Great Books 2006
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
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
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.
The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church
In this provocative book, author, consultant, and church leadership developer Reggie McNeal debunks these and other old assumptions and provides an overall strategy to help church leaders move forward in an entirely different and much more effective way. McNeal identifies the six most important realities that church leaders must address including: recapturing the spirit of Christianity and replacing “church growth” with a wider vision of kingdom growth; developing disciples instead of church members; fostering the rise of a new apostolic leadership; focusing on spiritual formation rather than church programs; and shift, from prediction and planning to preparation for the challenges in an uncertain world.
McNeal contends that by changing the questions church leaders ask themselves about their congregations and their plans, they can frame the core issues and approach the future with new eyes, new purpose, and new ideas.
San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass, 2003. 151 pages.
The Power of Uniqueness: : Why You Can’t Be Anything You Want to Be
Arthur Miller with William Hendricks
Based on the idea that every person is endowed from birth with a unique pattern of competencies and motivations, or giftedness, this book describes your Motivated Abilities Pattern (MAP), which indicates your personal giftedness and encourages you to pursue your unique calling and live a purposeful life that is highly productive and richly satisfying. “You can be anything you want to be.” Don’t let that lie rob you of your energy and purpose in life! You may function adequately at a job, even forge an impressive career–but unless what you do is lit by an inner fire, you’re just getting by. Because the truth is, you were created with an indelible, highly personal pattern of innate giftedness and motivation. Arthur Miller calls it your Motivated Abilities Pattern, or MAP, and it’s nothing you learned.
It’s something you were born with, the thing that makes you tick and determines your successes and failures. In this revolutionary book, Miller invites you to explore concepts far different from anything you’ve ever read in a career development guide. Drawing on nearly 40 years’ experience analyzing the achievements of over 50,000 people, Miller uncovers a discovery about human nature that can literally change your life. If you feel frustrated and unmotivated by your present occupation–if you’ve spent months and even years wondering what to do with your life–this book can steer you in new directions that pack incredible returns.
Zondervan Publishing Company, 2002. 255 pages.
Elders and Leaders: God’s Plan for Leading the Church – A Biblical, Historical, and Cultural Perspective
Strong leadership in the church is exactly what God had in mind. However, very few people, Gene Getz believes, understand the biblical pattern for church leadership. He has written Elders and Leaders to unravel the mystery and alleviate the confusion surrounding this critical topic. In the first part of the book, Getz lays the historical and biblical groundwork for the position of elder. In the second part, he shares how he has applied or has seen these principles applied over the years.
“Several reviewers compare ‘Elders and Leaders’ by Gene Getz to another book on church eldership called ‘Biblical Eldership’ by Alexander Strauch. As with Strauch, Getz presents the biblical texts very well. He also includes writings of the early church fathers up to the 3rd century. What Getz does differently than Strauch is that he keeps the ‘pure text’ work to the front of the book so elders of all size and type churches can read this as ‘pure’ biblical exegesis. Later Getz draws conclusions which come from pastoring large, elder-led churches for over 3 decades” –Brad Smith
The World is Flat
Thomas L. Friedman
A timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents, powerfully illuminated by one of our most respected journalists.
When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, and they come to the chapter “Y2K to March 2004,” what will they say was the most crucial development? The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Iraq war? Or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world’s two biggest nations, giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization? And with this “flattening” of the globe, which requires us to run faster in order to stay in place, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner?
In this brilliant new book, the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman demystifies the brave new world for readers, allowing them to make sense of the often bewildering global scene unfolding before their eyes. With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt. The World Is Flat is the timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents, powerfully illuminated by one of our most respected journalists.
The Associate Pastor: Second Chair, Not Second Best
Like the second-chair position in an orchestra, a well-prepared associate pastor complements and harmonizes with the senior pastor’s ministry to create an exquisite symphony. Yet more often than not, we consider the position of “second fiddle” second rate. How long will we let the growing number of assistant and associate pastors struggle to recognize their significance within the church?
Martin Hawkins feels he is fulfilling his calling by faithfully serving in the role of associate pastor, and this book affirms the role of the assistant pastor as a God-honoring ministry worthy of a calling and lifetime of service.
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
A chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny.
From the bestselling author of Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird comes a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny.
With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. She shows us the myriad ways in which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.
Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church of the men she’s dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation.
Lamott has authored two bestselling works and has been a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
New York: Anchor Books, 2000. 288 pages.
Robert Lewis with Wayne Cordiero
Culture Shift, written for church leaders, ministers, pastors, ministry teams, and lay leaders, leads you through the process of identifying your church’s distinctive culture, gives you practical tools to change it from the inside-out, and provides steps to keep your new culture aligned with your church’s mission. Real transformation is not about working harder at what you’re already doing or even copying another church’s approach but about changing church culture at a foundational level.
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.” ―Donald Miller
In Donald Miller’s early years, he was vaguely familiar with a distant God. But when he came to know Jesus Christ, he pursued the Christian life with great zeal. Within a few years he had a successful ministry that ultimately left him feeling empty, burned out, and, once again, far away from God. In this intimate, soul-searching account, Miller describes his remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God.
For anyone wondering if the Christian faith is still relevant in a postmodern culture. For anyone thirsting for a genuine encounter with a God who is real. For anyone yearning for a renewed sense of passion in life.
Blue Like Jazz is a fresh and original perspective on life, love, and redemption.
Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003. 243 pages.
Shaped by God’s Heart
Discover the tools to create a new kind of church and move from merely surviving to thriving.
Drawing on an extensive two-year field study of 200 churches from a variety of denominations and geographic regions, Milfred Minatrea–a missiologist, urban strategist and practioner in minister–presents the best practices for re-energizing Christian spirituality in a congregational setting. He provides readers with the tools for assessing their congregation’s position on the continuum between maintenance and mission and for determining the actions that will move them toward becoming a missional community. He also outlines key strategies that successful churches have used to become relevant in a postmodern society without losing what is distinctly Christian in their spiritual practices. Milfred Minatrea (Irving, TX) is Director of the Missional Church Center for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
The Elephant in the Boardroom
Carolyn Weese & Russ Crabtree
Carolyn Weese and Russ Crabtree have done churches a great service in breaking the curious silence about pastoral transition, perhaps the most serious threat to churches in the less institutionalized twenty-first century world. Here you will find the reality-based principles that lead to strategic succession–Bob Buford, Leadership Network
“Carolyn Weese and Russ Crabtree have done churches a great service in breaking the curious silence about pastoral transition, perhaps the most serious threat to churches in the less institutionalized twenty-first century world. Here you will find the reality-based principles that lead to strategic succession” –Bob Buford, Leadership Network