Are you the type of leader who would intentionally allow your ministry effectiveness to be undermined? Do you blindly pursue after emerging trends in ministry and in culture that might lead you into pitfalls? Would you consciously let your own thoughts and feelings influence and misguide you in your decision-making? Probably not.
When you give an account of your leadership to God, I’m sure you’ll want to have done everything you can to hear God say, “Well done!” Soliloquy No. 7 looks to the timeless wisdom of Solomon and exposes five areas where church leaders like you can become susceptible to developing flaws in your thinking that can make your ministry ineffective. You’ll discover how these mental mistakes affect the way you think when it comes to:
· Defining and achieving success in ministry
· Being missionally relevant and culturally relevant
· Making disciples and building ministries
· Responding to difficult people, situations, and seasons of ministry
· Deciding when to “go with the flow” or “go against the grain”
Soliloquy No. 7 takes a unique approach to exploring these and other issues, challenging you to contemplate, clarify, and recalibrate your thought process so you can lead with a new paradigm of thinking in ministry.
This book isn't full of facts and figures or content intending to tell you what to think. It is written in a way that gets you to think.
In the first seven chapters of Proverbs, Solomon admonishes his son with his wisdom in ten written soliloquies. A soliloquy is a type of extended speech that’s not given directly to another person; there’s no one around to hear the speech. It’s typically a speech that’s given to no one in particular, or delivered to an audience as if there’s no one around to hear the speech. These ten speeches that Solomon gave are full of life-giving commands.
In this book, I use the seventh of Solomon’s ten soliloquies—Soliloquy No. 7—found in Proverbs 4:20-27 to discover five life-giving lessons for church leaders. These lessons will help the church leader to focus on a few particularly important aspects of church leadership that, if ignored, can quietly erode the effectiveness of their lives and ministries over time. I feel that many leaders in the church today are ignoring sound thinking and wisdom to lead God’s Church, and are looking at the habits and practices of popular/successful church leaders of the day for how ministry should be conducted today without giving any thought to them. There are five fundamental principles that I feel need to be guarded and slippery slopes that need to be illuminated. If the five principles addressed in the book are neglected, forgotten, or mishandled, it can affect church leaders in unintended but harmful ways over the course of ministry.
Each of the five commands that are taken from Solomon’s speech are applied to church leadership. In order to engage the reader in the conversation, each of the five lessons contain stories that are based on a historical perspective. There are also references to Biblical stories that offer the reader an anchor from God’s Word on which to ground their thinking. To help the reader clarify their thinking, each chapter addresses a cognitive bias that could impair a church leader’s judgement.
When it comes to thinking, it takes time to make good decisions. If one took the time to consider every possible perspective that would help them to make objective and unbiased ones, they would take a long time to make a decision even in simple matters. So, our brain helps to speed things up. It simplifies the processing of information and creates mental shortcuts called heuristics. While these shortcuts help us to make decisions quicker, they often lead to flawed thought processes. These flawed thought processes are called cognitive biases.
To combat these flawed thought processes, they need to be exposed so that we can become aware of them. If we’re aware of them and understand how they can weaken our judgment and cause us to make poor decisions, there is a better chance that we can overcome their effect on our thinking. Armed with knowledge and a broadened perspective, we can be better prepared to combat our tendency to hurry through the decision-making process using heuristics and use wisdom instead.
This book brings awareness to some of the cognitive biases which we unconsciously use every day as these relate to the five topics being discussed. Soliloquy No. 7 will help the reader to challenge the heuristics they may have created and expand their arsenal of mental weaponry against these heuristics and cognitive biases. This will help the reader to think more clearly about how they will lead their church or ministry in these areas.
“In the day and age of people fighting to be right, McGough helps church leaders think. This book helped reinforce some of my ministry methodologies while also causing me to question others that may not be effective.” ~Chris Pruett, Director of Children’s Ministries, Minnesota District Council of the Assemblies of God.
“McGough challenges readers to examine the sources through which current church ministry is influenced. Rather than telling the reader how, the reader is challenged to ask ‘why?’” ~Rev. Gene Brown, Pastor.
“This book is a gift to us all!” ~Dr. Jim Bradford, Pastor & former General Secretary of the Assemblies of God
Interview published in The Ozarks Independent. Read the interview here.
Soliloquy No. 7 will be at the Christian Product Expo in Concord, NC February 13-15, 2022
Soliloquy No. 7 was at the Christian Product Expo in St. Charles, MO August 15-17, 2021
Soliloquy No. 7 was at the London Book Fair June 29-July 1, 2021
Chris McGough, MA, serves as a Professor on the faculty of the Theology & Global Church Ministries department at Evangel University where he teaches courses in youth ministry and church leadership. With over twenty-five years of full-time ministry experience, he has served on staff in both the church and on the university campus, ministering to young people in a pastoral role. A student of both biblical history and current culture, Chris is a lateral-thinking strategist whose aim is to prepare church leaders for a future of effective ministry. He enjoys life with his wife and two children in Springfield, MO.
Guarding Your Heart & the Survivor Bias
Avoiding Deceitful Communication & Enclothed Cognition
Fixating on Purpose & the Swimmer’s Body Illusion
Staying on the Path & the Black Swan Theory
Deviating from the Standard & the Conformity Bias
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