DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Something to Write About Books I Haven’t Read

Written by: on October 11, 2018


Wow, after getting home from Hong Kong this past Saturday evening, my first week back has been slammed! It is totally (my three-year-old grandson says that) my fault; I am trying to complete my final two theology courses (no big deal, only the Trinity and Race) of my MA in Theology at Fuller Houston along with this amazing LGP9 experience. Oh, I am also paid to take care of the finances, buildings, and human resources for our church (our new lead pastor is so awesome, he actually said he trusts me to take care of Glo, my graduate work, the church, and our movement’s coaching! He is so weird!).

While we were in Hong Kong, I was asked to serve our national Vineyard coaching team as the mentor coach coordinator for our coaching network.  I felt it was God’s call, so I said yes (it’s the typical Vineyard denominational opportunity, responsibility/authority without pay). I then promptly changed my doctoral focus to helping pastors develop adaptive leadership skills through coaching. Thus I can symbiotically resource and benefit my coaching team throughout the dissertation research process. What a gift from God!

Also in Hong Kong, some of you know we got the results of Glo’s biopsy back. Well, it looks like the “c” word is back again for the third time. For some odd reason, Glo and I can laugh and joke among ourselves as we begin the process of many visits and interactions with the Houston area medical community. Pray for us and laugh with us at the bounty of God’s amazing grace. What was it that Dr. Jason Clarke taught us in Hong Kong, that God will surprise us and that the work of God in and through us is incredibly messy and mysterious. That is we would not choose his choices! Again, amazingly in the midst of Glo’s current health challenges, we are expecting our second grandson any day, and this brings such joy to Glo. I am amazed at God’s grace along with being perplexed at his poor timing choices (hopefully you know by now that I believe sarcasm is one of the unrecorded spiritual gifts!)

Finally, before I get to the assigned resource for this blog, I truly am amazed at the diversity and depth of LGP9 community. You are all amazing leaders, and I can’t wait to see what God will teach me through all of you. I think you can tell I am becoming comfortable being myself among you, the “Niners”!

Well, to the assignment at hand, “How does one write something about books I haven’t read?” I did try to read the Bayard book and still don’t know if the book is intended for application or entertainment. I think the most helpful element I derived was to think of books within a system and how each book within the system relates to every other book.[1] Utilizing Bob Logan’s 5 R coaching model, one of the Rs describes how to help the coaching client by asking them, “Who can help you with this?” or perhaps better, “Who do you know who may know other resources that can help you?” The intent is to help the coaching client think of other people as an interconnected network of resources that can help inform them to open up possible solutions within their current dilemma. For example, we can see this network of people in operation when one is trying to broaden the net of possible vocational opportunities when one is looking to change one’s current employment status. It is a truism that who you know will always broaden and inform what you know.

As a fledgling researcher, I am beginning to look at books/authors as people who know people or perhaps better, resources who know resources (i.e., mining bibliographies for further resource possibilities). In so doing I have to learn to apply the various reading levels outlined in Adler and Doren with judicious discretion. Perhaps from a macro to a micro view, I must learn the art of first applying the second level of active reading, the inspectional or systematic skimming method. This level will help me process a critical mass of sources (perhaps well over one hundred candidates) down to a manageable volume for further processing. While resources may be discarded, perhaps the mining of the bibliographies will lead to other sources that will fit better within my dissertation research universe. “In building the dissertation plane as I fly,” I liken this to always returning to the posited research question which is the nexus of my research universe. By periodically stepping back from the trees to observe and examine the forest, I should be better able to stay on my working research track.

Perhaps then, I will apply the fourth level of reading, or the syntopical approach. Here I will need to place my sources concerning a common subject about one another. This level of reading seems to tie best into Bayard’s systemization of books and their authors. Where the source content lends itself to greater inclusion within my projected research, I will need to apply the first level of active or elementary reading. Here I will need to focus on what was said (or perhaps stated in the text). I would imagine this level of reading will come into play at key developmental turns in my research work. Finally, for reflection purposes, I will need to apply the third level of analytical reading (i.e., ruminating on the material.)[2] This analytical reading level is where I imagine I will need to stridently prove that the assembled arguments support my points and my case.

[1] Bayard, Pierre, How to Talk About Books You Haven’ Read (New York, NY: Bloombury, 2007), 10-11.

[2] Adler, Mortimer J. and Charles Van Doren, How To Read a Book: The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, rev.ed., (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014) 17-20.

About the Author


Harry Fritzenschaft

Harry is the Coordinator of Coaching for Multiply Vineyard (the church planting resource arm for Vineyard USA) and part-time pastor of business administration for the Vineyard Church of Houston. He is a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and is pursuing a DMin in Leadership and Global Perspective with a focus on internal coaching networks. Harry has been married to Gloria for almost forty-two years and has two grown children; Michelle, who is married to Brandon and has two sons (Caleb and Judah), and Mark, who is engaged to Cannus. He loves making new friends (living and dead) from different perspectives, watching college football with Mark, and helping global ministry leaders (especially church planters and pastors) accomplish their goals in fulfilling their call. He especially loves learning about and nurturing internal coaching networks.

16 responses to “Something to Write About Books I Haven’t Read”

  1. Mario Hood says:

    We will continue to pray for you and Glo! I second your whirlwind experience since returning to “normal” life and the diversity and greatness of the Niners.

    I believe yesterday (at least in America) it was Mental Health Awareness Day, and it has me thinking about all the pastors who may be dealing with issues but too afraid the ask for help (like most people). My question is, as you think about your coaching and flying the plane, are you planning on touching on this subjects? I know that coaching is not counseling, but I also know pastors would take coaching before going to counseling.

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      You raise and excellent question (but then all your questions are excellent!) Coaching can work hand-in-hand with counseling (some practices employ both therapists and coaches) as clients are coached towards counseling and then towards their goals that have been revealed in the midst of counseling. I wonder, perhaps pastors are more open to coaching than counseling. Best to you and your family and I look forward to seeing you next Monday! H

  2. mm Karen Rouggly says:

    Hi Harry! In this situation, I want to comment more on the first half, and more personal part of your post. I appreciate your vulnerability and the way you allow us to walk through this process with you. We are definitely praying for you and Gloria during this time. I am praying for the complete restoration of her body, and the renewing of her mind and spirit, as she seeks out the enjoyment life has to offer, like a new grandbaby! I am also praying for you, dear friend, as you are finishing a MA program and in the middle of this one, and taking on new and exciting things in our denominational context. While I was there, Sarita reminded me that the Lord has a vested interest in seeing my work completed because it’s the Lord’s work to begin with. Harry, as a fellow Vineyard-ite and sister, I have a vested interest in seeing your work completed and I pray in faith that Lord is going to move through our movement through it!

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      So kind and encouraging are your words! Like you, I appreciate the breadth and depth of our cohort’s lives and experiences. But I also appreciate our Vineyard tribe and regret I had little time to spend with you and get to know you and your story better. Thanks so much for passing on Serita’s prophetic insight. Yes, I truly believe our Triune God has called us to this time, to his purpose. You are a gift to him, your family, your church, and our Vineyard movement. I am excited to see what God will do through your doctoral research. Blessings and see you next Monday. H

  3. mm Tammy Dunahoo says:


    I can empathize with your season in life as I have many of the same type of challenges in my world. I had a moment in Hong Kong you may relate to, it was when our host at St. Stephens talked about the difference in the people there being “desperate” for God. That word has come up at various moments lately and I have been meditating on it. Yesterday, during time with a spiritual director I realized that all of the various pressures I am facing are placing me in a desperate place. If God doesn’t show up strong and give great grace, I’m toast! That brought profound peace and the ability to focus on the present and trust for the future. I will pray all the more for you and Glo.

    I appreciate your mining of Bayard and the systemic approach to books, research, and the correlation to Alder. As a good coach you are trained to be curious and ask probing questions. Sounds like you are poised for this kind of research. I look forward to learning more from you.

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      I really appreciate your wisdom and leadership. I love the diversity of our cohort but do feel a kinship to you and your movement and greatly treasure our Pentecostal roots. I pray the Holy Spirit’s overflowing presence in and through you in the days ahead, in the decisions that lie before you and require your engagement. Thanks so much for your prayers for Glo, they mean the world to me (I pray you and your family (including your mom) will also know peace in the transitions ahead.) I especially pray blessings on your husband’s developing coaching practice. For me, Bayard was a tough read and I could only make sense of it when coupled with Adler. I am becoming more excited and hopeful in structuring my research and doctoral focus. I appreciated our conversations and will certainly look into how coaching is blessing the Foursquare church movement. See you on Monday, H

  4. mm Mary Mims says:

    Harry, first of all I am praying for you and Glo, my partner in crime :-). I appreciated you combining and synthesizing the methods of Bayard and Alder. We have to use all of the techniques we can to get the job done and continue our ministry obligations. Data mining and citation searching is a good skill to learn and very important in research; you are using it wisely to make the best use of your time.

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      Thanks so much for being such a kind and fun shopping partner-in-crime for Glo! I think you were her favorite experience from the Hong Kong trip. Thanks so much for your affirming words in how I sought to combine elements of Bayard and Adler. Your strong skills are my weak ones and I appreciate your kind reinforcement of my attempts to structure my research. Blessings on you and yours and I look forward to seeing you on Monday, H

  5. mm Jenn Burnett says:

    Harry, you and Glo are so precious and dear to me! You both overflow with generosity and love and create space for me to be vulnerable and cared for. We commit to walking this journey with you my friend!
    As for the book, I loved your comment about whether we were meant to take the book for application or entertainment and I certainly felt that he was using entertainment to share some very applicable thoughts and practice. Many of his ideas I have encountered from different angles when looking at critical reading and analysis and would celebrate that he presented them in a much more enjoyable way! I also believe that given that he recognizes how much less often people are reading, it is more important to hold their attention with an entertaining component. Perhaps this will inform our dissertation writing! Looking forward to following your research as I certainly wish I had some coaching available in my current context! Blessings my friend!

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      So good to hear from you! What did you find most helpful about Bayard? How will you utilize his approach in structuring your research? If I had a bit more margin in my life currently, I would love to offer you a season of free coaching! Seriously, I will re-evaluate my available coaching capacity in January when I have some current coaching agreements coming to an end. I will check with you then and see if you have interest. Blessings on you and your family, I pray all goes well with your pastorate. H

  6. Digby Wilkinson says:

    Hi there Harry. Thanks for sharing the journey you and Glo have been through. A very good friend of mine was diagnosed with aggresive brain cancer while we were at the advance. He has been my spiritual director for many years. I visited him on my return and in the midst of dealing with family, friends and his own terminal illness he reminded me that his name is Andrew and he is a child of God, he is not a cancer sufferer – his identity is in Christ not in a diagnosis. I get the feeling you’re living in that same light. I will keep you both in my prayer.
    In terms of your reflection, I can understand that you wondered if Bayard had his tongue in his cheek while writing. That’s why I referred to it as a cheeky little book. However, after reading it, though I get where he’s coming from, I am of the view that to read the way he suggests it is imperative that a much deeper, reflective reading is required to build the inner library he writes about. Ironically, Bayard will be of use in mentoring. The ability to point people to helpful books that you have never read, will be important. You’ll be like the google map of resouces – thin on detail, but great on directions.

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      Thanks so much for your encouraging words! I am so sorry to hear about your friend Andrew, I pray healing for him and his family. Thanks for reminding me where Glo and I derive our identity, from the One who saved us and called us. You present a great angle on Bayard and my future research focus. That is, how to point those being coached to resources that I may not have read. I hadn’t thought of it that way, I wonder if that is why God uses you to speak to me like that. Blessings, Friend, and see you on Monday! H

  7. Hey Harry, I will continue to remember you and Glo as you go through some trying times ahead.

    I thought it was funny when you said that you “still don’t know if the book is intended for application or entertainment.” I wondered the same thing. But I think he was serious because I didn’t see any punchlines in the end. You already know what I think about Bayard, but kidding aside, I do like what he said about building for ourselves inner libraries. Some of this is deliberate and some unconscious. If I’d venture to guess, many of us are in the program because we want our inner libraries to take shape into something we can use to do our part in expanding God’s kingdom here on earth. I’m looking forward to your dissertation “taking flight.”

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      Thanks so much for words of encouragement and affirmation. I really think you are well named. You strike me as someone who has overcome much, is extremely bright and self-driven, and is passionate about expanding the kingdom. Thanks again for the admonishment to continue to build one’s inner library. I always appreciate your words and your insights, H

  8. mm John Muhanji says:

    My brother Harry, you will remain in our prayers over the situation. The Lord will do what we cannot imagine.

    I like the way yo make it fun as you ask us to join you as you laugh about the situation. That is a strong faith, my brother. I am encouraged by your courage. I am equally impressed by the way you have fully applied the principles of reading from Mortimer and Charles in the book “How to read a book.” You made Bayard book look so simple yet it’s not. Thank you for sharing this Harry.

  9. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    I appreciate you so much. You are my favorite corn farmer/Quaker preacher/theologian in western Kenya! Thank you for bringing your perspective and insight to our cohort and into my life. I look forward to what you will write and say, H

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