I always travel with a physical book since I’m not allowed to read on my iPad during take off and landing. Last weekend, I took The Eric Trap on my flight to Detroit. I was given an advance copy to read and review–so perfect timing! I was already on Chapter 4 before I boarded the plane because the book just drew me in. Not only is it a very easy read, but the story of Eric Newman just sucks you in because anyone in ministry can probably relate to the challenges and triumphs of Eric.
Let me back up a bit… I read Jim Wideman‘s Volunteers that Stick and Children’s Ministry Leadership about 6 years ago, and I’ve been endorsing his books in my own workshops for the past few years. I also follow Sam Luce and Kenny Conley‘s blogs pretty regularly. So naturally when these three guys collaborated on a book together, I was genuinely interested. Afterall, it seems like we can never have too many books on leadership on your shelf, right? (okay, I said that with a hint of sarcasm… but for reals, I was genuinely interested).
I have to admit that the premise of this book definitely had me intrigued–A Leadership Fable told through a fictional character, Eric Newman. As I read through Eric’s week, I initially thought, “whew, thank God I never had such bad experiences as Eric.” Although I never had the experience of confrontations with volunteers the way Eric had experienced, I realized that I had my share of very bad days in ministry that almost caused me to quit on several occasions. Just as Eric learned some lessons the hard way, I have too. Just as Eric was able to experience moments of joy and triumphs, I had those scattered to keep me going. Just as Eric had good people who spoke truth into his life, I did too. Soon, I realized that my ministry experience and life wasn’t too far-fetched from Eric’s.
As I read through Eric’s week and 5 things we all need to get right as leaders, I soon found myself questioning my own approach to my current ministry (I’ve been in my new position for 3 months now). Although this is my 18th years in KidMin, new position in a new church poses new challenges, and given my current position, 2 chapters really stood out to me: Chapter 2-Leadership Under Authority and Chapter 3-Activate Parental Leadership! I practically highlighted all of page 58 and 79-83! And I was driven to reflect on some questions from the book given my current ministry situation. My big take-aways include:
- What if I was the agent of change in my church?
- What if I put some of my dreams and vision temporarily on hold and decided to commit the next six months to truly serving my pastor in a humbling and sacrificial way?
- Family Ministry: INSPIRE, EQUIP, & SUPPORT!
- Parents not only need to know that they should lead their kids spiritually, but they need to know they can be successful at it. How can OUR CHURCH inspire, equip, and support the parents???
In addition, I truly appreciate “Your Eric Trap” at the end of each chapter that takes tangible and practical application approach. They have great questions to ponder upon and to put into action. I truly appreciated that this book is written by current practitioners who put into words a realistic picture of what being a leader in KidMin looks like. However, I think the big idea of leadership in this book applies to not only those in KidMin but ANYONE in ministry!
I had one thought as I was reading The Eric Trap–could there be a sequel? The Erin Trap? Some challenges of a single female in leadership position in KidMin? Something I’m just very aware of due to my life stage… just a thought…