It’s that time of year when my reading schedule quickens it’s pace. Normally I’ll read at least one book a month but in the 2 or 3 weeks of Summer I’ll probably read between 4-5 books. I think it’s important that you know what my spiritual diet looks like so here’s what’s on my list this Summer:
Church leadership: The Gospel-Driven Church: Uniting Church Growth Dreams with the Metrics of Grace by Jared Wilson
Many evangelical churches face the problem of the open “back door”—even as new people arrive, older members are leaving, looking for something else. Combined with this problem is the discipleship deficit, the difficult truth that most evangelicals are not reaching the unchurched at the rates they think they are. In fact, many of the metrics that we often “count” in the church to highlight success really don’t tell us the full story of a church’s spiritual state. Things like attendance, decisions, dollars, and experiences can tell us something about a church, but not everything.
To cultivate a spiritually healthy church we need a shift in our metrics—a “grace-shift” that prioritizes the work of God in the lives of people over numbers and dollars. Are people growing in their esteem for Jesus? Is there a dogged devotion to the Bible as the ultimate authority for life? Is there a growing interest in theology and doctrine? A discernible spirit of repentance? And perhaps most importantly, is there evident love for God and for our neighbors in the congregation?
Leading a church culture to shift from numerical success to the metrics of grace can be costly, but leaders who have conviction, courage, and commitment can lead while avoiding some of the landmines that often destroy churches. Wilson includes diagnostic questions that will help leaders measure—and lead team transparency in measuring as a group—the relative spiritual health of their church, as well as a practical prescriptive plan for implementing this metric-measuring strategy without becoming legalistic.
Most attractional church models can lean heavily on making changes to the weekend worship gatherings. And while some of these changes can be good, thriving grace-focused churches are driven by a commitment to the gospel, allowing the gospel to inform and shape the worship service and the various ministries of the church.
Book Club: Keeping the Heart by John Flavel
I’m part of a lovely little book club with some other sin our church and this is our latest read. This book is going to be a challenge – Flavel believes that Christians should be marked by their holiness, therefore matters of the heart are of the utmost importance in the Christian life.
AutoBiography: Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story by Christopher Yuan
Christopher is one of our guests at Creation Fest UK this year and I’ve wanted to read this book for a while. It’s his story – the story of an agnostic gay man had put his identity in his sexuality, who then become a Bible professor and put his identity in Christ alone,
Faith Strengthening: Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion by Rebecca McLaughlin
Although many people suggest that Christianity is declining, research indicates that it continues to be the world’s most popular worldview. But even so, the Christian faith includes many controversial beliefs that non-Christians find hard to accept. This book explores 12 issues that might cause someone to dismiss orthodox Christianity–issues such as the existence of suffering, the Bible’s teaching on gender and sexuality, the reality of heaven and hell, the authority of the Bible, and more. Showing how the best research from sociology, science, and psychology doesn’t disagree with but actually aligns with claims found in the Bible, these chapters help skeptics understand why these issues are signposts, rather than roadblocks, to faith in Christ.
Sermon help: Keeping the 10 Commandments by J.I. Packer
They’re often mistakenly considered God’s “rules”-his outdated list of do’s and don’ts that add up to a guilt-ridden, legalistic way of life. But as beloved author and Bible scholar J. I. Packer probes the purpose and true meaning of the Ten Commandments, you’ll discover that these precepts can aptly be called God’s blueprint for the best life possible. They contain the wisdom and priorities everyone needs for relational, spiritual, and societal blessing-and it’s all coming from a loving heavenly Father who wants the best for his children.
Not only does Packer deliver these truths in brief, readable segments, but he includes discussion questions and ideas for further study at the end of each chapter. This book will challenge you to view the commandments with new eyes and help you to understand-perhaps for the first time-the health, hope, and heritage you’re offered there
I’ll also be blogging my way through the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians – this will come with help from CreationFest speakers!
Use the comments box to share what books you are currently reading.