7 Questions with Dr. Alan Holden
Name: Dr. Alan Holden
Current title: Pastor
Current organisation: Lake Saunders Baptist Church
Dr. Alan Holden is a graduate of Furman University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Luther Rice Seminary. He grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
He served churches in NY, KY, SC, GA, and FL for 35 years.
He currently lives in Central Florida.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
The greatest challenged I face is doing ministry with little to no resources. Yet, I also discover that God provides the resources just in time. Learning not to get frustrated or discouraged in these circumstances is difficult.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
God called me into the preaching ministry at age 16. Throughout college, I served in a different ministry internship each year. The first church I served as pastor was an inner-city church in Rochester, NY in 1988. Since then I served several churches, as well as a chaplain for Hospice, and 5 years as CEO of a local United Way chapter.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Mornings are my most productive times of the day.
I wake up at 6am and walk at 6:30 to 7:15. After breakfast, I start my day in the study (8am to 11am). I have an annual preaching plan that I follow. This saves a huge amount of time. I can always change the sermon plan.
At 11am I make my hospital and nursing home visits. At 1pm, I have lunch and a 20-minute nap. After my nap, I read and respond to emails, make phone calls, etc from 2pm to 4pm.
From 4 to 5pm, I have dinner with my wife.
6pm to 8pm, I read a book not related to Bible studies or ministry, usually, business productivity and novels.
At 8pm I watch a movie and go to bed at 9 pm.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and Freedom to Focus by Michael Hyatt are the two most influencial books on me. They taught me how to stay focused and work on the tasks that generate 80% of rewards, and leave the 20% to someone else.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Plan my sermons annually, with topics, titles, and Scripture references. This ensures a balanced preaching plan. Also do annual planning of goals. Break down goals into quarterly milestones, monthly milestones, and weekly and daily goals.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
I teach volunteers to recruit, train, and shadow their assistants. This multiplies the work substantially. Let the people do the work. I teach them how; they do the work of the ministry.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
The most rewarding aspect of ministry is watching children grow in the faith and become church leaders. It is very encouraging hearing them use phrases and lessons I taught them.