Great Books 2006

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

Rob Bell

In Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell frees us to consider God beyond the picture someone else painted for us in order to find an authentic understanding of the Christian faith. God doesn’t have boundaries, and faith doesn’t have to be limited to what someone else has told us. God is alive. Faith is alive. Velvet Elvis helps us find our faith. And even if it doesn’t, it encourages us to keep looking. Faith doesn’t end with this book. But it just might begin.

Bell is a gritty, no-holds-barred pastor whose deepest concern is to see Christians living authentically. He argues that to do so we need to be able to understand Scripture rightly, because Scripture teaches us who we are in relation to God and each other and, when we understand that, we will live rightly–K. Steakley

Leading From the Second Chair: Serving Your Church, Fulfilling Your Role, and Realizing Your Dreams

Mike Bonem & Roger Patterson

This book will raise awareness of the need for strong leaders in secondary positions. It will describe the value they can bring to their organization and to primary leaders when they are serving at their full potential. It will reshape the way they view their role, with an emphasis on their own responsibility as leaders. It recognizes the unique challenges and frustrations of serving in a subordinate position and equips these leaders with the attitudes and skills that they will need to survive and thrive in this new paradigm. Because of the scarcity of resources for second chair leaders, particularly those in the church, this book will offer a practical way to improve the performance of any organization. Leading Congregational Change discussed the importance of a “vision community”–a diverse group of key members who discern and implement the vision for a congregation–to guide the transformation of a church. This work will extend the theme of an empowered leadership team as we explore how individual clergy and laity can lead effectively.

“If you are a second chair leader, are considering a second chair role, or work with a second chair leader, this book is a must read! Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson have done a superb job of defining the living paradoxes a second chair leader deals with day in and day out. Don’t consider a second chair role without reading this book first.” –Warren Schuh

Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens

Neil Cole

Churches have tried all kinds of ways to attract new and younger members – revised vision statements, hipper worship, contemporary music, livelier sermons, bigger and better auditoriums. But there are still so many people who aren’t being reached, who don’t want to come to church. And the truth is that attendance at church on Sundays does not necessarily transform lives; God’s presence in our hearts is what changes us. Leaders and laypeople everywhere are realizing that they need new and more powerful ways to help them spread God’s Word.

According to international church starter and pastor Neil Cole, if we want to connect with young people and those who are not coming to church, we must go where people congregate. Cole shows readers how to plant the seeds of the Kingdom of God in the places where life happens and where culture is formed – restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, parks, locker rooms, and neighborhoods. Organic Church offers a hands-on guide for demystifying this new model of church and shows the practical aspects of implementing it.

The Leadership Baton: An Intentional Strategy for Developing Leaders in Your Church

Rowland Forman, Jeff Jones & Bruce Miller

The demand for quality leaders constantly outstrips the supply. If you’re a pastor, team leader, staff member, or board member, you’re always challenged with a leadership shortage. But what can you do about it? More than you’ve ever imagined. The Leadership Baton equips you with a solution that’s time-proven and right at hand: church-based leadership development. More and more churches are adopting it, and no wonder—the principles that made the early church such a spiritual powerhouse are just as effective today. Leadership was never a matter of institutional learning or professional expertise. Rather, starting with Jesus and his apostles, it involved seasoned leaders passing the baton to ordinary people right within the local body of believers. That same approach can help ensure your own church is never at a loss for dependable men and women to enter the leadership race with wisdom, vision and passion.

Drawing on the field-tested expertise of the Center for Church Based Training, The Leadership Baton will help you get the leaders you need up and running, developing leadership qualities they can in turn hand off to other up-and-coming leaders. Part 1 casts a vision for church-based leadership training—not merely a program, but a leadership development culture based on biblical and historical foundations. Part 2 presents a whole-life approach to leadership development that is wisdom-based (through courses), relationship-based (through the church community), and personal (through mentoring). Part 3 describes a comprehensive plan for leadership development, then breaks it down to target the needs of governing boards, emerging leaders, pastoral staffs, and interns. With discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this book concludes with two appendices, including a self-inventory for church leaders to help them assess their personal strengths and weak areas that need development. Put the principles in The Leadership Baton to work with patience, and in time your church will never lack the right people at the right time to help it fulfill its kingdom mission.