I am currently reading Axiom written by Bill Hybels. It is a good read filled with leadership proverbs. Most lessons are no more than 2-3 pages which makes it a great read for busy bivocational pastors. However, I would offer one caution. Hybels pastors a much larger church than you probably pastor, and some of his leadership advice would not work in your setting. He takes more of a CEO approach to ministry. For most of us serving in smaller churches, that approach will not work, and we would not get by doing some of the things he does. However, there is a lot of excellent advice in this book that a minister can use regardless of the size church he or she serves.
One chapter alone is worth the cost of the book. He talks about the temptation to beat the sheep when our ministry plans do not work out as we had planned. You know what he's talking about. How many times at pastor's gatherings do I hear pastors talking about the lack of commitment, the apathy, or the lack of spirituality most of their members exhibit! We schedule a revival and a disappointing number attends. A youth gathering is planned, and only two youth show up. We schedule a Vacation Bible School and struggle to find enough teachers and workers to pull it off. And the sheep beating begins.
Hybels admits that when some of his plans don't work out the way he hoped he often finds that it wasn't entirely the sheep's fault. Instead, in his more honest moments he finds that his idea wasn't well planned or promoted or perhaps there was not enough prayer that went into the event, or maybe the timing was wrong for that particular activity. Regardless of the cause, the reason some of our plans don't work as well as we would like is the fault of the planner and not the fault of the sheep. Hybels ends this brief lesson by saying, "If your sheep aren't responding the way you think they should, put down your stick and ask a few questions first." Good advice.