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Book Review: The Eric Trap

Book Review: The Eric Trap

It’s been a while since I read a book as quickly as I read The Eric Trap.  But, here’s the thing, I care about Eric Newman.  Having not read the book, you might be wondering who Eric Newman is and why I care about him.  The Eric Trap, a book written as a collaborative effort by Jim Wideman, Sam Luce & Kenny Conley, is told as a fable of sorts that walks the reader through a week in the life of Eric Newman, Children’s Pastor at New Hope Community Church.  Eric is your typical kids’ pastor and is a character I could quickly relate to.  As Eric faces the typical challenges those of us in ministry face each week (disgruntled volunteers, painful meetings, time away from our family, etc), it’s easy to see a little bit of ourselves in his thoughts and reactions.  Which leads me to the things I dig.

Things I dig

Not only is The Eric Trap a fable about a guy you learn to relate to, but it offers advice throughout for how those of us in children’s ministry can avoid the mistakes and situations that seem to drag Eric down.  I love a good story, but I’m also someone who really appreciates tangible next steps – The Eric Trap is able to pull off both, which I wasn’t expecting and was pleasantly surprised to discover.  The writing style of the book makes this an easy read and something I could pass off to a friend or intern without feeling like I’m asking them to read an encyclopedia.  Before I pass it off to them, however, I’m handing it over to my wife – with permission to call me out on areas where I’m falling into the Eric Trap.  I’d encourage others in ministry to do the same.

Things that Dribbled

My one concern about this book is how a female reader will relate to the narrative.  In children’s ministry, I recognize that most people who hold my position are women – and most people who should read this book are those who are in children’s ministry.  Having said that, I think that every lesson learned is one that applies to both men and women.  My concern, though, is whether or not a female reader will relate to Eric in the same way that I do.

Wrapping Up

I now have another book that will serve as mandatory reading for my staff and for those who volunteer on our team and may one day be called to professional ministry.  This book is the best of it’s kind.  I appreciate that it was developed by those who are serving in real-life, full time ministry.  The stories within it are relatable because they happen every week in the lives of those who serve in children’s ministry.  If you have a chance to get your hands on a copy, or you’re looking for a book to add to your wish list, this is a book worth asking for.

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Want to get your hands on a copy for free?

For reviewing this book, I’ve been given a copy that I can give away to a lucky reader of this blog!  All you have to do is comment on this post (by next Wednesday, 4/18) and tell me your favorite book on leadership and/or children’s ministry.  I’m always looking to expand my library – and so should you!  I’ll then randomly choose one commenter below who will receive a FREE copy of The Eric Trap.

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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Book Review, Kidmin, Resources

 

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How to: Plan a Ministry Calendar (#orange11 precon)

Here’s the thing I love about the way Kenny Conley teaches – he remembers what it’s like to be in your chair. He balances tangible take-aways with big picture ideas.  He also writes about this stuff on his blog… so I know I can take a look at it later – which is awesome!

(in fact you can check stuff from today out over at www.childrensministryonline.com/calendar)

I’m not going to totally steal his whole talk and write it up here… instead, I’m going to write about the moments that stood out to me.  So, these are notes for me that I’ll be chewing on as I fly back to Los Angeles this weekend… feel free to listen in.

Before your first Date

Before you calendar, you need to name your vision, mission and values.

There are days when I’m afraid to ask my team what our vision, mission and values are… because I’m not sure they’re always aligned (though, right now, we’re moving in great directions).  And, when we can’t name that, there’s no way our calendar will allign.  Duh.

2 Brilliant Ideas

Aside from calendar “theory” – Kenny talked through a couple HUGE tips and tricks to calendar stuff that I’m using from here on out.  Have you ever thought about color coding your calendar?  Me too!  However, I never thought of using color coded post-it notes during our team’s rough draft phase of our calendar.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to cross out or erase things on a calendar as we draft our year… post-its will change my life once again!

One more brilliant idea Kenny shared struck me a little more personally.  When Kenny suggested that we let our spouses and family see our ministry calendar while it’s still in the draft phase… my heart broke a little bit.  I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of this… but, five years into being married in ministry, I’ve never shown my wife our ministry calendar until it’s set.  I’m a jerk.  And, if I’ve been one, I’m willing to bet someone else out there could have done the same thing.  So, let’s make a deal… let’s get our family in the loop when it comes to planning our ministry calendar, ok?  If you’re married, your spouse is a big deal – you should treat them like their year matters.

Thanks, Kenny.  This was an awesome breakout.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Kidmin, Orange

 

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