Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands

Back in August I had the privilege to hear Nancy Ortberg speak for the first time at The Gifted to Lead Conference that she was co-hosting with Nancy Beach.  As Nancy O. spoke I found myself scribbling frantically trying to capture all the insightful nuggets she was sharing.  I usually appreciate people who speak fast (like me) but I was rather irritated because I wasn’t getting on paper all these word treasures.

But as it so happens, Nancy’s new book had just released and I raced to the conference store to purchase it.

UnLeashing the Power of Rubber Bands: Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership

I love this book!  The “non-linear” word in the title is key and quite appropriate.  Most leadership material you read is often written pretty systematically, concepts build upon one another and clear steps are directed.  This is not the case with Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands and it’s quite refreshing.

One of the things that I appreciated about Nancy, both in person and in writing, is her wit and candor.  There’s a bit of a sarcastic undertone throughout the book as she pokes fun of her own missteps as a leader.  Stylistically her work is very conversational and you feel as if you have become friends with the author through the stories she shares.  This book is more inspirational than intellectual, but don’t misunderstand that statement – Nancy is an extremely smart and gifted leader, she just opts to lead and guide us by inspiring rather than just intellectually arguing her points on effective leadership.

The actual subject matter of this book is also quite refreshing.  This quote from the introduction best sums up her approach:

“Great leadership is much more about creating a culture, and cultures transform people in much more profound ways than systems do.  Systems and processes should always support the vision, but they should never be the vision.”

Her focus is on the development of people, so instead of hearing about what you need to do to develop yourself as a leader, Nancy pushes you to breath into the lives you lead by:

  • naming someone’s giftedness
  • providing hope
  • inspiring vision
  • acknowledging reality
  • giving of yourself
  • allowing others to do it their way
  • paying attention
  • managing tensions
  • identifying defining moments

There are so many more nuggets that I would love to share but let me just encourage you to get the book! In fact I’m giving a copy away.

Just comment here and tell me who you are and who you lead and I’ll randomly draw to give a copy away!

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  • JudiFree.com October 3, 2008  

    YAY! I’m JudiFree!

    I lead and mentor a group of young women and co-lead a young team of musicians at Orchard Road Christian Center.

  • alex October 3, 2008  

    I LOVE This: Great leadership is much more about creating a culture…

    Dr. Sam Chand was here for a leadership conference and he spoke to the issue of culture in our churches – pretty awesome.

    Puttin’ this book on my ‘to read’ list. Thanks!

  • Rindy Walton October 3, 2008  

    I would love to read this book and winning it would definitely fit into my very limited church planter budget!!

    I am part of the leadership team of Walls Down Church http://wallsdownchurch.com , a new church plant set to launch in the Cincinnati area in January. Since there are only 2 of us (the lead pastor and myself) “on staff”, we’ve been doing everything and will be leading the teams and all who come through the doors!

    I heard Nancy O. speak at the Orange Conference in Atlanta and she was great!

  • Heidi October 3, 2008  

    I’m Heidi

    I’m the Impress director at New Life Church in El Cajon, CA
    I lead 45-50 volunteers, and currently designing a cafe house.

    My pastor has actually has charged us to read a new leadership book this fall, but like Rindy, my finances have been incredibly strapped. But I am waiting on God and it will happen.

  • Jason Gordon October 3, 2008  

    Jason Gordon
    Lead small group leaders at Connexion Christian Ministries, Lafayette, IN.

  • John Ireland October 3, 2008  

    hey, Jenni. i lead in two ways at my local church: every other week as part of the team that produces our weekend experiences and weekly as a life group leader. 🙂

    great stuff!

  • carolyn October 3, 2008  

    i’m carolyn…

    i’m the media director at rock church in wilmington, nc. my volunteer team of super hero techno geeks is 15 strong and growing at break neck speed. we’ve just started down the path of video production… hold on to your transistors… here we grow again.

    looks like a winner. been looking for a new book to add to my must read list. thanks for the tip!

  • Jenni Catron October 3, 2008  

    So fun to hear how you all lead!

  • Rebecca Moon October 3, 2008  

    Hi Jenni! My name is Rebecca Moon, and I do Worship Design & Production at The Vine, a church plant in Braselton, Georgia (about 40 miles North of Atlanta.) (www.connecttothevine.org) We launched Easter 2007, and I have about 25 volunteers who do everything from set-up/tear-down to computers & sound. I have another full-time job too, so things get kind of nuts sometimes, but I love what I do and can’t believe I get the chance to serve in this capacity.

    I just bought Gifted to Lead by Nancy Beach, and this book looks great as well! Have a great weekend.

  • Rebecca Moon October 3, 2008  

    Oh, I meant to ask you…what are your StrengthFinders strengths? You’ve mentioned Input a couple of times, (which I noticed because Input is my #1!) but what are the other 4? (out of curiosity…if you don’t mind) Thanks!

  • Marla Saunders October 3, 2008  

    I already have the book sitting on my massive “To Read” stack, which is threatening to rival the tower of Babel these days, despite my best efforts! So don’t put me in the drawing, but I wanted to chime in here anyway!

    I’m leading people who I didn’t even know were following! And I thought I was leading a few who aren’t following at all (teenagers…who can predict). Most recently I’ve been leading a team doing drug and alcohol rehab, and leading a team — some of the same team — doing house rehab.

    And next week I’m leading the way to Catalyst! Of course, only David is following but that’s another story altogether.

  • bahava October 3, 2008  

    Ooo, looks like an interesting book! Currently, I’m the Nursery Ministry Coordinator so I lead all the caregivers 🙂

  • Dwight October 4, 2008  

    It is my great priviledge to preach & teach at Liberty Rd. Community Church. Also, to touch for Jesus, the precious lives and families at funerals & weddings. All for the glory of God…
    It is all about Him…it is His story, and I am just a small part of it…

  • brandiandboys October 4, 2008  

    i lead our little boys!

    looks like a great book, i’ll have to check it out!

  • Larry Baxter October 4, 2008  

    Hi Jenni! I’m Larry Baxter, and I’m the Volunteer Ministries Coordinator at Calvary Baptist Church in West Lafayette, Indiana. That book looks extremely interesting and might help us as we’re kicking off a new Leadership Development program for folks involved in ministry here.

    Take care, and keep up the good posts 🙂 — Larry

  • Lisa October 4, 2008  

    I lead my familt

  • jan owen October 4, 2008  

    Hi, I am Jan. 🙂 you know me.
    I lead worship arts at The Brook in Madison, Alabama

  • Carrie G. October 6, 2008  


    I’m Carrie Graf and I’m a coordinator for our children’s ministry at FBC Smryna. I personally lead 2nd graders on Sunday mornings (along with all the small group leaders for our K-2 kids).