By Warren Bird:
What’s on your summer reading list? Here are my recommendations for church leaders:
Renowned leadership consultant, Samuel R. Chand details the account of the construction of the Panama Canal, and draws parallels between it and successful leadership methodology.
An epiphany during a visit to the Panama Canal led to bold new insights on the life cycles of business or church organizations.
Is it possible for a local church to become so influential in its community that it becomes a life-giving agent for believers and non-believers? A resource that becomes the catalyst whereby abandoned buildings are repurposed, small businesses attracted, jobs created, crime reduced, justice progressed, health improved, and ultimately, the kingdom of God advanced in such a way that it impacts every corner of the community?
In Disruption: Repurposing the Church to Redeem the Community, Dr. Mark DeYmaz explains why such an outlook it is not only possible but essential for the church to gain credibility and relevance in the community it seeks to influence. Genuine transformation never occurs through maintaining the status quo. A Disruption is often the missing ingredient that moves the church from ineffective to radically transformative.
Acclaimed church leader, blogger, founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, Tony Morgan unpacks the lifecycle of a typical church, identifies characteristics of each phase, and provides practical next steps a church can take to move towards sustained health. The Unstuck Church is a call for honest an assessment of where your church sits on the lifecycle, and a challenge to move beyond it.
Life transformation happens best within the context of community, so if a church is going to be intentional about discipleship they have to develop on-ramps to small groups that reach people on the fringes and beyond. If we continue to offer small groups to the normal church attenders, a majority of the people who show up to church are never reached. Pastors, church staff and small group leaders are trying to figure out how to make small groups work in their church and they don’t know how. Small Groups For The Rest Of Us gives them practical, proven strategies on moving people from the fringes into biblically based communities.
The High-Definition Leader is an invitation of grace for churches and their leaders to grasp the ancient call of the early New Testament Church that crossed ethnic and socioeconomic barriers to create heavenly colonies of love, reconciliation, and unity on earth. In it, you will learn the theology and practices that will help you build a mission-shaped, multi-ethnic church.
Some churches grow rapidly, only to hit a ceiling. Other churches have experienced declining or static attendance — many of them for decades. Frustrated pastors and church leaders want growth methods that work, but without adding to pastoral fatigue. How to Break Growth Barriers argues that growth comes when effective leadership and lay-empowerment skills work hand in hand. This requires a shift of focus from the shepherd as the primary caregiver to shepherd as developer and coach of many caregivers. The authors show pastors how to communicate a vision for the future and then how to lead the congregation into the paradigms necessary for potentially limitless growth. The strategies found in the book are not only tried and true, but also taken from a biblical perspective of a “harvest” vision. They’re also newly updated to reflect our changing culture, including helpful charts and checklists for self-evaluation.
In this 2015 Readers’ Choice Award Winner, researchers and practitioners Ryan Hartwig and Warren Bird have documented how churches of various sizes and traditions throughout the United States have learned to thrive under healthy team leadership. Using actual church examples, they present their discoveries here, culminating in five disciplines that, if implemented, can enable your team to thrive. The result? A coaching tool for senior leadership teams that enables struggling teams to thrive, and resources for teams doing well to do their work even better.
What about my own reading list? Here are three titles I’m taking on my next vacation:
Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin
Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help by Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill, Dick Baggé, and Pat Miersma
Don’t Do This: Learning from the Screw-Ups of Youth Ministry Leaders by Len Kageler and Jonathan Hobbs
Leaders are readers because books stretch us to grow. Make time to read and learn, and let us know your thoughts about these books, plus your own book recommendations.