Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

There’s a danger in thinking that the only books useful for churches are the ones written by Christians about church. This point of view is incredibly short sighted. There are all kinds of books out there, written by non-Christians, about all kinds of things. Things that at first glance might have nothing to do with how to run a church. But when you think about it, there’s a lot we can learn from these seemingly unrelated books. I’m always keen to check out, for example, books about business. Books that explore how to organise people, how to run an organisation, how to promote yourself. These are things that are incredibly relevant for someone like me who is involved with running a church. I’m especially interested in books that chuck out the conventional wisdom and present an outside-of-the-box way of thinking. Rework is one of those books.

Rework is written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, who run a software company called 37signals. Over the years, they’ve taken a good hard look at how business is and should be run. And the answers they’ve come up with are surprising. And they work.

Have you ever been stuck in a meeting and thought it was a waste of time? According to Rework that’s because meetings are toxic. They chew up work hours and get very little done. This is one of many examples that they draw upon where doing things the way they’ve always been done is not helpful. Instead, the  authors challenge the reader to take a close look at how they run their business and question if that is the best way.

The book is written in small, bite size chunks. The idea is to put forward and idea and get you to think about it. What you won’t find here are detailed plans or solutions. I often found that I wanted a deeper exploration of the concepts raised. However, I found the book useful for the questions it raised, even if I was often wanting more.

This is a book that I will be pondering over further and working out what to apply to church. For example, the authors suggest that planning is actually guessing and should be treated as such. What affect will this have when I’m considering a 5 year plan for my ministry? Or creating a culture where people have a life outside of the workplace so that they become more efficient during work time. What affect will this have when my whole life is ministry, yet there are still times where I’m “off the clock”?

Rework has questioning how I do things. To me, that makes a successful book.

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About Joel A Moroney

Associate Minister at St Luke's Anglican Church, Liverpool (in the Sydney Diocese). A very strange man, but he usually has Pez, so that makes it okay.
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