• Leaders: Are Readers #7

Posted by: kidhelper on Thursday, March 24th, 2011


Going to three undergraduate schools and two graduate schools almost ruined my interest in reading. After a few years off from “required reading” assignments, I began to want to read for the pure joy of learning. However, it was “all or nothing” for a long time. I would read a lot or none at all. It was very irregular with no consistency.

My church sponsored a two-year discipleship program for men called Top Gun. I thought of myself as a leader, but I was challenged to be a leader who reads! So I decided as a minimal goal to read at least one page every day, which I managed to do. Then I realized with a little more effort, I could actually read a book a month or twelve books in a year. My wife, on the other hand, was already reading almost a book a week, or so I thought. I must confess that the longer the book, the longer it took. But I was reading. So I would attempt a shorter book next to maintain the goal, which actually worked. It did not matter, who’s counting? Just me! So I have been reading this way for over three years now. Here, I thought I would share some of the titles that caught my interest, with my annotated note attached. The more recent ones are at the top of the list. I will update new reads from the top, if you want to check back again. Maybe, this will help you.

The Shack, by William P. Young, Windblown Media, Los Angeles, CA, 2008, (248 pages). This book was recommended to me by several friends. I was greatly moved by the story and the implications will be for a long time. It is a story about a Christian man, whose daughter was abducted and murdered by a serial killer. The story, told by a friend, unravels clues to Missy’s death in an old abandoned cabin in the Oregon mountains. Four years later he receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to the shack for a weekend. Against his better judgement he returns and his life is changed forever. A significant work, I read it in one week and it has impacted my walk with God. I recommend it now, especially for those with great losses.

A Leader in the Making, by Joyce Meyer, Faith Words, 2002, (291 pages). This book covers essentials for being a leader after God’s own heart. Joyce Meyer alleges that more than giftedness and talent, leadership is about character or maturity, or with the fruit of the Spirit, and how we behave with our heart attitude. At first, I was expecting more about leadership principles, but rather I found that I needed some heart adjustment that was readily available here. I tended to read this book over a long period of time, months, so I let the impact the heart lessons sink in more that way. An easy read, however, the heart treatment needed some time to work into my life. I recommend this book, especially for new leaders.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, (the same author of Tipping Point), 2005, Little, Brown and Company, New York, Boston, (254 pages). This treatment on decision making that highlights the intuitive ability some possess to “thin slice” quickly a decision. This way of deciding is the opposite of thoughtful, studious analysis, and second-opinion decision-making. It is an interesting read. It gave me greater appreciation for skilled persons who can quickly, and often accurately, assess the issues involved in any decision “intuitively” in the “blink of an eye.”

The Five Minute New Testament, by Stephen Arterburn, writer of topical statements, Tyndale House, 1999 (578 pages) A one year, daily reading program of the entire New Testament, dated with topical comments before and after each passage. Excellent plan for consistent daily reading of the Bible. I finished the reading the New Testament every day for one whole year! A very helpful discipline for oneself. As each day passed, I found myself often reflecting upon the Scripture read that day.

Half Time, by Robert “Bob” Buford, Zondervan Publishers, 1994 (255 pgs) A challenging book that assists a person to develop a “game plan” for significance in the later half of one’s life. I found the book challenging and helpful for formulating a plan and a way of thinking about “significance,” rather than “success.” I have resolved to be more about “significance” during my later years of ministry based upon this work. I am more concerned about “impact” or “making a difference” now.

Winning the War Against Radical Islam, by Robert Morey, Christian Scholars Press, 2002 (240 pages). An insightful book that explains and exposes the origins and current beliefs of Islam. Further, it makes a case for how in to win the war against the radical terrorism of Islam. Not having much experience or exposure to the world of Islam, I found this volume insightful to prepare me for my Kid Mission to Pakistan in May, 2005.

The Third-Culture Kid Experience, by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken, Intercultural Press, 1999 (318 Pages) A helpful discourse that explains how children from multiple cultures internalize and idealized a composite “third culture” into their view of the world. An excellent resource for preparing to work cross culturally with American missionary kids in other countries. This was recommended for our preparation and ministry to missionary children in Pakistan. This volume really helped me to understand the cultural adjustments and issues faced by American missionary children when they return to the United States for college.

Under God, by Toby Mac and Michael Tait, Bethany House, 2004 (370 pages). This volume is a collection of historical incidents or accounts telling how men and women of faith forged our national heritage. It includes famous and little known individuals and their faith stories and their individual contributions to our society. Many of these incidents from our American history were unknown by me, and I would venture, many in our society. Plenty of blantant examples of prejudice and hatred among our countrymen. Ouch!

• Postmodern Children’s Ministry, by Ivy Beckwith, Zondervan Publishers, 2004 (165 pages). This book is written from an educator’s point of view and adds to the serious discussion to children’s ministry in the 21st century. Ivy argues that successful churches have opted for programs of “fun and games,” rather than the preferred “core” curriculum of “spiritual growth and development.” A very stimulating book, worthy of reading. I did not always find myself agreeing with her, especially about evangelism of children, obviously not an evangelist. It is however, required reading for a Talbot Seminary Class.

• Better Together – What On Earth Are We Here For? (Forty Days of Community) by Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Publishing, 2004 (238 pages). This is a forty-day study for small groups that includes devotionals on the “One Anothers” of the Bible with forty days of journaling pages to record thoughts. It is used with a group video taught by Rick Warren. This was a helpful series that helped our small group focus on ways to witness and make a difference in our community outreach. A number of outreach projects were formulated from this study.

• Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission, Roger Peterson, Gordon Aeschliman, R. Wayne Sneed, STEM Press, 2003 (283 pages). This classic work is about the God-Commanded Repetitive Deployment of Swift, Temporary Non-Professional Missionaries. I think it is the most comprehensive resource on short-term missions available. It defines, explains and sets a high standard for all short-term missions. It documents the many short-term missions in the Old and New Testament. This book changed the way I read about Missions in the Bible. The MASTM-Grid in Chapter 9 is the core contribution of the book. This resource has changed my understanding of short-term mission.

• Order of the Ancient, Karl Bastian. A great read for me, I really enjoyed the book and could not put it down. I read the whole book in one weekend. Children would love this book. Knowing the author helped, but it was a creative treatment. It is a good alternative to Harry Potter.

• Heart’s Desire, Luis Alva, self-published, 2005. This is a screen-play written by one of my students. It is a love story written for a drama/film treatment.

• Back to Jerusalem, Paul Hattaway, editor (chapters written by Brother Yun, Peter Xu Yongze, and Enoch Wang), 2003, Authentic Media, Waynesboro, GA, (151 pages). Previously, unknown to me, there has been a mission’s movement among House Churches of the Chinese Christians to continue to spread of the gospel westward towards Jerusalem. This work highlights the history, sacrifice and strategy involved in this vision of spreading the gospel to un-reached people and groups, especially along the “silk roads” of China towards Palestine. This book has made me more aware of cross-cultural mission strategies. The message of the great commission is still advancing westward.

• The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis & John Eldredge (210 pgs). A book about drawing closer to the heart of God. Excellent

• Wild at Heart by John Eldredge ( 217 pgs). Discovering the secret of a man’s soul. Insightful for me.

• Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (398 pgs) Church growth without compromising your message and mission. Another small group study book.

• Welcome All Wonders (a composer’s journey) by J.A.C. Redford (295 pgs). This is an autobiography of Mormon composer who became a Christian. It documents his faith story and how he had to work through his Mormon heritage.

• Tale of Three Kings (A study of Brokenness) by Gene Edwards (98 pgs)
A short, but classic work, a good read

• Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (355 pgs) It is a Pulitzer Prize winning Civil War novel about Gettysburg. Excellent preparation for visiting Gettysburg, which I read before going there.

• Mentoring by Walter Wright, Jr. (35 pgs) Lessons learned from Mentors and the Mentoring Process. Short, but very insightful treatment of his personal lessons.

• Stonewall Jackson by Bryon Farwell (532 pgs) It is a biography of the Civil War General Thomas J. Jackson. Many of my relatives fought with Stonewall Jackson. His troops loved him and many of my relatives were named Jackson. It was a recent insight and I wanted to know more about this great American Hero.

• Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer (564 pgs). It is a biographical novel of General George Washington, who crossed the Delaware River to win decisive battle at Trenton in the Revolutionary War. Somehow, I missed much of this detail from earlier history lessons in school on the Revolutionary War.

• Unquiet Mind, by Kay Redfield Jamison (223 pgs). A biographical memoir of moods and madness of bi-polar disorder, spoken from experience. This was helpful to understand those we know who have this disorder. It has been greatly misunderstood and this brings some clarity to this devastating malady. Many in our time have this problem.

• Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions by George Barna (137 pgs) This book describes why children should be your church’s #1 priority. Every leader of children should read this book. Wow! It is much quoted now among children’s leaders, and well should be. It will help a leader become more of an advocate for the work of children’s ministry. I recommend it.

• In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado (235 pgs) Your father always caught you, he still does. This was another small group study series. Great discussion and very helpful treatment of grace and how it practically works out in our lives.

• King of Cannibals: The Story of John G. Paton, by Jim Cromarty, (281 pages) Missionary Biography. I went to the New Hebrides Islands on a short-term mission trip in 2002. This place is now called the Islands for the Republic of Vanuatu. He was one of the first missionaries to work among this island people. Interesting how he handled such hardship in ministry.

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