If you know me at all you know that I love to read.  In fact I'm spending most of today in a coffee shop in Michigan doing a little pleasure reading, but my eyes are starting to get that hazy, triple-vision, you've been reading too long feeling so I thought I'd stop and write a quick post about what I've been reading lately.

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
I've always been impressed with the depth of Michael Lewis' books and this is a far more complex book than the movie lets on with its overly sentimental storyline. A great inside look at a unique story and the forces within the NFL that led to an opportunity of a lifetime for a young man named Michael Oher.  I'm reading this book in preparation for our upcoming "God at the Movies" series in July.

Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O'Dell
A great look inside the story of Brand New Church, and how God calls people to enter the most hopeless of situations to do his work. While it is estimated that 80% of the population of the United States now live in an urban setting, I lead a church that would be classified as "rural" and on a district largely made up of "rural" communities.  While this book is desperately in need of an editor, it is a great picture of what it takes to turn a church around in rural America.

Breaking the Missional Code by David Putman and Ed Stetzer
I've been meaning to pick this book up for a couple of years, and finally did on our vacation while we were on the road between Illinois and Maryland (did I mention I love my Kindle?).  Anyway, if you're looking for a book that will help you to answer the question, "how can our church act as missionaries in our local community?" this book is for you.  Putman and Stetzer push churches to move beyond church growth and church health principles into a more incarnational approach to ecclesiology.  A great read!

Exponential by Dave and John Ferguson
This is by far my favorite read of the last few weeks.  Dave and John have put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and shared the story of how God has begun an exponential movement through Community Christian Church and the New Thing Network. As a leader who desires to see the church reproduce leaders and locations/churches this book is like pouring gasoline on a campfire. I'm convinced that this book should be required reading for all pastors and lay leaders within the church (in fact it probably will be at BridgeWay).

Sticky Teams by Larry Osborn
Picked this up after meeting Larry at the Velocity Conference earlier this year.  We were in the middle of working through refining our process for leadership development and board structure and this book came at the perfect time.  If you've ever wondered how to work with a board, and maintain unity in the church this is a must read.

Taking Your Church to the Next Level by Gary McIntosh
I pretty much read anything that Gary McIntosh writes on church leadership and organization and if you're a pastor, you should too. A quick read with some great handles on how to manage church growth and keep from hindering the work of God in your community.

One Size Doesn't Fit All by Gary McIntosh
Another McIntosh book, and another one you should read. This one deals specifically with church size issues and how the church must change organizationally as the church grows.  If you've ever found your congregation stuck at an attendance plateau this is a must read.

Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic by Anne Jackson
This is Anne's first book, and is based on her own personal struggle with burnout in the church world. If you're a pastor or a lead volunteer who feels like doing the work of God is killing the work of God in you, pick this book up today!

Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro
Another book of pastoral burnout (don't worry I'm not burning out anytime soon...but reading about something before you get to it is usually a good idea). Wayne pastors a huge mega-church in Hawaii, and nearly left it all after a near burnout experience. This book is based on his experience of burnout and how he was able to refill his emotional and spiritual energy.  While I liked Anne's book a little better (she's a great writer) I'd recommend Wayne's book to anyone dealing with feelings of burnout, not just church leaders.

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
A great autobiography by an amazing leader. I picked this book up originally to familiarize myself with Mandela's life in preparation for our upcoming "God at the Movies" series, but I wish I'd read it long ago.  What a great book on leadership and forgiveness. Also a powerful reminder that the greatest leaders often struggle to lead themselves and their families.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath
I loved the Heath brother's first book "Made to Stick" (another must read), and was excited to read "Switch". Unfortunately, this book just didn't quite live up to my expectations, still a great book on leading change, but a little to anecdotal for my taste.

Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep it, How to Get it Back by Marshall Goldsmith
I enjoyed Goldsmith's book "What Got You Here Will Not Get You There" so I thought I'd pick up his newest book "Mojo". Again, this is a book that didn't quite live up to my expectations. A good book on personal satisfaction in life, but a little to self-helpish for my taste.

Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods by Mark Driscoll
While I'm not a reformed guy, so I've got to dump about 20% of what Driscoll says, I enjoyed reading his very basic approach to ecclesiology.  What I appreciate about Driscoll is his commitment to basing the praxis of the church in Scripture and mission.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
My dad introduced me to Tozer when I first became a Christian in 1995. I love Tozer and I hate Tozer.  I love him because he challenges me to continually evaluate the quality of my relationship with God and the condition of my heart...I hate Tozer because I usually don't like what I find. Because of this I try to read something by Tozer at least 1-2 times per year.  A classic book and must read.

Linchpin by Seth Godin
Simply put, not my favorite book by Seth Godin. Go read "The Dip".

The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
I'm about 50% through this book, while I've heard people rave about it, I just don't get too excited. I get that the story is as much about the older brother as the younger brother, and as much about God as it is about the sons, but I guess I'm just not that into you Timothy Keller...I know that's practically blasphemy today, but it's true.

So there you go...and I'm currently reading: Doctrine by Driscoll, Execution by Bossidy, The Forgotten God by Chan, The Longview by Parrot, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. 

So what are you reading?
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1 Response to 'Books I've Been Reading'

  1. Anne Jackson
    http://daleschaeffer.blogspot.com/2010/06/books-ive-been-reading.html?showComment=1275517974116#c1372001876861020382'> 17:32

    Thanks so much for reading and sharing! :)


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