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Stilling the Storm

A book review
My personal takeaways:

In the conversation about conflict, Smith describes congregational resistance to change and utilizes Harvard leadership expert Ronald Heifetz’s metaphor that compares leadership to American football. “In a football game, the players don’t chase and tackle the quarterback because they dislike him. They do it because he’s carrying the football.” It’s a blessing to be reminded that resistance is not because you’re a leader but because you’re carrying the football.

What others had to say:

One of my professors, Rev. Howard Vanderwell, cautioned my class, “Not to put [this book] away as ‘something I read for seminary once.’ Keep it handy and make a vow now to read it again in four to five years, or at any point in which you enter a time of conflict. I can assure you, from my own experience, that one of the hazards of a time of conflict is that we become so bound up in it that we lose the big picture, and thus our objectivity. By rereading this book again you'll have the opportunity to look at your conflict-situation from the balcony with a little distance. Then we also are able to identify some of the things we're currently doing that are counterproductive instead of helpful.”

Twitter-worthy quotes:

“Worship is somewhat like the holiday dinner, when everyone in the family comes home.”

Smith quotes Alban Institute consultant Gil Rendle: “We have deep preferential language but shallow theological language.”

“See worship-space transitions not simply as building programs, but as theological adventures.”

Another book I would recommend on this topic:

Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry by Debra Rienstra and Ron Rienstra (Baker Academic)

Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence (MCS, Regent College) is an M.Div. student at Calvin Theological Seminary, a writer, a speaker, and a biblical storyteller. Find her at www.pathlightstories.com.


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