This blog is about helping people grow in life and ministry.
I should explain why I’m reviewing this book.
My Wife’s Job at PN
Char came home one day and told me she’d taken on a client: an online nutrition coaching company. I was horrified. I checked out the website and wasn’t reassured. It sounded as reputable as a snake oil sales outfit.
That company was Precision Nutrition. I soon discovered that they knew their stuff. Not only did they help people become healthier through sound nutrition and good coaching, but they ended up being a great employer. Char eventually joined their staff, and in the process lost 60 pounds.
We learned a lot from this company in so many areas. Some of that was personal. Some of it entered into my approach to discipleship. Char left the company four years ago, but I’ve always been grateful for everything we’ve learned from them.
Change Maker is written by John Berardi, co-founder of Precision Nutrition. It’s written for fitness professionals, but many of the lessons we learned from PN are in this book. You have to do a bit of work to transfer these lessons into other areas, but the effort is worth it.
Chapter 2, for instance, is about finding and using your purpose, values, and unique ability.
Chapter 4 is about coaching. I don’t think there’s a pastor alive who couldn’t benefit from the seven coaching principles he outlines in this chapter. This part of the book alone makes the entire book worth your time.
Chapter 5 is about business. Sounds irrelevant, except that the section on prioritization is some of the best advice I’ve read on how we use our time.
Chapter 6 has a helpful section on receiving feedback, which is a skill any pastor will have to learn.
I could go on. Like I say, this book isn’t written for people like me, but I don’t mind learning from what Berardi’s written. I’ve learned from him already through Char’s employment; now he’s opening his tool chest for us to pillage.
Berardi didn’t write this book for pastors, and I’m not sure how he’d feel about me recommending it. A positive review is a positive review, I guess.
There’s a danger in forging a pastoral theology from reading business books. It’s one of my beefs: we’ve adopted CEO as the model for pastoring, and business and leadership books and conferences as our authority. We must be shaped by Scripture. It defines our task; it must shape us and our ministries.
I wouldn’t recommend a book like this to a pastor who didn’t believe that and live in light of that belief.
That being said, we can and should learn wherever we can, and books like this have their place. They just shouldn’t be in the primary place of pastoral formation.
You’ve probably met a businessperson at some point and thought, “I could really learn from them!” Berardi is such a man. We’ve benefited from his practical wisdom, and you can too. You may have to adapt the lessons from this book, but it will be worth your effort.