This week I have the privilege of chatting with Mel Lawrenz. Mel serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and is the director of The Brook Network. In addition, he is the author of eleven books, including I Want to Believe: Finding Your Way in an Age of Many Faiths, and Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement. Please join me for a few moments as I ask Mel, “What's on Your Mind?”
1. What big issues or concepts are you currently thinking about or working on?
“Spiritual influence” as a powerful way of thinking about Christian leadership today in any realm of work. The original meaning of “influence” (Latin, influentia) is something that flows in and causes changes, usually a force that is imperceptible or hidden. Influence is about the hidden forces that make visible results that have an enduring effect. It ties into the core spiritual realities believers know about because they understand the Creator of the universe to be the underlying power and influence behind all things good. Leaders who want to effect enduring change will take the time to understand the power and subtleties of influence. They are not content just to see things happen; they want to see people, organizations, movements, and even culture itself shaped in ways that last for a lifetime. Today leadership is so much more than the building of organizations. Leadership includes influencers in education, culture, the arts, community life, and much more. Be watching for The Influence Project.
2. What book are you reading right now and what are you learning from it?
Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson (at Bob Buford's suggestion). This is a sweeping analysis, asking why Western civilization has been dominant for the past 500 years, and why that may be eroding.
3. Other than the Bible, what book has been the most foundational for your ministry?
Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. A classic.
4. Where do you go to explore new ideas? What kind of environments inspire you?
That's easy. Ministering in other cultures around the world. Seeing Christian faith from the perspective of Majority World believers who have very few resources other than Christ, and so they know the value of his Lordship.
5. Just for fun: what’s your favorite coffeehouse beverage?
Double expresso. And then another.