Every summer I create a list of books I think you should read. Sometimes the books I include are strictly about small group ministry, discipleship or spiritual formation. Other times, the books I include may seem pretty far afield (innovation, design, leadership, or strategy). You’ll just have to trust me. I wouldn’t include a book I didn’t think would be added to your toolbox and contribute in a trajectory-altering way.
Here’s my 2014 summer reading list.
The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated by James Emery White. The dramatic rise of the demographic slice who check the box next to the word “none” on religious surveys has been noted and studied by Barna, LifeWay and others. James Emery White is an insightful observer of culture and culture shifts and the implications of this particular shift ought to be a front burner conversation for all of us.
Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever by Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton. This is a fascinating and eye-opening book. If you’ve been trying to figure out how to reach and connect the Millennial generation, this is a must read book. If you’re not thinking about this already…you better get started!
Based on original research, “the book reveals the eight attitudes shared by most Millennials, as well as the new rules for engaging them successfully.” I am a little more than halfway through the book and my copy is very marked up. Lots of insights that will help shape some new strategies.
Your Volunteers: From Come and See to Come and Serve by Chris Mavity. This is a very helpful little book that packs a big impact. Written by Chris Mavity, Executive Director of North Coast Training, Your Volunteers is a book you’re going to want to read right away and again and again. More to the point…you’re going to be passing this on to your staff and key volunteers because this book is a game changer.
Your Volunteers is short–just 84 pages in the Kindle version–but it is packed with great ideas!
You can read the rest of my review right here.
Transformational Groups: Creating a New Scorecard for Groups by Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger. This is an important book and if you’ve not yet read it, you need to spend some time with it this summer. My copy is pretty marked up after just one pass through the content. In addition to many spot on research insights, I came across a number of ideas that have made it into a number of discussions on our groups team.
This is an important book. If you are looking for practical help and powerful insights that will help you and your team advance the cause of connecting unconnected people and making disciples, you won’t want to miss Transformational Groups. I highly recommend it. You can read my full review right here.
Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg. I’ve been looking forward to this one for awhile now. Most of what John writes is on my reading list before it publishes. Soul Keeping is no exception. I read the first chapter online and can’t wait to get my hands on the copy that is in the mail.
Profoundly influenced by his relationship with Dallas Willard, John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping is sure to be one of the highlights of my summer. I loved this paragraph from the introduction:
“Dallas once wrote about a tiny child who crept into his father’s bedroom to sleep. In the dark, knowing his father was present was enough to take away his sense of aloneness. “Is your face turned toward me, Father?” he would ask. “yes,” his father replied. “My face is turned toward you.” only then could the child go to sleep.
Over the years I sought Dallas’s wisdom to help me understand the human soul, and in this book I will share what I have learned. But I did not really just want to know about any soul. I wanted to know that my soul is not alone. I wanted to know that a face is turned toward it.
That’s the journey we will take together.”
I’ll be posting a full review soon, but if you want to pick up a copy and read along, you can do that right here.