Book Notes: It by Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel is the founding pastor of LifeChurch.tv, a multi-campus church with dozens of weekly services in thirteen locations, including an Internet campus. In his book, It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It [affiliate link], he describes that illusive something that some leaders and organizations have and others don’t. In a moment, I will tell you how to get a copy FREE.

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Yes, this is a book written by a pastor. It assumes that you are reading it in a ministry context. Nearly all of the illustrations and organizational profiles are from the church world. But don’t let that fool you. The principles Craig sets forth in this powerful little volume apply equally to leaders and organizations of all types, including for-profit businesses.

The book is an attempt to explain the phenomenon Craig calls “it.” In the first part of the book, he attempts to define it. He admits this is impossible. You can’t put it in a box. But we all know it when we see it. He also asks,

  • Why do some leaders and organizations have it and some don’t?
  • Why do some leaders and organizations have it and then lose it?
  • How do you get it if you don’t have it? How do you keep from losing it once you’ve got it?

Craig doesn’t provide a formula for developing it or for keeping it. This is not a how-to or self-help book.

In the second part of the book, Craig describes seven consistent qualities that are almost always present when it is present in a leader or organization:

  1. Vision: The ability to see it clearly. He describes what vision is, how to find it, and the importance of communicating it. He also explains three levels of vision buy-in, which I found particularly helpful. In this chapter, he also profiles Herb Cooper, pastor of People’s Church in Oklahoma City, OK.
  2. Focus: You know where it is not. Craig discusses the peril of trying to do everything. He draws upon Jim Collins “Hedgehog Concept” from his book Good to Great to demonstrate the importance of know what you can be the best in the world at. He also explains the importance of pruning not allowing yourself to get side-tracked by your opportunities. He profiles Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA.
  3. Camaraderie: You enjoy it with others. He talks about the power of a team who “does life” together. He talks about intimacy, integrity, celebration, and community. He explains “refrigerator rights,” when someone who is so trusted that they can walk into your home, open the refrigerator, and help themselves to a sandwich and a drink. They don’t have to ask. He profiles Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC.
  4. Innovation: You’ll do anything for it. He discusses the elements of break-through thinking and how one idea can change everything. He also explains the importance of embracing your limitations as the foundation for innovation rather than an excuse for not innovating. He encourages breaking the rules and how true innovation will inevitably offend some people. He profiles Tim Stevens, pastor of Granger Community Church in Granger, IN.
  5. Humility: You fail toward it. He uses John C. Maxwell’s concept of Failing Forward. He explains that failure is not an option and that failure is something that speeds us toward ultimate success—if we embrace it. He also writes about learning to fail gracefully, which is worth reading and re-reading. He profiles Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC.
  6. Outreach: You want others to have it. Organizations that have it have an outward focus. They are motivated by love toward outsiders. They are willing to sacrifice and confront the obstacles that stand between them and those they want to reach. He profiles Jud Wilhite, pastor of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV.
  7. Abundance: You share it. Actually, Craig calls this Kingdom-mindedness, but I want to put it in a larger, non-ministry context. Leaders and organizations that have it are not afraid to share it—even with their competitors. They are generous and give without any strings attached. This includes sharing their time, ideas, people, talent, buildings, and even their reputation. He profiles Dino Rizzo, pastor of Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, LA.

In the third part of the book, Craig explains how to determine whether or not you have it and what to do if you don’t. This is where he makes it very clear that there is no simple formula. Ultimately, God gives it and you can only have it if you pursue Him—not it. In the final chapter he explains how to keep it once you have it.

It by Craig Groeschel

I really found this book stimulating. In fact, I am going to ask my executive leadership team to read it before our strategic planning retreat next month. I think this is exactly the conversation we need to be having at this point in the life of our company.

Just to prove how valuable I think this book is, I am recommending it to you despite the fact that it was published by Zondervan, my company’s biggest competitor! However, they are practicing what Craig preaches by making 100 copies of It [affiliate link] available to my readers. To get a chance at snagging one, you must take the following three actions:

  1. Leave a comment below. Tell me why you want this book. Be creative. I really do read these comments and base my decisions on them.
  2. Fill out the special form. I have set up a separate contact form to make it convenient for you to provide your mailing address. Please do not put your shipping address in your comment. This will automatically disqualify you.
  3. Twitter a link to this post. You can do so automatically by clicking here. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can use Facebook. Yes, I know if more people read this, it will hurt your chances of getting a copy yourself. But the only incentive the publisher has to provide these books to giveaway is the free publicity that you and I collectively provide.

On Thursday, October 8, I will select 100 people, based solely on my arbitrary and subjective evaluation of their comments. If you are one of those selected, Lindsey Nobles on my team will notify you via email. If you don’t hear from her, you can assume you didn’t make the cut.

Question: Why do you want a copy of this book?
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