The 30 Day God Challenge is designed to help you incorporate spiritual habits, often referred to as spiritual disciplines, into your daily and weekly life.  For years world religions including Christianity have emphasized the importance of regular and consistent spiritual communion with God.  In today’s hustle and bustle world, finding God-time can be challenging, but for that reason it is also all the more crucial.

This book is not intended to be a “salvation” piece.  I do not go into the effectiveness of prayer, why attending church is important and the wonderful benefits of a giving life style.  This book is the step after.  You know God and you are doing some of the things listed in this book already, but you are ready to deepen that relationship and seek to have more of him in your everyday life.  You’re ready for the challenge.

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I like to fish, but I have never considered myself a real fisherman. I know the basics and I have stood on countless shores and in numerous boats trying my hand at catching these seemingly evasive creatures. So when my friend Lenard called and said he was coming to Iowa and wanted to fish, I knew I would need some help. You see, Lenard was a graduate of Tuskegee University in Alabama with degrees in Finance and Aerospace Engineering, but his mild demeanor and simple dress did not tell the full story. Lenard was a die-hard outdoorsman. He did not like fishing, he did not love fishing, he lived fishing. Given the choice of meeting the President of the United States of America or catching large mouth Bass, well…I would tell the President not to hold his breath.

I called my Brother-in-Law Judd. Judd was born and raised in rural Iowa. His high school graduating class was only 14 students and second grade and third grade combined only had 8. He lived near a good sized lake and like my friend Lenard, he too was a die-hard outdoorsman. I knew he would be the perfect tour guide for this trip. When we arrived at Judd’s farm, he had the boat ready to go and we decided to fish near his home. It was a beautiful morning and as we trollied into the open area of the lake we could see other boats getting into position for today’s catch.

The day started off slow and it wasn’t long before I realized just how little I knew about fishing. Lenard and Judd were talking reels and lines and bait and motors and depth finders and on and on. I tried to listen intently but I may as well had been watching an old Russian play in it’s original language. I couldn’t keep up. These guys were for real.

The first catch always comes as a surprise. Lenard had apparently been trying a few different things and finally found a winning combination. He told me and Judd what he discovered was working and Judd laughed and said let me try that. Sure enough, it worked. For the next 2 hours we would catch fish non-stop. I stopped counting at nearly 100 fish. As quick as we could get a baited hook in the water, another one of us was pulling a fish up. It became so ridiculous that other boats tried to ease into our area, assuming our position on the lake had something to do with our success.

After a while, I asked Lenard and Judd why we were having so much success. They talked about the color of the water, the time of day, why that particular bait, the flow and direction of water movement across the lake, the type of fish in the area and even the time of year we were fishing. I was amazed and humbled at the same time. The reason for their success was simple. They knew how to think just like a fish.

Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  Based on this scripture, Dr. Woods most recent workshop encourages the congregation to see their church through the eyes of the fish, i.e. the unchurched and those who have never experienced “church” at all. How can we more effectively reach the lost and how can we insure a pleasant experience from the parking lot to the restroom to the pews? How user friendly is your church? You might be surprised. Dr. Woods is available to come and speak with your leadership and/or congregation. Hit “Contact” and send him a message if you are interested.


This study is focused on how a pastor positions oneself at the onset of his new charge in order to better his or her chances of being a successful and fulfilled pastor. Bishop John Richard Bryant, Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and once pastor of a multi-thousand member church in Baltimore, Maryland, shared these words with me. When asked, “How do you continue to grow when you find yourself plateauing or hitting a glass ceiling?” he responded, “I had to constantly reinvent myself.” He did not say he reinvented the church, as many of us attempt to do. He said that we must reinvent ourselves. Though this study is written with a focus on the first year of ministry in an existing congregation, the principles and insights shared here can be informative, transformative and just as effective for any church leader who is at a place where they are ready to reinvent themself.

Coming into a new congregation can be unnerving, even for the experienced Pastor. In this book, Dr. Woods interviewed members and clergy alike seeking to better understand the mistakes pastors often make in the first year and how they can position themselves for longterm effectiveness and success. This book is available on in both hardcopy and Kindle Digital Download.

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