Reading Recommendations

A few weeks ago I sent a message to a number of my friends and colleagues saying,

As I prepare to return to full time ministry this coming 7/1, I have found myself wondering what I have missed out on in the world of churchy literature this last couple of years. So, I’m inviting your recommendations on things related to theology, church leadership, etc. What have you read or used as a resource in the last couple of years that you would recommend?

I have compiled their responses into the list below.  Several years ago I read Taylor’s Out of Bounds Church, but otherwise haven’t read anything on the list.  I am beginning with Slaughter’s, Unlearning Church as it was loaned to me when the recommendation was made.

  • Have you read any of the books below?
  • What are your favorites?
  • What others would you recommend?

A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, Edwin H. Freidman

Almost Christian, Kenda Creasy Dean

Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus, Michael Slaughter

Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times, Peter Steinke

Dinosaur Heart Transplants: Renewing Mainline Congregations, R. Robert Cueni

The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, Michael Watkins

Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church, Nelson Searcy & Jennifer Henson

I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church!, Paul Nixon

Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, Martin Linsky & Ronald A. Heifetz

Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Community, Elaine Heath

Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church, Reggie McNeal

The Mystic Way of Evangelism, Elaine Heath

OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook, Kenda Creasy Dean

The Out of Bounds Church, Steve Taylor

Pathway to Renewal: Practical Steps for Congregations, Daniel P. Smith & Mary K. Sellon

Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church, Michael W. Foss

Practicing Right Relationship, Mary K. Sellon and Daniel P. Smith

Reaching People Under 40 While Keeping People Over 60: Being Church for All Generations, Edward H. Hammett & James R. Pierce

Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples, Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger

Take the Next Step: Leading Lasting Change in the Church, Lovett Weems

Twelve Keys to an Effective Church: Strong Healthy Congregations Living in the Grace of God, Kennon L. Callahan

Unlearning Church, Michael Slaughter

Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship, Alan Hirsch and Debra Hirsch

Vital Signs: A Pathway to Congregational Wholeness, Dan R. Dick

You Only Have to Die: Leading Your Congregation to New Life, James A. Harnish



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5 responses to “Reading Recommendations

  1. DC

    Jeff, you better call me for some fiction titles when you finish that list!

    • Thanks, Diane. The first recommendation I received on facebook after posting this was a novel as well. I probably should interweave some good fiction into all of the “churchy” stuff. Feel free to share those recommendations!

  2. DC

    Here’s a few to get you started:
    Exile by R.N. Patterson
    Prayers for Sale – S. Dallas
    The Confessor – D. Silva (or any of this others)
    Ordinary Heroes – S. Turow
    Widow of the South – R. Hicks
    June Bug – C. Fabry
    Ape House – S. Gruen (also Water for Elephants)
    The Lost Symbol – D. Brown
    The Help – K. Stockett
    Sarah’s Key – T. de Rosnay
    To Kill a Mockingbird – L. Harper
    And for Hannah: Oh, the Places You Go – Dr. Seuss

  3. mira

    I thought of a few more great ones I’ve read in the past year or so: Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Take This Bread by Sara Miles. The latter is the story of a San Francisco woman raised as an atheist who is transformed by an experience taking communion and ends up starting a food pantry where food is distributed from the altar in that church. It’s all about food and communion with unexpected people and it’s awesome. It’s part of what moved us to start a monthly bilingual dinner gathering last year.

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