Sunday, November 10, 2002

Some Good books I've read lately

I've read some good books in the last month or so: Steve Sjogren's The Perfectly Imperfect Church, Bill Hybel's Courageous Leadership, and Michael Slaughter's Unlearning Church.

I always like to read Steve Sjogren's stuff. Steve is the launching pastor of Vineyard Community Church. His efforts at "servant evangelism" and his willingness to share his ideas, have given a number of church leaders a simple way to express the love of Christ in their communities. A few years ago, when I was really having a tough time personally I heard Steve speak at a conference. His topic "Six things I learned when I almost died." I can't remember the six things right this second, but I do remember that I was impacted by the idea that we should do the tasks that God has put in front of us. For me, at that time, my ministry tasks were to be the defense attorney for the skating ministry at the Ranch, and Next-Wave web magazine. Steve's book is refreshingly simple and practical, a must read for church planters.

One of the things I read between the lines of Bill Hybels' book is that leading a megachurch and an association of churches can do some damage to a person's psyche and family life. I guess that's why Hybels writes about "courageous" leadership, the kind that comes with a price. For a guy who's mission in life has been "to turn atheists into missionaries", he has survived the journey long enough to have some important things to say on the subject of leadership.

I first heard Michael Slaughter at a seminar on breaking the 800 barrier in church growth about ten years ago. He is an engaging speaker. At this stage of his life and ministry he has set aside the discussion of church growth barriers to address the changes that face church leaders in the light of the postmodern cultural shift. I was challenged to renew some individual spiritual practices. I was challenged to think about what church might be like 10 years down the road.

What's interesting about each of these books is the vantage point of the authors. All "successful" pastors who have done well. All who have wisdom to share about the journey for church leaders. There is a lot to learn from these writers.

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