I noticed that several of my favorite bloggers have been posting their favorite reads of the past year. So, since I read 75 or 80 books a year I thought I should be able to pick out a few that were worth the time:
Leadership and Self-Deception from the Arbinger Institute was published in 2002. My good friend Marc encouraged me to read this simple, but significant, book on leadership. It’s not about techniques or tricks but rather treating people well – with respect and dignity.
Great Leader, Great Teacher, Gary Bredfeldt. The tag line on the back says it well … The greatest leaders among us are the great teachers among us.
Mistake It Like a Man: An Imperfect Guy’s Guide to Romance, Kids, and Secret Service Motorcadesby Dave Meurer is a humorous look at some marriage stuff from a Christian perspective. I think I resemble him more than I might want to admit.
Why Men Hate Going to Church by Dave Murrow, is an interesting look at a the reasons that many men seem to find the church a less-than-compelling place to be. A bit heavy on psychological and sociological approaches but Murrow has some good points to make about the feminization of the church. I still have to believe that if the church would follow the Scriptures it would change things.
by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger tends towards techniques but the church issues they address are very real. I very much appreciated the first couple chapters and the diagnosis of “ministry schizophrenia”.
Ministry schizophrenia is not a clinical disease. You will not find it in a psychology book, but it is present in many churches. You have noticed it before, but maybe you did not diagnose it as ministry schizophrenia. It is plaguing the local church. It occurs when churches and church leaders are not sure who they are. They are not clear what their fundamental identity is. They run in a disjointed and frantic fashion.
It occurs most often when churches attempt to blend multiple church models into one. They do so with good intentions. Like Pastor Rush, church leaders are often encouraged to pick and choose the best from a variety of church models. The problem is that the philosophy behind each model varies, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways. Inevitably, the multiple ministry philosophies bump heads. And that is never pretty.
When ministry philosophies collide, schizophrenia happens. The church is unsure of who she is. Programs and ministries move in a multiplicity of directions. It seems as if there are multiple church personalities. No one really knows what to expect.
Ministry schizophrenia is not an environment conducive to spiritual transformation. People are pulled one way, then another. It is definitely not the picture Paul painted of the church, where the believers would be “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).
Hood is the first book in Stephen Lawhead’s new King Raven trilogy – an interesting re-telling of the Robin Hood legend. Lawhead is quite creative and a good story-teller.