsch, co-author of On the Verge.