One of the ways I am growing in my role as Lead Pastor at Central is through practice. Week in and week out I learn and grow simply by doing. Another way I grow is through study. Study of God's Word as I prepare a sermon each week and by reading a number of books on various subjects related to my role. Here is a stack of books I plan on getting through in the coming months for various reasons:
The top of the stack includes a couple of the books I'm reading for The Exodus sermon series. Anthony Selvaggio's From Bondage To Liberty and The God Who Makes Himself Known (W. Ross Blackburn) are both excellent. Tony Merida's contribution to the Christ-Centered Exposition series: Exodus and Philip Graham Ryken's Exodus: Saved for God's Glory in the Preaching the Word commentary series are also wonderful.
The next number of books in the stack relate to our upcoming fall sermon series on God's design of male and female. What does the Bible say about masculinity and femininity? And how does that play out in marriage, singleness, parenting, and church ministry for example? How do we approach issues of divorce, homosexuality, and the rise of gender confusion? These books delve into all of this:
Strachan and Peacock's The Grand Design reveals through the Scriptures that the gospel frees us to behold the unity and distinctiveness of the sexes. Designed for Joy is edited by Owen Strachan and has contributions from a number of others including Trillia Newbell, Gloria Furman, Denny Burk, David Mathis.
Sam Allberry, a same-sex attracted pastor in England, wrote a phenomenal little book called, Is God Anti-Gay?: And other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and same-sex attraction. I read it last summer and will skim through it again in preparation of our fall series.
There aren't enough quality books out there on the subject of singleness but there are a couple great ones. Redeeming Singleness is one of them (Barry Danylak). This book serves single people well and has much to teach the rest of the church.
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem is a 500 page (therefore extremely thorough) response to evangelical feminism. It deals with contentious verses in the Bible on men and women in ministry in great detail and paints a picture of the complementarity of male and female. Not light reading but a must read for anyone wanting to have a robust understanding of the complementarian view that isn't an inch deep.
Love and Respect unpacks this verse: Husbands, love your wives. Wives, see that you respect your husband. In other words, a wife wants to feel loved. A husband wants to feel respected. Great book.
Equal Yet Different (Alexander Strauch) tackle issues on gender through the study of biblical passages. It is more important than ever to understand these issues well so that we can teach clearly and compassionately on them.
The Masculine Mandate (Richard Phillips) is about God's calling to men.
One of the directors of the C2C Network recommended Not Your Parents' Offering Plate (J Clif Christopher) on financial stewardship and leading the church towards generosity through compelling vision and mission.
Making disciples is important. Developing leaders in the church is a critical component of disciple-making. Gospel Eldership is about equipping a new generation of servant leaders.
Death By Meeting is a leadership fable written by Patrick Lencioni (author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and others) and was given to me recently. I'm looking forward to reading it and to learning more about leading effective (and hopefully shorter!) meetings.
The Imperfect Pastor is not my autobiography, its Zach Eswine's book on discovering joy in our limitations through a daily apprenticeship with Jesus. I'm considering having the pastoral team read this book together in the Fall. I'll tackle it this summer and check it out.
In Be Mean About The Vision, Shawn Lovejoy writes, "As a leader, the kindest, godliest thing we can do is be mean about the vision." He calls leaders to stay true to the vision of their ministry by regaining and sustaining its trajectory over time so that there can be effectiveness, life, passion, growth, and so that God is glorified. I think I will find this book really helpful as leadership at Central discern and pray about where we're going as a church in the coming years.
Peter Scazzero wrote The Emotionally Healthy Leader (other titles in the series include The Emotionally Healthy: Church, Spirituality, Woman) on how transforming your inner life (walk with Jesus and emotional health) will deeply transform your church, team, and the world.
I also came across Love That Boy on parental expectations. It explores what we tend to want as parents for our children: popularity, normalcy, achievement, and genius and what our kids really need: grit, empathy, and character. I've been thinking a lot about how I parent and what the key things I want to teach my boys are. I think it'll be a good read for me as a dad of two young boys.
That's the stack on my desk that I hope to tackle this summer.