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Why the book you gave him didn't change him

"Read this book. It'll help."


You can probably name books, articles, poems, lectures, interviews, or films that shaped you in a big way. But memory is a funny thing; when we think back on something that moved us emotionally or intellectually, we remember it changing our lives when it may have done nothing of the sort.

I know a woman who gushed about a seeing a play that she called "life-changing." Her sarcastic friend said (behind her back), "Name one thing in your life that changed as a result of watching that play: one thing you do now that you didn't do before or one thing you used to do that you don't do anymore."

Nevertheless, some content really does change our lives, and we often want others to experience the same change. This is especially true with the people we have (or want to have) some influence over: employees we're overseeing, volunteers we're leading, disciples we're making, friends we're comforting, children we're raising, spouses we're navigating life with.

So what do we do? We tell them they should read such-and-such a book. We may even buy it and give it to them, unsolicited, putting them in the awkward position of discerning whether they have to read it in order to maintain face in the relationship. (There are even Christians for whom Giving a Book functions as a "love language.")

They probably won't read it. But even if they do, it may not do anything to them as it did to us. And if they like it but it doesn't actually change them, they're even worse off—they aren't "doers of the word" but "hearers only" (Jas. 1:22). They may even have been inoculated to the power of the content so that they do little more than shrug if they hear it again.

What we tend to miss is that it wasn't the content alone that transformed us—even if that content was the Bible itself. Rather, what transformed us was:

  • good content

  • consumed in a moment of pertinent need

  • talked out in a personal relationship or group

  • practiced in new, deliberate actions

In the 8-minute video below, Mac Lake teaches how to deliver content to someone you are leading so that it results in genuine transformation in their lives. Mac says that he used to

study so hard, prepare incredible visuals, craft great stories and powerful principles. And then I would deliver my training. Here's what was frustrating . . . people would leave impressed with me, but not changed as leaders. I was delivering great leadership information but I wasn't seeing transformation.

Watch to learn what he learned. If you're leading people, this is advice you can apply immediately and forever.

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