CLERGY CORNER: My Top Ten of 2016

Posted on 12 January 2017 by LeslieM

On the evening of Oct. 21, 2009, the flight crew of Northwest Flight 188 accidentally lost radio contact with air traffic control and flew approximately 150 miles past their destination of Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP). Unfortunately for the pilots, besides losing their flight credentials, David Letterman, in response as to how this could happen, released the Top Ten Northwest Airlines pilot excuses. Having piloted under the Northwest colors myself, it pains me to admit that number seven —“Tired of that show-off Sullenberger getting all the attention”— gave me a chuckle.

It just so happens that Sullenberger, aka Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, also graced my list of the Top Ten resources in 2016 That Made Me a Better Person.

10. (Movie) God’s Not Dead 2. As a staff member with First Priority of South Florida, a non –profit organization operating under the Equal Access Act which “gives students the right to initiate and lead a Christian club on campus,” this movie reminded me that with nearly half a million students in the public middle and high schools of Southeast Florida — with statistics indicating that over 90 percent of these teens do not know Christ—one of the greatest mission fields is right in my own backyard.

9. (Podcast) Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. This series challenged me to think differently about the past, and while I may not always agree with everything Gladwell has to say, I’m reminded that empathy begins when I leave the island of self.

8. (Podcast) The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. One particular episode stirred me to consider that if EQUIP, our student ministry, disappeared, would it matter? Would anyone miss it? I was forced to reevaluate the culture I was creating and enact a strategy to ensure it was a culture of continual improvement through a clear mission and vision. This podcast required me to defend why EQUIP exists.

7. (Movie) Sully. I’m moved to tears when the bustle of New York City drops everything to rescue the 155 passengers and crew of US Air flight 1549 when the plane lands in the Hudson River. This movie reminds me that there is much good in this world, and, as the old cliché states, “Not all heroes wear capes.” Sometimes they just ride ferry boats to work.

6. (Book) From the Pen to the Palace: A Youth Ministry Evangelism and Discipleship Dtrategy for a Post-Christian Culture by Benjamin Kerns. Benjamin introduced me to a world where the prodigal son never returns. It’s a context I have to understand if I’m ever to reach a generation that’s always lived in the “pen” and has never experienced the “palace.”

5. (Book) Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull. The title says it all and it’s my favorite book about how teams should operate.

4. (Movie) I’m Not Ashamed. This true story crafted from the journals of Rachel Scott, who was killed for her faith during the 1999 Columbine shooting, reminds me why it’s important to live boldly for Christ.

3. (Podcast) The Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. Pastor Craig helped me to understand the importance of being a leader that communicates effectively. He also taught me how to embrace change and to accept nothing less than my God-given leadership capacity.

2. (Book) Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg. There is a reason Pastor Doug Sauder recommended this book to his entire staff, and why it’s my No. 2. This book helped me understand exactly what my soul is and how I can administer the proper “soul-care.”

1. (App) The YouVersion Bible App. Truthfully I could just say The Holy Bible — it is all we need. But what I love about the YouVersion Bible App are the reading plans that span every topic and situation imaginable. With this app you’ll never have to say, “I don’t know where to start.” It also includes multiple languages, translations and even audible versions. A truly transformative 2017 begins here in God’s Word.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@deerfieldfirst.com.

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