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Category: Book Reviews (page 1 of 14)

H3 Leadership Is the Best Book on Leadership I’ve Read in a Long Time

H3 LeadershipI don’t know how it will be for you, but H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle is a book I just about couldn’t put down! So good! The newest book from Brad Lomenick, is a great read and one I will come back to again and again.

Brad Lomenick is the former Executive Director and key Visionary of Catalyst for 12 years, helping to build it into a dynamic and world changing organization, a community of change makers. He is a leadership consultant, speaker, founder of BLINC, and author of The Catalyst Leader and H3 Leadership. He also has a great blog where he writes about leadership, the next generation, creativity, innovation, social media, teamwork, and personal growth.

H3 Leadership identifies 20 essential leadership habits organized into three distinct filters Lomenick calls “the 3 Hs”: Humble (Who am I?), Hungry (Where do I want to go?) and Hustle (How will I get there?).

I read my copy on a Kindle, but it is still highlighted and bookmarked throughout. I’m not surprised. Actually I noticed in the about this book section that 1413 passages had been highlighted 48956 times! Clearly…I am not the only one thinking this is a great read, packed with powerful insights into leadership.

H3 Leadership begins with a chapter zero that sets the tone for the book. Chapter zero tells the story of the end of Lomenick’s time with Catalyst and the sabbatical that produced the reflection that led to the book. More importantly, chapter zero introduces the idea that “leadership is more than hard work; it is habitual work” and that “the path to being a better leader is paved with the asphalt of the habits we develop.”

Each chapter covers one of the 20 essential leadership habits and every chapter is literally full of great personal stories, quotes and insights from world leaders past and present. Very readable (although I was constantly turning back a page or two to reread something I had just highlighted or bookmarked), I read the first section in one sitting. Couldn’t put it down!

Every chapter also includes a set of very practical takeaway practices, a set of practices that if built into habit will be life-changing. These form the basis for what could be (and should be) a set of powerful daily practices.

Honestly, I cannot recommend H3 Leadership highly enough! This is without a doubt the best book on leadership I’ve read in a long, long time. If you’ve not picked it up yet, stop what you are doing and get it right now. You will be very glad you did.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Take a Look at Max Anders’ Brave New Discipleship

brave new worldI spent some time with a new book from Max Anders that I think you’re going to want to know about. I really stumbled across it as I worked my way through a stack of books that had been submitted as part of Outreach Magazine’s resource of the year project. Hadn’t heard of the book. Was only vaguely familiar with the author, but was very impressed with Brave New Discipleship: Cultivating Scripture-Driven Christians in a Culture-Driven World.

The title is a reference to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in which “he imagined a very unpleasant future resulting not from everything being withheld from us, but from everything being made available to us, regardless of its value.” It is Anders’ observation that Huxley’s vision of the future is coming true and that “twentieth-century models of discipleship will not effectively translate widely into this Brave New World of twenty-first culture (from the introduction).”

In Brave New Discipleship Anders offers a set of 17 principles for discipling others. You can also “use the same principles to disciple yourself.” The principles are presented in short chapters and every chapter includes a set of exercises designed to “increase your memory, understanding, and application of the material in the chapter.”

The 17 principles include what Anders calls “the 7 marks of a complete Christian.” A few examples are, “a complete Christian worships God individually,” “a complete Christian worships God corporately,” and “a complete Christian impacts the world.”

Brave New Discipleship as a stand alone resource is definitely worth adding to your thinking about designing a discipleship pathway that works in the 21st century. There is also a video series that I’ve not seen or had an opportunity to review that might be worth taking a look at.

If you’re looking for resources that will help you build a discipleship pathway, I think you need to take a look at Brave New Discipleship. There are several ideas here that I know you will find helpful.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Add “The Irresistible Community” to Your Recommended List

irresisible communityI spent some time this week with a new book from one of small group ministry’s most important voices. The Irresistible Community: An Invitation to Life Together is the newest book from Bill Donahue, a popular conference speaker, prolific author and leadership consultant. Most importantly, Bill was “Director of Leader Development & Group Life for the Willow Creek Church & Association where he created leadership strategies and events for over 10,000 leaders on 6 continents in over 30 countries.”

The Irresistible Community finds its reference point and takes its cue from the story of the upper room “where Jesus will use some very common objects to communicate some very profound mysteries concerning the Kingdom of God.” The table, the towel and the truth turn out to be three essential ingredients of authentic community.

Each of the three essential ingredients (table, towel, and the truth) receive the full treatment with a tasty mix of engaging stories and extremely practical ideas for application and implementation. Bill’s breadth and depth of experience really lends itself to writing a book like this one. Definitely not a book to be skimmed, it really deserves a careful read and an eye for takeaways, applications and practices.

I am always a sucker for a compelling concept and I love one of the organizing ideas of this one. An extra bonus, each of the 12 chapters begin with an intriguing story told from the perspective of one of the 12 attendees at the supper in the upper room. I loved it!

The Irresistible Community is definitely a book that should be read by small group ministry point people, coaches and leaders. I wish there was an included set of discussion questions, but it would be a simple matter to develop a set for each chapter. There is so much here that begs to be discussed and applied.

I consider several of Bill’s earlier books to be required reading for small group pastors. The Irresistible Community joins the list of essential reads. This is a very good read. Savor it and then be sure and pass it on to your coaches and small group leaders.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Don’t Miss Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations that Will Help Your Church Grow

lasting impactI’ve been spending some time with a great new book from Carey Nieuwhof these last couple weeks. Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations that Will Help Your Church Grow is the newest book from Nieuwhof. With one of the most popular blogs, especially on the topic of reaching unchurched people, his is a familiar name for many of us.

There is a lot to really like about Lasting Impact. Framed around 7 conversations that would help any church to grow, every chapter skillfully develops both the need for the conversation and how to have it. There’s even a set of discussion questions at the end of every chapter.

The 7 conversations are:

  • Conversation #1. Why Are We Not Growing Faster?
  • Conversation #2. How Do We Respond as People Attend Church Less Often?
  • Conversation #3. Are Our Leaders Healthy . . . Really?
  • Conversation #4. What Keeps High-Capacity Leaders from Engaging Our Mission?
  • Conversation #5. Why are Young Adults Walking Away from Church?
  • Conversation #6. What Cultural Trends Are We Missing?
  • Conversation #7. What Are We Actually Willing to Change?

The book has the same feel as many of his most popular blog posts. It’s not a difficult read. In fact, the only difficulty is putting it down long enough to actually have the conversations! While a quick glance at the list of conversations may cause you to wonder if you could really have that conversation, it should also give you some hope that having that conversation may bring the change your congregation needs.

I also really liked the very practical nature of the content. Although these are conversations that are often reserved for off-site meetings facilitated by consultants with briefcases, they don’t have to be. I can definitely see leadership teams reading Lasting Impact and working through the conversations at their own pace.

I loved Lasting Impact and will be recommending it to many of my coaching and consulting clients. Whether you’re already familiar with Carey Nieuwhof or not, you’ll be glad you picked up a copy of this very practical and powerful book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Add The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership to the Must Read List

4 dimensionsSpent some time this week with The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership, the newest book from Jenni Catron. A leader who loves putting feet to vision,” she has served on the executive leadership teams of Menlo Church in Menlo Park, CA and Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. Prior to ministry leadership, she worked as Artist Development Director in the Christian music industry.

Whether you’re working to become a better leader or raise up more and better leaders, The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership is a book you’re going to want to spend some time with. In fact, it really is the kind of book you’re going to want to savor. As I’ve learned to do, the first thing I did when I open was take a look at the table of contents and then give the book a quick skim, stopping here and there to get a feel for the contents. Let me tell you, I came across a couple things that told me this was a book worth a careful read over many sessions.

The point of The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership is a journey “to unpack the four areas every leader must develop in order to lead extraordinarily.” The four areas are:

  • Lead with all your heart (relational leadership)
  • Lead with all your soul (spiritual leadership)
  • Lead with all your mind (managerial leadership)
  • Lead with all your strength (visionary leadership)

After a strong introduction laying the groundwork, Part Two of the book takes the reader through the four areas in a way that is both packed with deep insights and full of valuable takeaways. My copy is very marked up, underlined, starred, and dog-eared as page after page revealed another memorable insight or quote.

The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership is also very practical. Every chapter concludes with a thoughtful set of questions for reflection. I can definitely see using this book as required reading for our leadership development efforts.

I am naturally a little bit of a sucker for assessments, so when I noticed the book included one I looked forward to evaluating it for use with my team. After the first couple of questions I realized this assessment was written for me!

Part Three is all about putting extraordinary into practice. It’s one thing to learn about the four dimensions. It’s another thing entirely to “consistently live the life of an extraordinary leader.” This last section takes the reader quickly through a wise set of practices that will both help you put extraordinary into practice and help your team do it as well.

If you want to become an extraordinary leader and develop extraordinary leaders, The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership is an essential read. Please don’t miss it! I loved this book and I know you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Required Reading: Brimstone: The Art and Act of Holy Nonjudgement

brimstone

I’ve just finished a book I know you’re going to want to pick up. The latest from Hugh Halter, Brimstone: The Art and Act of Holy Nonjudgement picks up an important thread from his last book (Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth) and offers what turns out to be an essential read if you hope to reach real people who are far from God.

The idea at the heart of Brimstone is that Jesus “was the least judgmental person the world had ever met and that if 1 John 2:6 is serious, then everyone who claims to be a Christian must walk as Jesus walked.” Halter goes on to write that “this should make the Christian movement–the church–full of the least judgmental people the world has ever known.”

Brimstone begins with a look back at a question Halter posed on his blog “the day the story broke about the Christian bakery owners who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.”

“In a small town there is only one bakery.

Jesus is the baker.

Two gay men walk in and ask Him to bake a cake for their wedding.

Would Jesus bake the cake.”

A great question and one that generated over 4500 responses in the first hour. The responses were split down the middle and “almost every response contained an air of confidence, and often arrogance, as if it was unfathomable not to take the side of that dilemma.”

Brimstone, like Flesh, is not a difficult read. Halter’s writing is always engaging and peppered with personal stories from his own journey. Honestly, it is equally a challenging read in that I found myself and my own judgmental tendencies peeking out a number of  times. The bottom line though is that it is an important read and well worth a thoughtful and careful investment. If we want to truly follow Jesus we’ve got to learn to walk as He walked.

There is something about the way Halter works his way through our need to develop a nonjudgmental posture that lowers our defenses. He lays out the challenge very thoroughly but with a sensitivity that acknowledges his own struggles.

Brimstone is best read with a group. While there isn’t a study guide that accompanies it, every chapter concludes with a set of thought-provoking observations and questions that will easily form the basis for a powerful discussion.

I have to say I love this book and have already recommended it to many of my friends. If you’re serious about incarnational ministry, Brimstone might be required reading. Certainly, if we have any hope of sharing what we have with the men and women all around us, we need to learn to live the way Jesus lived. Brimstone will help us do that. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Add “Small Groups for the Rest of Us” to the Recommended List

small groups for the rest of usI spent some time with a new book from Chris Surratt you are definitely going to want to pick up. Small Groups for the Rest of Us is a great read and is packed with the great insights that only come from a seasoned practitioner accustomed to figuring out how to connect the people you aren’t already connecting and actually make disciples.

There are a number of things to really love about Small Groups for the Rest of Us. First, I love the fact that Chris has been there and done that. He’s a veteran who has wrestled honestly with how to connect the people who aren’t easy to connect. His season as small group pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville provided him with all the hands-on experience needed to keep tweaking the strategy until they began to have the results they were looking for.

Another very important thing to love about the book is that while it is easy to read, every chapter is packed with takeaways you will find very helpful. I’ve had the opportunity to study just about every book on small groups that has been published in the last 20 to 25 years and found some very wise perspectives and unique twists on ideas in Small Groups for the Rest of Us.

While “the book is not designed to be a how-to for doing small groups in your church,” the issues covered here are the ones all small group pastors find themselves trying to figure out. How to connect the people at the fringes, how to find the leaders you need, how to construct a system that truly makes disciples and how to figure out whether you need to just start over are all included. Small Groups for the Rest of Us doesn’t present a ready made template or plug-and-play system. Instead, it wisely walks the reader through the challenges at Cross Point and the thinking behind the strategies they adopted.

Finally, I like the way every chapter concludes with a set of questions that will make this a great book to read and study as a team. If your team is like mine, they’ll also come up with their own questions but this is a very good starter set.

I have a set of books I recommend every small group pastor should read and be familiar with. Small Groups for the Rest of Us is a very good addition to that list. I loved this book and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Add “Generational IQ” to Your Must Read List

generational iqI’ve spent some time with a new book from Haydn Shaw the last couple weeks. If you’re trying to reach Millennials, Generational IQ is a book you’re going to want to add to your stack. Shaw has researched and helped clients regarding generational differences for over twenty years. He is also the author of Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together  and FranklinCovey’s bestselling workshops Leading Across Generations and Working Across Generations.

Generational IQ is packed with great insights and well reasoned analysis of the research that most of us have been reading. At the same time, this is a very readable book and well-written. My copy is marked up, underlined, starred with several dogeared pages with ideas I don’t want to forget.

You’ll appreciate the way the book is organized. It begins with a section that teases out how when you were born shapes your relationship with God. A chapter each on Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials and covers what shaped each generation, their strengths and temptations. As a resource, this section is very helpful and will get a lot of use.

The middle section is where I spent the most time. These four chapters provide both insight and coaching into four of the concerns that many of us have about reaching (or parenting) Millennials.

  • “What do I say to friends who claim, ‘I’m spiritual but not religious'”?
  • When will my twentysomething move out of the basement?
  • How do I reach my twentysomething who is drifting away from God?
  • What do I do when my kid is putting off marriage but not sex?

Like the first section, I really like the way these chapters are organized. There is a well-reasoned analysis of the underlying issues but there is also some excellent coaching on how we ought to respond. I can definitely see Generational IQ as a resource that will get a lot of use by staff and key volunteers tasked with developing a strategy that will reach Millennials.

The third section provides several key insights from the church perspective. If you’re wondering why Millennials aren’t coming to your church or how to help the other three generations understand the issues that are barriers for them, you’ll want to read this section carefully. You’ll also want to put this book in the hands of your church’s leadership. These understandings should be shaping our responses.

Generational IQ is a very helpful read. I know I’ll come back to it repeatedly as we shape strategy and I’m confident you’ll feel the same way. I loved it and I know you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Add “Thanks for the Feedback” To Your Must-Read List

thanks for the feedbackIf you haven’t picked up Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, now is the time. In my mind, Sheila Heen gave one of the best talks at the most recent Global Leadership Summit, and it was based on the learnings found in this book.

As I listened to Heen’s talk at the Summit, I found myself again and again thinking, “This is actually a key to discipleship.” In the days since the conference I’ve become even more convinced that becoming a mature follower of Jesus has everything to do with learning to seek out feedback and receive it well.

While it doesn’t read like a research based book, it certainly is written from deep experience, the result of ten years of “working with businesses, nonprofits, governments, and families to determine what helps us learn and what gets in our way.”

Working my way through the book I discovered it is jam packed with insight and highly teachable and very practical skills. The practices and techniques presented in Thanks for the Feedback can easily be packaged and delivered as a series of skill-training breakouts or team development exercises.

The set up is very good, first recognizing and identifying the things that get in the way of hearing and benefitting from feedback. Learning about the three triggers (truth triggers, relationship triggers, and identity triggers) that block feedback is eye-opening and provides key insights, making the practices and techniques understandable and why-didn’t-I-think-of-this obvious.

Thanks for the Feedback is packed with great take-aways and very actionable. My copy is highlighted and bookmarked and I am already looking for opportunities to implement what I’ve learned here.

Whether you want to build a great team or organization or simply become a better disciple, you need to pick up a copy of Thanks for the Feedback. I believe this is a must-read book for all of us.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am also the Small Group Specialist for LifeWay. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Add The Power of Habit to Your Must-Read List

power of habitI first heard about The Power of Habit last December, while listening to the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast*. Intrigued, I ordered it immediately and began working my way through it. It’s not a new book. It was published in 2012 and has spent over 60 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list. But I have to tell you…this is a must-read. Whether you’re involved in discipleship, spiritual formation, or small group ministry, the principles and practices that are shared in The Power of Habit will make it into your thinking and the way you do what you do will probably be different because of what you learn.

Packed with true stories and “scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed,” it is both a page turner and a book that will frequently cause you to turn down page corners to be read again later. My copy is very marked up and dog-eared, starred and underlined, pages littered with notes in the margins.

As I read The Power of Habit I found myself thinking again and again, “how can we not introduce these principles and practices in the work we do making disciples?” If the keys to losing weight, exercising on a regular basis, and being more productive are found in understanding how habits work and harnessing this new science…why can’t we adapt the ideas to help make more and better disciples?

If you’re a skip to the end kind of person, the appendix is actually an easy-to-understand-and-implement reader’s guide to using these ideas. If you’re not a skip to the end kind of person, you’ll find The Power of Habit fascinating and full of potential for application. I loved it and am already working to integrate what I’ve learned in the discipleship work I am doing.

*You can hear Charles Duhigg talk about keystone habits and The Power of Habit right here on the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am also the Small Group Specialist for LifeWay. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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