You’ve heard it said, “Leaders are readers.” I didn’t really believe that until about 6-7 years ago. I’ve always loved writing, and I didn’t mind reading, but I was usually reading in small, bite-sized chunks from magazines. After my first Willow Arts Conference in 2007, I really started reading. And since I bought a Kindle last year, I’ve been burning through books like crazy.

Since some of these books have been really good and quite helpful, I thought it might be fun to share with you what I’ve read this summer. You’ll note a wide variety of topics in this list; some are non-fiction, some are fiction. For a the last few years, I’ve only been reading non-fiction, leadership and growth type books. Those are great, but I’ve re-discovered the joy of reading a great fiction story just for fun. So, in no particular order, here’s what I read this summer:

I’ve mentioned this book in a previous post, and it was very encouraging for me to read. I was just talking about this book the other day with some friends, and started thinking of how we tend to compare ourselves as TDs to our colleagues in the church. When Kid’s ministry wants to value their volunteers, they throw a party. Makes sense, and works great. But if we try to do that, most of our folks won’t come because they don’t like big events. So we need to be more intentional about spending time with them in smaller groups where both they and we feel more comfortable. And know that this is OK. This is a great read for the introvert and extrovert alike. The better we understand each other, the better we can work together.

I can’t tell you how many times I found myself saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” while reading this book. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this book—no that’s not right—the entire book is gold. Here’s one of my several hundred (yes, hundreds) highlights:

But imagine what would happen if we actually organized and programmed in concert with the way God works?

If you don’t define what excellence looks like for your staff and volunteers, they will define it for themselves.

To seek and to save the lost, you must first capture their attention.

I could go on. But you should just buy the book and read it. The concepts in the book have re-shaped the way I think of doing church. It’s that good.

This book chronicles how Grainger Community Church went from a small struggling church to one of the most creative, fastest growing and innovative churches in the country. Then they started to loose their way and went through a pretty tough period of trying to figure out who they were. Through that struggle, they regained their vision and began to move forward with renewed passion and purpose. You can read this book on a flight from LA to Dallas, but it will take a lot longer than that to unpack all the concepts within.

While I’m not crazy about the title, it’s a great book. Basically, the book is about how to live an un-offended life. It’s really appropriate for us technical leaders, because we have a tendency to be offended a lot. Often the only time we hear anything about our work is when something goes wrong. If we let this stuff fester, it grows into a root of bitterness, and that can destroy our ministry, our families and our lives. This book has been amazingly helpful for me already, and I haven’t even worked all the way through yet. 

OK, so I didn’t think I read this many books this summer. This post is starting to get a bit long, so I’m going to break it up into two. Just add the books above to your Amazon wish list, then finish the order on Friday…

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