I’ve recently done some purging of books, including many of the wonderful – tongue in cheek – books I had the joy of purchasing and reading in seminary.
Many of these books, and their authors, meant well, but they no longer describe the post-post-modern, Great Recession, ever changing world as I see it out my window.
Because, let’s face it, most of the books you read, aren’t cutting it in today’s church. And, who needs more grow the church books?
I need books with real ideas, which actually work.
Because, every church/pastor/denomination is going through one right now. And, having a story, or way to understand all that movement, really, really helps. This is both an administration book and a pastoral care book.
2. Daring Greatly
Brown’s book is not theology, but it is the best practical theology book I have ever read. Her understanding of shame, which I read as sin, is second to none. Do yourself a favor and see what theology can be, when it is informed by social science and not dogma.
3. The Information: a history, a theory, a flood or Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
These two books are tied, in my mind, because they are both describing the same sorts of phenomena: big data, big money, and the need to make some sense of it all. Big data could easily become a stand in for God; our faith needs an answer. Glieck’s book is like Saint Thomas Aquinas. Flash Boys is more Martin Luther.
4. Motivational Interviewing
Here is the best tool for fostering and fermenting change in established congregations. Once you get past the talk about alcohol and drugs, you find a deep understanding of how to help people change. Should be required reading for all denominational officials.
5. Handling the Truth
Here is your preaching text. Sermons from on high no longer work. Meaning, we must take our stand in the midst of our own broken and battered lives. That’s handling the truth. Kephart’s book is like a workshop and seminar all rolled into one.
There you have it: vision, pastoral care, ethics, theology, and preaching.
I believe these are some of the ideas that a local church revival will be built upon.
What would you add?